Promoting Healthy Lifestyles at Home, School, and in the Workplace.

Get Active Howard County Financial Fitness Coordinator

(This page will be updated throughout the year to provide you with updated ideas to promote Financial Fitness)  
The information provided here is not intended to be tax or legal advise.  This information is intended to support your financial education and is, in no way, to be construed as advice or a recommendation. You are encouraged to seek tax, legal or financial advice from your own independent professional advisors.  The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate.    

Brian Jolles, CLU, ChFC, CASL - Jolles Insurance & Financial
Brian is the CEO of Jolles Insurance & Financial in Ellicott City, Maryland.  He has an extensive background in employee benefit planning, including health insurance, insurance exchanges, consumer directed plans, workplace wellness and retirement planning.  Brian is a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC).  He is considered faculty by the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA), the nation's premier resource for workplace wellness.  Brian was recently recognized, by WELCOA, as one of the Top 10 Health Promotion Professionals in the United States.
Financial Problems are consistently rated among the highest source of stress.  They contribute to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stomach disorders.  Financial worry is likely part of the root cause of a significant number of other illnesses suffered by millions of Americans every day.  Because of financial stress, many individuals try to cope by engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as drinking, smoking and overeating.  Stress can lead to trouble sleeping, less focus and moodiness.  Often, due to financial problems, individuals forego preventive care and fail to follow medication and treatment recommendations by their physicians. All of the above contributes to an increasingly unhealthy lifestyle, higher medical bills, broken marriages and families and problems in our workplaces.    
By learning the steps to gain control over your money, you'll put yourself in a position to build financial wellness in your life and to enjoy the peace of mind that comes along with being in control.  "Focus on your financial fitness in the same way you should be focusing on eating healthy and being physically active.  Like any habit, you start with clear goals and small steps."  ~ Brian Jolles
We will be providing a sample financial document storage system so that you can organize and manage your financial documents (under construction).  In the interim, here are some key storage tips for your important documents:   Important Documents - Storage Tips

An important step in managing your finances is to create a budget so that you have a clear picture of your expenses.  Budgeting (by definition) means to "Live within one's financial means."  Once you have an understanding of your spending, you can begin to break down your spending in to "Needs" versus "Wants".  Commit to tracking all of your expenses for at least three months.  People often find that they gain a lot more control over their spending once they have examined it over a period of three months or more.    Click Here for the Budget Worksheet

Other Free Budgeting Applications:

Paper Envelopes:  This is an alternative do using an online application.  Fill each envelope with a specific amount of cash for certain items.  Once the envelope is empty, you can't spend any more on that item.  It's simple, effective and it will help you reduce dependency on credit cards and rein in your spending.
TIP:   "Pay Yourself First"
Here is a budgeting idea that will increase your personal savings and help you reach important goals.  "Pay Yourself First". Paying yourself first is a mindset that starts with you placing your savings priority at the head of the line before any other bills or obligations.  In other words, the goal of paying yourself first assures your future self's financial goals are covered, including building an emergency fund, contributing to retirement and saving for other long term goals like a down payment on a home.  If this becomes your will come before you budget for happy hour, eating out and other non essentials.   

Creating a Net Worth Statement helps you understand your current financial situation.  As you continue to earn and save, your net worth will grow.  If you net worth is low, you will need to work on saving more and spending less.  To measure your progress, calculate your net worth now and recalculate annually.  Click Here for the Net Worth Statement Calculator 
The foundation of any financial plan is insurance.  The concept of insurance is simply that if enough of us can pool our money to form a large enough fund, then together we can handle practically any financial disaster.  So an often asked question is "how much and what kinds of insurance is needed?".  A good general rule of thumb when considering insuring a risk is "Don't insure yourself against misfortunes you can pay for yourself".  Most financial advisors recommend automobile, health, homeowners, personal liability, professional liability and/or malpractice, disability, life insurance and long term care insurance.  Purchasing insurance protection is a very important financial decision. Each individual is unique. In most cases, you are advised to seek advice from an expert. 

The term "Asset Allocation" is often tossed around in discussions of investing.  But what exactly is it?  Simply put, asset allocation is about not putting all of your eggs in one basket.  It is a systematic approach to diversification that may help you determine the most efficient mix of assets based on your risk tolerance and time horizon.  There is no one strategy that fits every type of investor.  An excellent tool to help you begin to understand your personal risk tolerance is a Risk Tolerance Calculator.  Click here for the Risk Based Questionnaire
Check Back Here For More Tips on the Basics of Financial Fitness