makingNEWS: A Quarterly Newsletter from
makingCHANGE - Spring 2013
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About makingCHANGE


makingCHANGE is dedicated to developing and delivering financial education programs that help individuals create their own financial success story.  We focus on teaching people the financial skills they need in a way that encourages lasting behavioral change.  Our online and in-person programs are offered in schools, human service agencies, and businesses.  Contact us at www.makingchangecenter.org to learn more about empowering people to Control their money... and Change their life! 
Email | info@makingchangecenter.org Phone | 443-718-9350

makingNEWS                                   Spring 2013


A NOTE FROM
mike COUCH

 

  March Madness

The annual NCAA Division I College Basketball Tournament that begins each spring is known as "March Madness" as everyone awaits the last minute shots and upsets that occur each year.  It's also a time of year when winter turns to spring - sometimes in a single day! - and people are frantically gathering their financial documents to prepare their income tax returns before the April 15th deadline.

The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA) have created their own version of a tournament bracket to identify the Financial Four from among thirty-two financial planning concepts.  The concepts are split into four categories: Saving / Investing, Values / Communication / Advice, Protection / Security and Spending.  Each year CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professionals who are members of the FPA submit their entries to determine the final four concepts.  Last year's final four were: live within your means, protect yourself with adedquate insurance, build an emergency savings account and establish life insurance for wage earners.  The champion last year was living within your means.

The road to your own personal Financial Four requires that you make hard choices between a variety of important options.  Establishing a budget, understanding credit and setting goals are all helpful in making those choices.  Your will need to re-visit your choices periodically and be ready to make adjustments as your life situation changes.  Tax time is an ideal time to organize your finances and make a plan for any tax refunds that you may receive.

The goal at tournament time is "survive and advance" which means winning the next game to move on to the next round so that you can achieve the ultimate goal of winning a championship.  There will also be multiple steps to achieving your financial goals and it's never too late to get in the game.

Enjoy the Spring!
Mike


 

Youth Finance (Y-Fi) Event a Success!


The annual Y-Fi event, held by makingCHANGE and Junior Achievement of Central Maryland, drew nearly 200 students and parents to Howard Community College on a snowy morning this past January, 26th.

Students moved through various stations, each representing a different financial decision, as they completed a budget based upon their assigned family situation and income.  The simulation is a great way to start the conversation between children and their parents about spending priorities and give the students a glimpse into the costs of living on their own.

The event would not be possible without the nearly 70 volunteers and sponsorships from local businesses including: The Wendy Slaugter Team - RE/MAX Advantage Realty, Simmerer Insurance, The Columbia Bank, Northwest Savings Bank, Sandy Spring Bank, M&T Bank, Howard County General Hospital - Johns Hopkins Medicine, College Savings Plans of Maryland, The Lisa Higgins - Hussman Foundation and Ken Danker with The Danker / DeCapite Group of Morgan Stanley.




It's Not Too Late to File Your Taxes for Free!


 

makingCHANGE is hosting a free tax preparation program at the North Laurel-Savage Multiservice Center on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 pm to 8 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm.

This IRS program, known as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or VITA, is open to individuals and families who earned less than $51,000 in 2012.  Appointments to have your returns prepared by IRS-certified volunteers are available by calling 410-880-5917.  More information on documents needed is available at www.makingchangecenter.org/vita.html.  The last day for the VITA program is Saturday, April 13th so that you can meet the April 15th filing deadline.

There is also a free online tax program available for those who earned up to $57,000 in 2012 at www.myfreetaxes.com/makingchange.

UPCOMING EVENTS


Save The Date!



Money Matters Fair
April 6, 2013
10 AM to 1 PM

East Columbia Branch
Howard County Library
Columbia, MD

For more information:
www.hclibrary.org/moneymatters


 




Community Grant
Awarded to makingCHANGE

 

Howard County's community foundation, The Columbia Foundation, which raises, manages and distributes funds to support Howard County nonprofits, awarded a grant to makingCHANGE under the community grant program. The grant, one of ten education and community affairs grants funded by The Columbia Foundation, provides funding for makingCHANGE to host a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site at the North Laurel Multi-Service Center for the current tax season. This initiative helps to ensure that taxpayers receive tax credits for which they qualify such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and provides referrals to other needed programs provided by human service organizations.
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