Women's money on stage today

Daylong event to deliver female

perspectives on finance.

BY Gary Perilloux

Daily Journal

Money in its myriad forms will circulate - along with 1,200 women - at today's 2002 Mississippi Women's Money Conference at the BancorpSouth Center in Tupelo.

Actress Sela Ward and financial commentator Jean Chatzky will share the podium at a noon luncheon while Dee Lee and a host of other speakers lead sessions from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

State Treasurer Marshall Bennett founded the annual event in 2000 after fielding a myriad of financial questions from women all over the state. Today's conference is the first outside Jackson - and it's all free.

"I think it will be another outstanding conference with a lot of detailed wisdom and specific knowledge that will help women and their families, which in turn will help Mississippi," said Dr. Clyda Rent, honorary chairwoman of the event.

Anyone who hasn't registered may do so from 7:30 a.m. until the opening session at 8:30 a.m. Some 38 private and public sector sponsors joined hands with Bennett to underwrite the Tupelo conference. Women are free to come throughout the day, but early registration secures a luncheon seat and a free copy of Lee's "Let's Talk Money," a comprehensive book on money matters.

Lee left her financial advisory practice in Massachusetts a dozen years ago to lecture and motivate audiences nationwide on the subject of money. Her plan today is a simple one.

"My objective is getting people to do one thing different," she said. "And that would be my main goal for all one thousand-plus people. It might be getting somebody out of debt, it might be drawing up a will, it might be doing some retirement planning. But that change is like a snowball ... because almost every decision we make has a financial component."

Lee's morning discussion on establishing financial goals will encourage women to write down their goals and take steps toward them. After the luncheon with Chatzky and Ward, breakout sessions will target specific money topics raised by Lee.

Ward will sign copies of her book, "Homesick: A Memoir," beginning at 1 p.m. at the conference and from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at Reed's downtown.

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