Community Impact

Paul serves as the Community Impact Manager of United Way of Rock River Valley.

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Free and easy online tool designed to help anyone manage their money better

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Everyone experiences financial stress, whether you’re new to the workforce, trying to make big life decisions or looking towards retirement. Here in Rockford, IL region, we’re certainly not immune to that.

The average monthly income used for mortgage and related housing costs in our community is 37 percent. The average household carries a total credit card debt of more than $3,300. Some 21 percent of us worry that won’t be able to reach our financial goals.

But too many of us don’t take the actions we know we should to get smarter about our money. It can be overwhelming to put our financial house in order. That's why many of us struggle on our own, without a source of simple, clear information to help us better manage our money.

Here’s one solution that could help.

My Smart Money™ is a new, interactive, consumer-friendly web site that offers simple, useful tips and tools to help all of us manage our money. You can get smarter about your money by:

  • Taking a quick and easy quiz to get a clear picture of your financial situation, and where you could improve
  • Downloading tools that are geared to help tackle your specific money challenges, including things you can do right now, as well as downloadable checklists to help you map it out

Check it out at The site is free, secure, and isn’t selling anything. It’s developed by United Way Worldwide, the largest privately-funded nonprofit in the world. It’s part of the community-building work that United Way is leading to fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.

United Way also has a free tax filing website,, which lets anyone earning $64,000 or less file their state and federal taxes for free. And we work with Goodwill of Northern Illinois to provide free tax filing support in person.

For instance, last year, over 2,600 individuals recovered a total of $2.5 million in tax returns through United Way’s investment in financial stability programs. These programs helped residents like Stephanie Jordan, a retired homeowner, access valuable tax credits through free tax preparation services. As a result, Stephanie invested her savings into a garden project that allowed her to grow healthy fruits and vegetables for her family.

Through support from community donors and volunteers, United Way invests in programs that help many of our community residents achieve greater financial independence.



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Guest Monday, 11 December 2017