Healthy "U" February Newsletter
It is Time to Assess Your Financial Health
by Chuck Mann, Vice President for Finance and Treasurer
It is tax season! So, are we having fun yet?
While most of us do not revel in gathering our financial records in order to complete the dreaded Federal and State tax forms, it is a great time to assess our financial health and develop a plan for the year ahead. Just as we know the importance of an annual physical, we should appreciate the value of a financial physical. But, where do you start and what should you evaluate?
The first step is to calculate your net worth. This simple formula subtracts your total liabilities (home mortgage, car loans, credit card debt, student loans, etc.) from your total assets (bank accounts, home and car values, personal property, retirement funds, investments, etc.). By constructing a personal balance sheet as of December 31st of each year, you can measure changes in your net worth. In so doing, it becomes evident if you are saving money, spending too much, realizing investment gains or losses or incurring additional debt. It provides an excellent gauge of your financial health, and provides the foundation for your financial plan in the new year.
The resulting financial plan must be based on your projected revenues and expenditures. There are many programs that can help track your income and spending, such as Quicken, Mint.com, and Personal Capital. Even TIAA-CREF, the College’s retirement plan provider, offers "360 Financial View" to assist customers in managing their personal finances. Some of these programs are free, while others must be purchased. Regardless, all of these programs will organize and track your spending into categories that will allow you to establish a monthly budget. You can then monitor your progress against the budget by downloading your bank information into the program on a regular basis. This will allow you to identify concerns early and make any required adjustments to ensure you remain on track.
Finally, a financial plan should include a strategy for growing your investments and reducing your debt during the year. Instead of chasing the latest investment trends, you should establish an asset allocation strategy that fits your tolerance for risk and volatility. Consider what portion of the investments you are comfortable placing in domestic stocks, international stocks, bonds and/or real estate. Then at least annually, rebalance your portfolio to these targets. Like many of us, your largest investments may be your retirement plan. Since these investments provide your future income, it is critically important that you take an active interest in managing the portfolio to your established asset allocation goals.
Managing your financial health requires the same discipline as taking care of your physical health. As you gather documents needed for filing taxes this year, use the time to assess your finances. A lot can happen over a year. So, a financial checkup is in order!
It's Not too Late - Get the Shot Not the Flu
Walk in Monday - Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm (Wednesdays until 7:00 pm) to the Hood College Health Center to get your flu shot. The cost is $15 and cash or check will be accepted. If you have any questions, please call (301) 696-3439.
Frederick Dental Clinic
Frederick Regional Health System, with the University of Maryland's School of Dentistry, has created the Monocacy Health Partners Dental Clinic at 516 Trail Avenue, across from the hospital. It exists to provide dental care for uninsured and underinsured Frederick residents over the age of 18. Currently, it provides emergency and medically-necessary dental care only and future plans are to expand the program to include preventative care. Fees are on a sliding scale. Please call (240) 566-7005 to learn more about the services. More information can also be found at the Monocacy Health Partners website.
Mindfulness Mediation and Relaxation
Mindfulness Meditation and Relaxation is held Monday and Thursday afternoons 12:30 pm-1:00 pm in the Meditation and Prayer Room, Chapel basement. A six week KORU-based introduction to mindfulness is being offered now.
Weekly Chapel Services
All are welcome! Wednesdays 12:30 pm-12:55 pm, Coffman Chapel.
Sol Yoga is sponsoring yoga classed which are being held in the Dance Studio, Gambrill Gymnasium on Wednesdays, 5:15 pm-6:15 pm. Classes are underway and will continue through Wednesday, April 26. Class will not be held on Wednesday, March 15. Uncover, discover, tap into your power and just be. Yoga is what you make it. It can be your hour of peace in a hectic week, a workout, therapy for an ailing joint, or it can transform your life if you let it. The excellent, trained teachers of Sol Yoga will support you on your journey, whatever it may be. Make the commitment. The continuation of yoga sessions is contingent upon your ongoing interest and participation.