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Bellingham Library Hosts Financial Fitness Open House

Feb 28, 2018 06:00AM ● By Amy Bartelloni

Shown (L-R) are Ref. Librarian Cecily Christensen, Library Director Bernadette Rivard, BBA Secretary/Treasurer Sue Grady, President John Orthman, and BBA member Paul Nilson of Urban West Insurance Group.

story & photo by Amy Bartelloni, Contributing Writer

Professionals from several local financial businesses were at the Bellingham Library on Monday, January 29, for an open-house kick-off of the library’s Financial Fitness for Everyone grant. The $7,500 grant was made possible by an Institute of Museum and Library Sciences Grant through the Library Services and Technology Act and was sponsored by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Through September 2018, the grant will help the library offer the community a variety of financial programs for people of all ages.

“Our goal tonight is to encourage Bellingham families to set two financial goals for 2018 and look to the library for resources to help them meet those goals,” explained library director Bernadette Rivard. Suggested goals included building an emergency fund, reducing debt, making a budget, and cutting spending. Professionals from Charles River Bank; Doherty, Ciechanowski, Dugan & Cannon Law; Dean Bank; Family Legal Partners; H&R Block; Middlesex Savings Bank; Moody Street Group; and Unibank were on hand to tailor those goals to individuals and families.

Bellingham resident Jeanne Donnelly picks up information from James Kenney
and Branch Mgr. Julie St. Pierre of Middlesex Bank

  “We have services to help with every issue, but it’s a matter of figuring out what’s important to the individual,” explained Julie St. Pierre, branch manager of Middlesex Savings Bank.

Tailoring financial plans to individual needs was a sentiment echoed by Michael Carroll, Senior Vice President of marketing at Dean Bank. “Financial literacy is crucial for every age group, and we’re here to help in any way we can. As a community bank, we see this kind of outreach as important to us.”

Unibank’s main focus of the evening was convenience banking, online security, and student banking and credit readiness. “It’s important for people to know what credit is and how it affects them,” said Terry Lorance, banking supervisor at Unibank. “If payments are neglected, it can affect your credit negatively, and you may have a hard time borrowing money in the future.”
Estate planning is an often-neglected aspect of financial planning, and Brian Salisbury of Doherty, Ciechanowski, Dugan & Cannon Law emphasized the importance of estate planning, family wills, and trusts. “It’s important for people to plan ahead,” he explained, “because there are financial and emotional consequences for not planning.”

More information about financial planning can be found at the library. Programs are scheduled in March and beyond and include topics such as making a budget, community read on a money management topic, tax talk workshops, money summer camp for kids, ending your addiction to stuff, and planning for retirement. Information can be found on the library’s webpage at






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