Volunteer Awards, Election Results, and Personal Financial Planning February General Meeting

by Patricia Ramos

The February General Meeting was well attended, drawing even some people who had to leave their homes in the wee hours of the morning to get to San Francisco in time. We were looking forward to learning the secrets of financial success from our invited speaker, Maritza Nevarez, CFP, but also to meeting the new members of the 2000-2001 Board of Directors and celebrating the recipients of the volunteer awards.

For her many years of dedicated service to the Association, notably as editor of Translorial, Sharlee Merner Bradley was named Volunteer of the Decade and awarded lifetime honorary membership in NCTA. For all her help with Membership and Public Relations in 1999, Reina Montes-Hillegass was named Volunteer of the Year. Their tireless efforts have been dearly appreciated.

Before the meeting, the Election Committee, composed of Hany Farag, Edlth Fried and Karl Kaussen, had opened the ballot envelopes and tabulated the voting results. Following the presentation of the volunteer awards, Karl Kaussen announced the number of votes for each candidate and presented the members of the 2000/2001 Board of Directors. The four officers are Sylvia Korwek, president; Amy Russell, vice president; Bernard Cleary, treasurer: and Laura Jennings-Blijleven, secretary. The six directors are Yves Avérous (Ethics & Database Management), Michael Metzger (Publications & Webmaster), Patricia Ramos (Events), Andrea Bindereif (Public Relations & Membership), Essam Elmahgoop (Legislation, Interpreter & Agency Liaison), and Peter Gergay (Accreditation).

Sylvia Korwek introduced our invited speaker, Maritza Nevarez, a Certified Financial Planner. She couldn’t have come to speak at a more appropriate time because, while anytime is a good time to begin planning for one’s future, the best time to do it is around tax time to take advantage of investment deductions.

Ms. Nevarez said she understood that most of us want to be financially independent. To this end, the first thing we must do was to assess the cost. In order to be sure of having 100% or more of what we’ll need, she said we must figure out where we are now financially, i.e. what we own minus what we owe. By calculating this, we’ll know our net worth and see how close we are to what we need At this point, we need to take a serious look at how important our goals are, how far we will go to accomplish them, and how we will feel doing this.

Once we’ve figured out what it will take to have discretionary income after expenses we can move on to protecting our hard-earned money. Ms. Nevarez suggested three options. First, set aside some reserves in a primary account with easy access, but probably a low return. Second, protect your income with disability insurance. Did you know that 33% of 35-year-olds will become disabled at some point during their working lives? Third, life insurance: buy it before you need it.

Some discretionary income should then be invested. She advised splitting it up among a variety of options such as stocks and bonds, real estate, mutual funds or government securities plus some “large-cap” stocks. She stated the law of risk and return, which is that the higher the return required, the higher the risk that must be accepted. Each of us must assess our risk tolerance, goals and time frame when determining our asset allocation. She then spoke of estate planning and the different retirement plans available.

For help with all of this, Ms. Nevarez recommended hiring a Certified Financial Planner. She advised us to make sure we choose a CFP who has an HP-12C calculator and knows how to use it.