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Scott and Tiffany Smiley

Scott and Tiffany Smiley will be the featured speakers at Nebraska's inaugural Smart Women Smart Money conference.

Nebraska’s state treasurer is responsible for managing the state’s 529 college savings program, its tax-exempt savings accounts for individuals with disabilities, as well as connecting unclaimed property to its owner.

In addition to serving as the state’s chief financial officer, treasurers across the country — Nebraska included — have taken on the mantle of “chief financial literacy officer.”

That means putting Nebraskans of all backgrounds and experiences in touch with the experts that can help them manage their money better, State Treasurer John Murante said.

Murante’s office is partnering with the State Financial Officers Foundation, which includes other treasurers and state auditors across the country, to bring a free financial literacy conference focused on women to Nebraska.

“The need for financial education is more important than ever,” he said.

Smart Women Smart Money will hold a one-day seminar covering topics such as building a budget, making smart investments and compiling a living will at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in La Vista on Nov. 1.

Registration for the conference is free and can be found at swsmnebraska.com.

Smart Women Smart Money was founded by Idaho State Treasurer Ron Crane in 1999 to promote better financial literacy among women. Since its inception, more than 36,000 women have attended a conference in the Gem State.

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When Crane stepped down last year, the State Financial Officers Foundation took over the nonprofit program with an eye on broadening its reach, said Derek Kreifels, who serves as president of the foundation and the conference.

Upon request, Smart Women Smart Money plans the “turnkey” one-day event —  including breakfast and lunch — coordinating with local experts in money matters on how to deliver the curriculum, lining up keynote speakers and vendors.

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Kreifels said the seminars and breakout sessions are designed for women of all backgrounds and financial situations, from youth saving for college to retirees planning their estate and everyone in between.

The highlight of the conference is always a panel of experts, where women can ask questions directly to a banker, estate planner, financial adviser and insurance attorney.

There will be sophisticated questions about the direction of the financial markets and their impacts on a retirement nest egg, Kreifels said, as well as questions from women who are just starting to think about saving.

Nebraska’s inaugural conference will feature U.S. Army Major Scott Smiley and his wife, Tiffany, as keynote speakers. Scott Smiley continued to serve even after losing his eyesight to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2005, becoming the first blind active-duty officer.

Along with the Smileys, Murante and financial leaders from Omaha will also speak at the conference.

The mission underlying Smart Women Smart Money, Kreifels said, is simple: “It’s never too early or too late to learn about personal finances.”

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or cdunker@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.

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