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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.

Automate
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.

 

Jazz legend Herbie Hancock to deliver the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture’s 2014 Commencement Address

herbie-hancock-by-peter-wochniak-1636

Herbie Hancock

Internationally renowned pianist and composer, Herbie Hancock, will deliver this year’s commencement address for the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture (UCLA Arts) on Saturday, June 14, 2014. Commencement takes place at 4 pm at Dickson Court North (Perloff Quad) on the UCLA Campus.

A 14-time Grammy Award winner and Professor at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, Hancock has been an integral part of every jazz movement since the 1960s. Born in Chicago, he began playing piano GP_Hancock_t700at age seven. As a member of the Miles Davis Quintet, Hancock became one of the pioneers of modern jazz improvisation. His recordings during the ’70s combined electric jazz with funk and rock sounds in an innovative style that influenced an entire decade of music. In 1983, “Rockit,” from the platinum-selling Future Shock album, won Hancock a Grammy for Best R&B Instrumental. He received an Academy Award in 1987 for Best Score, honoring his work on Round Midnight and in 2007, Hancock became the first jazz musician in 44 years to receive a Grammy Award for Album of the Year for his 47th studio release, River: The Joni Letters. As UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue, he established and co-chairs International Jazz Day, which is celebrated in every country around the world each April 30. Hancock also serves as Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

“We are absolutely delighted and deeply honored that the great Herbie Hancock will be our commencement speaker this year, ” says Daniel M. Neuman, Interim Director, Herb Alpert School of Music (former Dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost).

This year’s graduating class includes 386 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students from across the School’s six academic units: Architecture and Urban Design, Art, Design Media Arts, Ethnomusicology, Music and World Arts and Cultures / Dance. The ceremony is open to the public.

For more information, visit UCLA Arts and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

 

Hearts of Color, Inc. Hosts Fundraiser

Joyce Fairman (wearing white, center) and Members, Hearts of Color, Inc, Board of Directors.

Joyce Fairman (wearing white, center) and Members, Hearts of Color, Inc, Board of Directors.

By John Coleman

Following near-fatal, ‘unusual-to-rare’ heart disorder, Joyce Fairman determined to find out everything possible about what went wrong with her heart; what complicated her surgery and other treatments;  and what information is now available to help people to be as heart healthy as possible.  She founded Hearts of Color, Inc. to help publicize availability of information, support,  and other resources for people  before and after experiencing heart disease.

Although focusing on the special needs and risks affecting women of color’s heart and  other health conditions, Ms Fairman’s web site includes men’s health issues as well.

To fund it’s program, Hearts of Color, Inc. recently held it’s monthly fund-raiser breakfast at the Applebees Restaurant in Highland.