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8th Annual Wausau Financial Wellness Conference

2015 Wausau Financial Wellness Conference

Session Descriptions with Speaker Biographies                                          

Click here for the brochure.

Budgeting Basics: How to Have More Money than Month for a Change

Presenter: Jackie Carrattini, UW-Extension


As the Family Living Agent with Marathon County UW-Extension, Jackie works with families and communities to improve family well-being and community awareness in the areas of family economics, poverty awareness and health/nutrition education.

Legal Panel—Top 3 Issues in Civil and Legal Practice with Question & Answer Period

Presenter:  Andrew Schmidt, Schmidt & Schmidt & Peter Rotter, Rotter Law Offices

Session Description

This informative presentation, discussion and question & answer session will cover a variety of important topics including:

FAMILY LAW TOPICS will include child support, placement & custody, property division, non-divorce and do-it-yourself divorce.

OWI PROBLEMS will include information on new laws, what happens when someone is arrested for OWI, what are the costs involved and what the benefits are in securing an attorney.

TAKING CARE OF AN ELDERLY PARENT will discuss powers of attorney, wills, professional caregivers and "fiduciary”.


ANDREW W. SCHMIDT is the owner SCHMIDT & SCHMIDT, S.C., Wausau, Wisconsin. Andrew received his B.A from Ripon College-Ripon, M.S. University of Idaho-Moscow, and his law degree from Hamline University School of Law-St. Paul.

Mr. Schmidt is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, (Real Property, Family Law, General Solo Practice, and Elder Law sections; he is a past committee member of the Solo and Small Practice section and the Law Practice Section. He is a member of the Marathon County Bar Association. He is also a private practice attorney for Judicare, Inc. of Wisconsin.

Mr. Schmidt is a director on the board of the Wausau Area In-house Network (WIN), a coalition of public and private agencies seeking to reduce homelessness in Marathon and Lincoln County. In concert with the UW Extension Office, Attorney Schmidt frequently teaches landlord and tenant seminars, consumer law, elder law practices and special needs trusts for the public and professionals. He is Corporation Counsel for the Humane Society of Marathon County.

His practice includes real estate, commercial and residential, landlord-tenant; elder law, wills, medical assistance planning, trusts and advanced directives; family law, divorce, paternity, guardian ad litem, and custody; probate, estates, guardianship and advocacy. The best part of his practice is that as a Court Commissioner, he officiates at weddings, having performed just under 500 weddings to date.

Energy Conservation

Presenter:  Kelly Zagrzebski, Wisconsin Public Service

Session Description

Kelly will facilitate a discussion which will allow the participants to think of "savings” not "sacrifice” when discussing energy conservation. There are many easy, low/no – cons energy saving measures in everyone’s homes that can add up to a substantial savings, which at the same time helping the environment. Attend this session it is guaranteed that everyone will leave with one easy way to help them save on their energy bill in 2014.


Kelly Zagrzebski, Corporate Community Relations Leader, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, has been engaged in environmental education for the past twenty years. Her role at Wisconsin Public Service Corporation includes the primary responsibilities of education, community development, political/governmental affairs, marketing, media relations and community specific needs. She is certified in Corporate Community Relations from Boston College, and has received a Master’s Degree in Communications from UW-Stevens Point while also receiving a certification on Community Economic Development from Neighborhood Works in 2005. Since 1997 she has also served as an Adjunct Professor for the "K-12 Energy Education Program” at UW-Stevens Point. She has a personal interest in energy conservation and wildlife preservation. In 2000 she represented the United States in a five person delegation to China to share environmental education programs. In 2004 she researched an opportunity for a K-12 Energy Educators Program in Iceland. Most recently, 2006 she participated in the "1000 Friends of Wisconsin –Sustainable Sweden” tour. All of which has helped her to better her understanding of energy and ways to better utilize this resource.

Financial Plans: What They Are and Why They Are Not Just for Millionaires

Presenter:  James Ison, CFP®, Ison Financial Planning


James Ison focuses on building long-term client relationships with a comprehensive financial planning approach and works closely with his clients’ other advisors, including CPAs, attorneys, insurance professionals and outside investment advisors. His core philosophies for wealth management hinge on reducing taxes paid over one’s lifetime, avoiding market declines and protecting one’s assets from third-party claims.

How to Buy a Used Car: Financial (and other) Things You Need to Know (repeated session)

Presenter: Allen Ward, Fred Mueller Automotive

Session Description

Allen will discuss with you the vehicle buying process in general, information about financing and other things that you need to be aware of during the purchase process including mileage, obvious and hidden signs of wear and tear, et al.


Allen Ward is a sales and leasing consultant with Fred Mueller Automotive in Schofield, Wisconsin.

Investing 101

Presenter:  Sara Holtz, Peoples State Bank

Session Description

Do you have a person in your life that you can trust with your financial information? Is there someone at your bank that you are comfortable speaking with? The objective of our session will be to stress the importance of finding a trusted advisor for each attendee’s finances. We will ask what keeps them up at night regarding their finances, and look to find some solutions by budgeting and starting the savings habit. We will also ask if there is someone at their financial institution that they feel comfortable with—and stress the importance of that relationship.


Sara Holtz is a Branch Manager of Peoples State Bank. She was hired in June of 2009 as branch manager of the Marathon location of Peoples and was promoted to Retail Sales Officer December, 2011. Sara began leading the Weston retail team in January, 2012. Sara has demonstrated sales leadership in joint calling efforts with commercial bankers, business development calls in the Weston/Mosinee area and mortgage lending during the recent years of refinance activity. Her favorite part of working with Peoples is the opportunity she has to help people meet their financial goals. Sara is a 2013 graduate of the University of Stevens Point with a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management. She is married with two active boys.

How Much Allowance Should I Give My Child?

Presenter:  Lynne Finch, The No-Cash Allowance

Session Description

"How much allowance should I give my child?”

Parents frequently ask: How much allowance is the right amount? Join Lynne Finch, author of the award-winning book"The No-Cash Allowance” for this workshop on kids and money. Parents will look at the benefits of kids having an allowance, fill out a worksheet to help them calculate the right allowance for their child, and learn how to set up a system that will teach their kids good money management skills.

In this session, parents will learn:

1.  Why kids need an allowance

2.  What goes into deciding the allowance amount

3.  How to plan allowance increases as the child grows

4.  What is needed to make allowances fit in your family budget

5.  An easy method for paying allowances


Lynne Finch is the author of "The No-Cash Allowance: A Practical Guide to Teaching Your Children How to Manage Money.” The book has been named "Best Parenting Book" by the Mom's Choice Awards®. Her blog, Kids and Money, can be found on her website In 2012 she was chair of the finance panel for the Parenting 2.0 international conference in San Diego. She is a frequent guest on Money Sense Radio WISN 1130 and on The Morning Blend on WTMJ4, both in Milwaukee.

Lynne started teaching her children how to manage money when they were in pre-school. When she realized she didn't have cash on hand to pay her children she solved her problem by creating "The No-Cash Allowance.” She wrote the book to help other parents prepare their children for a world that is doing more transactions without using cash. Now she enjoys watching her grandchildren learn to manage money "The No-Cash Allowance” way.

Credit, Consumer Rights and the Mortgage Loan Process

[Home Ownership Track]

Presenter:  Ellen Bernards, GreenPath Debt Solutions


Ellen Bernards is a Community Relations and Education Specialist with GreenPath Debt Solutions, a not-for-profit housing and credit counseling agency founded in 1961.Since joining GreenPath in 2004, she’s provided counseling to individuals and couples on topics ranging from budgeting, debt and credit to bankruptcy and housing including reverse mortgage and foreclosure prevention. She now focuses on outreach and education activities. Some of her projects include monthly workshops for potential home buyers offered in partnership with Project Home. Over 400 people attended these classes in 2012. As Co-Chair of the Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce, Ellen works with others in the community to provide support for homeowners in crisis. She is Treasurer of the Home Buyers Round Table of Dane County and a member of the Family Selection Committee of Habitat for Humanity of Dane County. In 2010, Ellen was chosen as the Outstanding Individual Counselor of the Year from a field of more than 3,000 National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) counselors. Ellen is a popular, dynamic and engaging speaker for many of the State of Wisconsin Employee Assistance Programs, Financial Education Center and others, educating 1,500 people per year.

Banking and Lending Q&A (Hmong Language Series)

Presenter:  Michelle Lor, AbbyBank


Michelle recently graduated with a Degree in Business Management and is an Assistant Vice President at Abby Bank in the Wausau branch. She has been working in the banking industry for over the previous 9 years. She is also very active in the Wausau Hmong community and looking forward to being more involved in the Wausau community. While possessing a positive drive to help customers make good financial decisions, Michelle looks forward to helping many of the Wausau and the surrounding area communities by making their banking experience easy.

It Makes Cents (Age 6-9)

Presenter:  Ruth Sazama, YWCA

Session Description

"It Makes Cents”, will work on the following skills: Difference between needs and wants---on their level, the value of money---counting---identification and "Price is Right” games I have developed with ordinary grocery items the children would be acquainted with.


Ruth Sazama has been Youth Program Director at the YWCA for eleven years. During those years she has presented many programs to the youth in our community including: "Bullying is Never Cool” for elementary students, "Babysitting Rocks,” "Music and More,” "it makes cents,” "So…You Want a Job,” and "Diversity Camp” for Junior High students. During the summer months the YWCA has special programming for middle school youth including "Tennis Camp,” "Volleyball Camp,” and "Cooking Camps.” We are very pleased that we can offer the youth of our community some financial management tips for now and their future.

"Spent” & "Financial Football” - Financial Literacy can be FUN! (Age 10-13)

Presenter:  LeeAnn Knutson, AmeriCorps VISTA, UW-Extension Marathon County

Session Description

In this session youth will learn the basics of budgeting, credit cards and debit cards, and saving money. Students will test their money management skills when playing "Financial Football” by answering questions that allow them to move down the field and score touchdowns! This game is designed to familiarize students with the personal finance management issues they are beginning to face as young adults. Students will also play "SPENT” an interactive game that challenges the way people think about poverty and homelessness. This game is a stimulation of one month in a person’s shoes who lives in poverty. It prompts you to make financial decisions in order to survive and make it through the whole month without running out of money. Both of these interactive and educational games will teach students the importance of money management and financial literacy.


LeeAnn Knutson works as an AmeriCorps VISTA for UW-Extension Marathon County. She assists the Family Living Agent and 4-H Program in positive youth development, teaching after school programs focusing on healthy lifestyles, leadership, community service, and life skills.

Higher Education: Admission & Financial Aid Tips (Age 14-18)

Presenters:  Tiffany Schoenfeldt and Brian Kalish, UW-Marathon County

Session Description

Financial Aid Topics include: How to Apply; Eligibility Requirements; What is Financial Aid; What is Expected Family Contribution (EFC); Types of Financial Aid; Important Dates to remember; What to Expect After You File the FAFSA; Verification Process; etc. Admissions Topics include: How to Apply; Important Dates to Remember; What You Will Need to Have to Complete an Admissions Application; and also talking about the importance of going to college today.

Bio Tiffany has been working as the Financial Aid & Veterans Services Coordinator at UW-Marathon County for 3 years. Tiffany earned her Master’s Degree in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.

A graduate of UW-Madison and formerly a high school English teacher, Brian has worked for UW-Marathon County’s office of Student Affairs since 2010. In addition to recruiting, Brian is also actively involved in organizing campus events, enrollment management and meeting with families and community members who have questions about higher education.


Concurrent Sessions 11:15am to 12:15am 

Dealing with a Drop in Income: What to Do Next?

Presenter: Jackie Carrattini, UW Extension

Is Your Landlord Messing with You? How Not to be Evicted!

Presenter: Andrew Schmidt, Schmidt & Schmidt

Session Description

This engaging presentation will discuss tenant and landlord situations including: What things can you do to not be evicted? What does a landlord look for in a prospective tenant? How to keep from being evicted. If you are evicted what do you do? How to get your security deposit back!

How to Understand Your Credit Report and Improve Your Credit Score (repeated session)

Presenter:  Kelly Hladovcak, Valley Communities Credit Union

Managing Your Debts: Make a Plan!

Presenter: Shirley Hubert, Catholic Charities


I joined Catholic Charities in Feb. 2000 as a Financial Counselor. I became a HUD Housing Counselor in 2001 performing homebuyer education and foreclosure prevention counseling. I am certified with National Foundation of Credit Counseling and HUD. I also am a HCV Housing Quality Standards Specialist which allows me to perform home inspections which are required for certain down payment grant dollars. I recently was promoted to Office Manager for the Catholic Charities Wausau office. Prior to joining Catholic Charities I was in the banking industry for 28 years.

Impress for Success: Bring the Best You

Presenter: Jackie Gessler, Emerging Leaders

Medical Insurance…What’s New that I Need to Know? Presenter:Susan Duginske, the Insurance Center

Love & Money: A Relationship Challenge

Presenters: Matthew Raunio, UW Green Bay and Maureen O’Shea, Kewaunee County Human Services

Session Description

Money problems often are a major source of disagreement in a couple’s relationship. We’ll talk about how our differing money styles and values may lead to unnecessary strain between couples and damage their relationship as well as their finances.Dealing with money issues within the context of a relationship doesn’t mean just focusing on financial skills and options, but must also include communication and relationship skills so that both partners can participate in finding a solution that works for both of them.


Matthew Raunio received his business administration degree from Michigan Technological University and his MBA from UW-Oshkosh.Matt has taught at various universities including University of Notre Dame, Lawrence University, and is currently an associate professor at UW-Sheboygan.Matt is a certified public accountant and a chartered financial analyst.

Maureen O’Shea currently works for Kewaunee County’s Department of Human Services as a case manager.She also has experience as a crisis counselor.She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in training and is also trained in Divorce Mediation and Motivational Interviewing.

Down Payment Assistance, Lending & Mortgages: What’s Available for You Now?

[Home Ownership Track]

Presenters:Arlene Scalzo, WHEDA, Jessica Mancel, USDA-RD & Dean Kolden, US Bank


Arlene Scalzo is a Single Family Account Manager with WHEDA (Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority). She has been with WHEDA since 1984 working in both Single Family and Community Development. Previous employment duties include residential underwriting, program development, program training/education, relationship building and marketing for WHEDA’s programs. She has a B.S. degree in Business Management and Associate degrees in Real Estate and Finance.

Scalzo has been active in leadership of financial education, home buyer education classes and community task force groups. Home Buyer Education classes were organized with local partners from non-profit groups, UW Ext, local financial institutions and held throughout central Wisconsin. Co-Chair for Get Smart Wausau since 2003. Get Smart Wausau is a community organized financial education coalition with the focus on Wausau and surrounding area.

Jessica Mancel has worked for USDA Rural Development for 13 years. She assists customers purchase and repair their homes through the Direct Home Loan Program and the Repair Loan and Grant Program. Her other duties do include assisting partner agencies in providing budgeting, savings and homebuyer education to the public.

Dean is currently a Mortgage Loan Originator for US Bank Home Mortgage. With over 17 years Mortgage Lending experience, Dean has also worked in many different areas in community banking. His passion is helping assist customers achieve their dream of homeownership. Dean takes pride in his excellence of providing knowledge, superior customer service, and a keen ability to find the best mortgage solution for every customer.

Low Cost Healthcare Choices (Hmong Language Series)

Presenter: Gaou Nuo, UWEX

Producers & Consumers (Age 6-9)

Presenter: Stacy Retterath, AbbyBank

Session Description

Stacy explains, in the friendliest of terms, that producers are the people and/or firms which make and supply the goods and services provided in the economy and how consumers use the goods and services produced to satisfy their wants and needs. Students will also understand they are both producers and consumers.


Stacy Retterath has a passion for working with and educating people about how to make better financial decisions. While currently working at AbbyBank as the Marketing and CRA Officer, she is active in the community by volunteering time with Junior Achievement, working with Peyton's Promise, the finance council at her church and enjoying time with her family.

Compounding Interest: How to Make Your Money Work for You! (Age 10-13)

Presenter: Tracy Reierson, Principal Financial

So...You Want a Job (Age 14-18)

Presenter: Ruth Sazama, YWCA

Session Description

This class will focus on: Filling out the job application, successful interviewing skills and spending & saving tips.


Concurrent Sessions 1:30pm to 2:30pm

Feed Your Family Good Food—Without Going Broke!

Presenter: Paula Hill, WNEP UW Extension

Income Tax: What You Need to Know

Presenters: Kimberly Haas, WI Judicare & Sheila Siegel, IRS

Session Description

Avoid common tax errors and learn how to deal with tax problems before they get out of hand.


Kimberly is an attorney with Wisconsin Judicare, Inc., a non-profit law firm providing civil legal services to low-income families. Kimberly coordinates Judicare’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. She is admitted to practice in Minnesota (2000), Wisconsin (2006), U.S. Federal Tax Court (2006). U.S. Federal District Court (2012).

How to Understand Your Credit Report and Improve Your Credit Score (repeated session)

Presenter: Kelly Hladovcak, Valley Communities Credit Union

How to Buy a Used Car: Financial (and other) Things You Need to Know (repeated session)

Presenter: Allen Ward, Fred Mueller Automotive

Estate Planning: Why this is Important for YOU!

Presenter: Alan Hougum, Hougum Law Firm

Home Selection & Working with a Realtor: All You Will Need to Know about the Home Buying Process in 1 Hour

[Home Ownership Track]

Presenter: Matt Krasowski, Century 21 Contempo

Session Description

Buying a home is supposed to be one of the happiest times in your life. Learn to avoid the possible pitfalls and smile all the way to your new home! Topics to include: Choosing a Realtor, financing, forms, home inspections, and more…along with a Q and A session.


Matt Krasowski is a born and raised Wausau Realtor. He is celebrating his 20th anniversary in Real Estate this year. Matt has been a top sales person in Wausau for many years. He has served as the Central WI Board of Realtors, Board President, and holds CRB, CRS, ABR, GRI, real estate designations. For 6 years, Matt worked in New Jersey as the Midwest Director for Century 21 Real Estate Corp. overseeing Century 21 offices in an 8 state area (approx. 800 offices of the 5,600 Century 21 offices in the US). Matt currently owns Century 21 Contempo in Wausau. He is known for his honesty, integrity, and fun disposition, throughout the Central WI real estate community.

Consumer Protection: What You Need to Know(Hmong Language Series)

Presenter: Jerry Vang, Wisconsin Judicare

Session Description

This is an interactive workshop to understand your rights as a consumer and what you can do to protect yourself.


Jerry B. Vang is a staff attorney at Wisconsin Judicare, Inc. His practice includes consumer law, family law, landlord-tenant law, and public housing regulations.He received his doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Wisconsin Law School in May of 2013.

Berenstain Bears: Money Management (Age 6-9)

Presenter: Stacy Retterath, AbbyBank

Session Description

Students read about the cubs' spendthrift ways and how Mama and Papa Bear teach them to earn and save. Students learn about figures of speech, and they create "critter banks" in which they can begin to save. Personal Finance Concepts include:  Spending, goods, services, income, saving, savings, and interest.

Needs vs. Wants< Why Mom & Dad Have to Say "No” Sometimes (Age 10-13)

Presenter: Tracy Reierson, Principal Financial


Tracy Reierson is a Senior Financial Services Representative and a Princor Registered Representative with the Principal Financial Group through the Wisconsin Business Center.

Tracy’s areas of professional emphasis are:

• Individual and Business Analysis

• Life, Disability and Long Term Care Insurance

• Roth and Traditional IRA’s

• Mutual Fund Investments

Tracy has a mission to serve his clients in such a manner that he truly understands his clients’ needs and then helps to develop a financial strategy that will help them achieve their goals. Tracy believes in maintaining long term relationships with his clients. This includes monitoring results and making adjustments as needed.

Professionally, Tracy is an active member of NAIFA (The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors), the WWSBA (The Wausau West Side Business Association) and the Wausau Chamber of Commerce. Tracy is pursuing additional financial services education.

Tracy lives in Wausau with his wife, Kelly and three children. He is active within his church and enjoys participating in a local Lions Club. In his spare time, Tracy enjoys fishing, hunting, golfing, biking, curling, and most importantly, spending time with his family.