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February finance workshops

Workshops can help beginners and seasoned investors

By Betty Gilchrist

From Brief, February 2, 2005

When it comes to your financial goals, you know where you want to go. You want retirement security, financial flexibility, and a college education for your children. You may need about 80 percent of your current income to maintain your standard of living in retirement. But what's the best way to get there? Of the hundreds of investment options in the University-sponsored plans, which ones are likely to get you where you want to go?

Four Wednesdays in February
Noon-1 p.m.
215 Donhowe Building
Minneapolis

Feb. 2
Taking Control of Your Financial Life

Feb. 9
Five Habits of Highly Successful Investors

Feb. 16
Creating an Investment Strategy

Feb. 23
Market Madness

The workshops are free but registration is encouraged. Call 612-624-9090 or 800-756-2363 or see www.umn.edu/ohr/eb.

Take advantage of the Financial Brown Bag Lunch Series sponsored by the Office of Human Resources. These free lunch-hour sessions are designed to help you find the way to smart investing and feature representatives from the educational branch of the University's optional retirement plan providers.

Workshops will take place on Wednesdays on the Twin Cities campus. Videotapes of the February 2 and February 23 sessions will be provided to Crookston, Duluth, and Morris campuses and Rochester center, and copies will also be available to check out from Employee Benefits to view at home or at a departmental meeting.

Tax season!

The dog ate your W-2 form? Not to worry--you can access and print a reissued (duplicate) copy through the Employee Self-Service Web site. See hrss.umn.edu and click on "W-2." If you don't have access to the Internet, you can submit a "Request for Duplicate Form W-2" to the Human Resources Call Center. The request form is available from your department, or call the Human Resources Call Center at 612-625-2016.

Tax season, flu season...both are things we just need to get through. But once tax season is over, there is something you can do to reduce the awful feeling that comes from having to cough up a check for additional taxes. Put aside the tissues and take hold of a Form W-4. Use it to figure the amount of tax to withhold from your earnings. Should it be at the single rate or the lower married rate? How many withholding allowances can you claim? And do you need an additional amount withheld? Check out the handy Employee Self-Service Web site at hrss.umn.edu, where clicking on "W-4" will help you find the resources to answer those questions.

Reciprocal states and taxes...Are you a resident of Wisconsin, North Dakota, or Michigan? Have you taken advantage of the income tax reciprocity agreements that Minnesota has with these states? If you do not want Minnesota taxes withheld from your earnings at the University, you must complete the form each year and send it Payroll Services. Go to Reciprocal States and Taxes to get the form and instructions.

The series began in 1997 with the wildly popular "Women and Investing: Take Charge of Your Financial Future." It went on to help U employees cope with fluctuations in the equity markets through "Staying on Track in a Market Downturn."

The 2005 series provides just a taste of nearly 40 sessions offered over the years in the series. It will wrap up with action tools to help you find the way through "Market Madness."

"Taking Control of Your Financial Life," from Vanguard, kicks off the series on February 2. If you are interested in building your own financial plan or are new to the workforce, this seminar is for you. Learn basic principles of financial management, such as net worth, setting budgets, and managing debt; how to build an investment portfolio; and how insurance and basic estate planning fit in your financial plan.

"Five Habits of Highly Successful Investors," from TIAA-CREF on February 9, provides the fundamental tools to develop and move forward with your investment plan. You'll learn about setting financial goals, realizing tax advantages, reducing risk with diversification, understanding cost of expenses, and current market trends.

"Creating an Investment Strategy," from Fidelity on February 16, is ideal if you are currently participating in a workplace savings plan but need help determining whether your asset allocation and fund selection are appropriate. Topics include diversification, asset allocation, time horizon and risk, and model portfolios.

Whether a seasoned investor or a beginner, you may agree with other investors who say it takes courage to be in the market. "Market Madness," from Minnesota Life, will give you the action tools you need to navigate your personal investments through what many describe as stock-market madness. It wraps up the series on February 23.

Registration is encouraged

Space is limited, so registration is encouraged. To register for one or all of the sessions, call Employee Benefits at 612-624-9090.

For more information on other events that will help you plan for your retirement or become better informed about your benefits, go to www.umn.edu/ohr/eb.

Betty Gilchrist is a senior communications project manager in the Office of Human Resources, Twin Cities campus.

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