Home About GSW Events Library Membership Contact Us

“Educating people to make smart money choices.”

About Us

We are a group of volunteers representing nonprofit organizations, government and municipalities, financial institutions, insurance and real estate companies, investment companies and other related businesses that have a common goal of helping people make better financial decisions.  We serve the greater Wausau area without specific boundaries.

We meet the second Tuesday of each month at 8:30 a.m. with most meetings held at UW Extension, 212 River Dr, Wausau.   New members are always welcome.


Money Smart Week

Chair: Terra Plaisance

Wisconsin's campaign is a state-wide effort including Get $mart Wausau leadership.  It's goal is to help you find personal finance resources at no cost.  Programs through  local businesses, nonprofit organizations and Get $mart Wausau.

Financial Wellness Conference

Chair: Richard Entenmann

Partnering with Asset Builders of America, the Coalition promotes financial education and wealth building strategies.  Asset Builders mission is to promote financial education and wealth-building strategies to enhance the quality of life for low-income youth, families and communities.  To accomplish this we offer the Money Conference and Finance & Investment Bowl Challenge.

Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl

Chair: Richard Entenmann

The Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl® (FICB) is a financial literacy program for high school students, teaching a wide range of financial literacy topics that align with Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Personal Finance as well as the Jumpstart National Standards. The FICB culminates in a live, college-bowl tournament where teams compete to determine regional champions. Teams that finish 1st- and 2nd-Place from each region earn the right to advance to the state championship tournament.

Membership Education

Chair: Pam Anderson

The membership committee recruits local professionals, nonprofit organizations and businesses interested in programming to better the financial wellness of our citizens. This committee  provides  opportunities for professional education.

Personal Finance

Chair: Jackie Carattini

Workshops held throughout the year.  Budgeting class is offered on a regular basis.

Get Checking, introduced in 2005, is a program we offer as needed. Awareness of sub-prime and predatory lending practices and legislation. Keeps the group informed of alternative lending products and policies.

Home Ownership Committee

The committee focuses on home buyer pre-purchase education offered through our membership organizations like the Catholic Charities and the City of Wausau.

Various programming throughout the year provides resources for home owners in budgeting, maintenance, refinancing, etc.

Foreclosure prevention information is available through some of member organizations.


2003 – Wausau Area Financial Education (Home Buyer Education)

WHEDA, Catholic Charities, UW Extension and the City of Wausau Community Development started   conversations with concerns for offering home buyer education.  In working together we thought classroom education would be a benefit for all agencies.  In time management, this meant those individuals that wanted/needed more personalized would work with the agency designed for the appropriate service or counseling.

The Home Buyer program was modeled after the program WHEDA has done in Milwaukee since the 1990’s.  This would then include the local government, financial institutions, Realtors and housing related professionals to become involved in the education process.  As we worked together, we became aware of other financial needs and how we can work together.  We named ourselves the Wausau Area Financial Education Group.


As interest grew to provide additional financial education programming, Money Smart program was introduced.  This was a 10 module program with topics from banking, checking accounts, credit cards, borrowing basics and types of loans, credit and credit reports, personal budgets, savings, home buying, consumer rights and other financial decisions.   As programming was being offered additional community partners joined us.  Over the next few years, our membership grew to include other business partners that had an interest in the financial health of our community.   We changed our name to Get Smart Wausau.

The Federal Reserve and Department of Financial Institutions began an initiative called Money Smart Week WI.  This concept was started in most areas as a city initiative but WI attempted to take it state wide offering free financial education opportunities sponsored through local businesses and nonprofit organizations.  Get Smart Wausau area was one of the first 12 teams participating Money Smart Week in Wisconsin.


Get Smart Wausau and Asset Builders teamed together to offering a program called the Money Conference.    Asset Builders is the lead nonprofit organization and offers this program in seven locations throughout Wisconsin.  The Money Conference is held on a Saturday that offers approximately 30 different topics related to personal finance.  The programs are slated for all people ages beginning at age 6.  The topics range from personal budgets, managing credit, investments, home buying, nutrition & menu planning, employment strategies or other topics related to finances.


We continue to offer programming for financial education.  The collaboration has grown with a core of volunteers for various programs.   From our programming, we offer 3 classroom home buyer programs, 10 monthly budgeting programs, GetChecking on an as needed basis, the annual Money Conference and we participate as a team for Money Smart Week activities.


Super Saturday working with the VITA sites programming with AARP to assist in income tax preparation for eligible income households to maximize their tax benefits.  Changes to the pre-purchase education included online programs available through on-line programs or face-to-face through the City of Wausau and Catholic Charities.  This committee was changed to Home Ownership Committee to include resources for current home owners assisting with budgeting and changes in income.

2015 Money Smart Week Traveling Piggy Bank Winner. It should be noted that this young lady donated the contents of the piggy bank to the United Way.

2015 Financial Wellness Conference.

2016 SMART Upward Bound Graduation.

Women in Action Volunteers for the 2015 Financial Wellness Conference

Traveling Pig Winner in 2016 - Eli

Wausau Mayor James Tipple enjoys the 2017 Financial Wellness Conference along with other “community leaders” including the BMO mascot.