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Tavis Smiley in North Charleston Saturday

Author and broadcasting personality Tavis Smiley is bringing his “On Your Side Tour” to North Charleston this weekend to promote the importance of financial literacy.

The free financial and retirement planning sessions will take place Saturday at the Charleston Area Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is open the public.

Smiley’s five-city tour kicked off in Washington, D.C., in June.

The radio and TV talk show host’s opening remarks will be followed by breakout sessions in which participants will be able to ask questions and get information about financial planning and career planning.

Smiley is keying off a recent survey that his communications firm, The Smiley Group, and Nationwide Insurance commissioned in January about the financial attitudes among African Americans in Charleston.

The study found that blacks are more optimistic about their finances than the city’s general population and that their financial situation will improve over the next year. But most respondents also said they did not have a game plan in place and many didn’t know where to start.

“It’s one thing to be positive, but it’s another to be practical, proactive and prepared to weather this difficult economic climate,” Smiley said in a statement. “This survey reveals the critical need in Charleston for an honest assessment of our financial status and these workshops will help ensure that we are taking the steps necessary to safeguard the future for ourselves, our families and the next generation.”

While Nationwide is involved, a spokesman for the insurer said Thursday that Smiley insisted that the event not be a sales pitch for the company’s products.

Smiley is an author, philanthropist and host of “Tavis Smiley on PBS” and “The Tavis Smiley Show” from Public Radio International.

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