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Financial Spring Cleaning

Vernell Taylor Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager Union Bank, N.A.

Vernell Taylor
Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager
Union Bank, N.A.

By Vernell Taylor

Spring is here and many of us are busy cleaning out closets and dusting the cobwebs that may have accumulated during the winter. While you are taking on spring cleaning projects, consider taking a fresh look at your finances.

Following are a few tips to help with your financial spring cleaning:

Revisit your budget

Review your household budget and look for areas where you might be spending more than you should, or budgeting more than you might need, and then adjust your budget accordingly. Use this time to revisit your short- and long-term goals for expenses, such as college, purchasing a home, or retirement, and make sure you are setting aside enough in savings. Look for ways to pay down debt and contribute more to savings and investments on a regular basis.

Talk to your banker about technology and services that your bank may offer to help simplify your finances. Take advantage of direct deposit, online banking, and automatic payments for recurring bills, and set up regular automatic transfers to savings, investment and retirement accounts.

Look for ways to cut expenses

If you carry a balance on your credit cards, call your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate, or seek alternatives elsewhere. If you notice that mortgage rates have dropped two or more points than what you are paying, consider refinancing your home mortgage at a lower interest rate. Compare home and auto insurance plans and contact your insurance agent and ask if you can reduce your rate. Contact your utility company to inquire about possible ways to save on your bill.  Consider adjusting your withholding so you get as much money as possible in your paycheck versus a large refund when you file taxes.

Review important financial documents and policies

Pull copies of your will and/or living trust, and other important documents and review them to make sure they are up to date. Obtain a copy of your credit report and correct any errors. To get a free credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting bureaus, go to annualcreditreport.com. Review insurance policies to make sure you have adequate coverage and a designated beneficiary of your choosing.

Consolidate accounts

If you have multiple 401k accounts, consider rolling them into a single IRA account to allow for streamlined control of your investments and to help reduce the paperwork of multiple accounts. Reduce your monthly bills by consolidating debts or loans into as few accounts as possible, and simplify even more by bundling services such as cable, internet and phone.

Control the clutter

Set up a simple filing system, and use it consistently.  Assign folders, binders, or other receptacles to gather pending bills, statements, receipts and important financial documents, and store them in a safe place. Shred unnecessary paper, such as old sales receipts that have no tax purpose, or utility bills that can be accessed online. Consider creating digital files by scanning documents and filing them on your computer, but be sure to have that information backed up on a CD, flash drive or back up service. Inquire about paperless billing options to reduce the amount of paper waste and clutter.

Update your calendar 
Set up a calendar to remind you when bills are due, policies are up for renewal, tax deadlines and other important financial dates to avoid late fees and penalties. Don’t forget to include reminders for things like year-end charitable contributions, and regular meetings with your banker or investment advisor to review your holdings and take into consideration any changing goals or circumstances.

The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about financial spring cleaning and is not considered financial or tax advice. Please consult your financial or tax advisor.


Assistance League installs new officers for 2014-2015

2014-2015 board

SAN BERNARDINO, CAThe Assistance League of San Bernardino thanked their out-going executive board and welcomed the incoming 2014-2015 executive board Monday night at the Assistance League chapter house in San Bernardino.

Yearly the chapter installs their new board at their annual meeting. This year their incoming President Deborah Karalun wanted to bring a bit of the islands to their final meeting of the year.

“Being the last meeting of the 2013-2014 year and my first as the 2014-2015 President I wanted to celebrate the hard work of all the members that make this organization great. We all are working for the same cause of making our community better place,” shared Karalun.

The Assistance League is a non-profit organization that serves children in need in our community. Since 1948 they have been helping students with dental needs in the Dr. Earl R. Crane Children’s Dental Center that began a dental hygiene program in 1970 and has been providing clothing since 1983 with Operation School Bell.

Members of Assistance League are required to volunteer a minimum of fifty hours a year, including time at meetings, dental screenings, shopping with students for Operation School Bell and the annual fundraiser Headdress Ball.

Member’s that were installed for the new year’s executive board are: Deborah Karalun, President; Teresa Craig, President Nominee, Marsha Scott Vice President Membership; Carol Dixon-Cahill, Vice President Fundraising; Mindy Erickson, Recording Secretary; Jennifer Hobbs, Corresponding Secretary; Amy Johnson, Treasurer; Sherry Lopez, Assistant Treasurer; Elsa Carlton, Education Chair; Ruth Sandlin, Liaison to Les Confreres; Mary Masasso and Cathy Bechtel, Dental Center co-chairs; Margaret Ortiz and Linda Gordon, Operation School Bell; Bobbi Simenton, Orientation Chair.

“Assistance League has become a passion of mine since I became a member and I am honored to be leading our chapter and working with these phenomenal women to support our philanthropies. I hope my passion is contagious. We welcome anyone interested in joining this incredible sisterhood,” said Karalun.

Assistance League of San Bernardino meets on the second Monday of the month at the League House located at 580 West 6th Street, San Bernardino, CA 92410 at 6:00 p.m. Their next meeting will be held September 8, 2014 guests are welcome.

For more information about Assistance League and their philanthropies visit their website at http://sanbernardino.assistanceleague.org or email them at sanbernardinoassistanceleague@gmail.com

SBCCD Board of Trustees Installs New Student Trustees

The SBCCD Board members welcome the new student trustees at their installation on June 12. Shown left to right, front row, are Crafton Hills College student trustee Alexis Panaguiton; Trustee Nickolas W. Zoumbos; Board Vice President Kathleen (Katy) Henry; Board President Donna Ferracone; San Bernardino Valley College Student Trustee Tiffany Joy Guzman; Trustee Gloria Macias Harrison; Back row: Trustee Dr. Donald Singer; Trustee John Longville and SBCCD Chancellor Bruce Baron.

The SBCCD Board members welcome the new student trustees at their installation on June 12. Shown left to right, front row, are Crafton Hills College student trustee Alexis Panaguiton; Trustee Nickolas W. Zoumbos; Board Vice President Kathleen (Katy) Henry; Board President Donna Ferracone; San Bernardino Valley College Student Trustee Tiffany Joy Guzman; Trustee Gloria Macias Harrison; Back row: Trustee Dr. Donald Singer; Trustee John Longville and SBCCD Chancellor Bruce Baron.

SAN BERNARDINO, CA – – The San Bernardino Community College District (SBCCD) Board of Trustees installed newly elected Student Trustees Alexis Panaguiton from Crafton Hills College and Tiffany Joy Guzman from San Bernardino Valley College. Board President Donna Ferracone swore in the two students at their regularly scheduled meeting on June 12.

SBCCD Board of Trustees President Donna Ferracone said, “Serving on the Board of Trustees provides both students with the opportunity to learn first-hand about balancing the needs of their various constituency groups against the constraints of the state budget. They also will have a wonderful opportunity for training in teamwork, leadership, planning and communication.”

SBCCD Chancellor Bruce Baron said, “Previous student trustees have identified specific issues that their electorates were interested in, have researched those issues, and proffered policies and procedures that the Board has taken very seriously. We look forward to working with both Student Trustees and to providing them with a rewarding learning experience.”

Crafton Hills College Student Trustee Alexis Panaguiton first started her academic career at Crafton Hills College, there pursuing a degree in respiratory therapy. Not only is Alexis the first in her family to attend college, but she had the desire to seek more by joining the Student Senate as the Social Events Officer. As the Social Events Officer, Alexis was the lead on combating the implementation of AB955 at Crafton Hills College which was successful. As Student Trustee, she plans to be the voice of her fellow students by working with administrators, classified staff, and the student senate to help establish a positive learning environment.

After completing her degree and the respiratory program at Crafton Hills College, she plans on obtaining a position at Loma Linda University Health Care for her ultimate dream.

San Bernardino Valley College Student Trustee Tiffany Joy Guzman grew up in Redlands, Calif., where she played Varsity Girls Golf and took health and nutrition classes at Redlands High School. A Liberal Arts student at San Bernardino Valley College, Tiffany is involved with the Associated Student Government and was elected Campus Events Director for the 2013-14 academic year.  In addition, she was an assistant moderator for the 31st District congressional forum on campus, which provided more than one hundred students the opportunity of meeting the candidates. The time spent being Campus Events Director led her to pursue a political journey within San Bernardino Community College District, where she campaigned for her new role as a Student Trustee. Tiffany said, “I would love to plant the seed of motivation in student’s lives and help them reach their goals.” Ms. Guzman is actively involved as the secretary of the newly established chapter of the SCTA (Student California Teachers Association) club on the SBVC campus.

In addition to installing the new student trustees, the Board recognized the outgoing student trustees, Yazmeen Flores from Crafton Hills College and Rosalinda Sosa Sanchez from San Bernardino Valley College for their year of service which completed this month.

About the San Bernardino Community College District

The San Bernardino Community College District (SBCCD) is one of 72 community college districts within the California Community College system, the largest educational system in the world, which encompasses 112 community colleges. The SBCCD has an 87 year history of providing its community and students with quality and affordable vocational certificates, associate’s degrees, and preparation for transfer to a four year college or university through San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) and Crafton Hills College (CHC). In addition, the Economic Development and Corporate Training Division (PDC) and KVCR TV-FM provide professional development and cultural and educational information to the community at large.

For additional information on the SBCCD, please contact Alisa Sparkia Moore, Esq., San Bernardino Community College District Communications and Public Relations at 909.382.4012, 805.717.0347 cell, or by email at asmoore@sbccd.edu.