Money for life

By Myles Copeland

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Financial Wellness Month offers Sandians fiscal strategies for achieving goals

financial wellness month logo

Ever watch a presentation and feel like the speaker is talking directly to you?

Accounts payable financial administrator Michele Duran experienced that feeling while watching “Women: Demand More from Your Money and Health,” a webinar hosted by the CBS Early Show’s Gayle King and viewed by a crowd of more than 150 Sandians in Albuquerque’s Steve Schiff auditorium, July 18.

“I have five kids and I’m always focused on doing things for them,” Michele said, adding that the webinar’s message about women often deferring their own physical and financial health to care for others resonated with her. “I’ve put off saving as much as I could for retirement to pay for their college.”

Sandia benefits analyst Leslie Jaramillo
BENEFIT BREAKDOWN — Sandia benefits analyst Leslie Jaramillo presents during the July 9 Financial Wellness Fair in the Steve Schiff auditorium.  (Photo by Matthew Fensterer)

While watching the presentation, she said, “I had this epiphany. This lit a fire for me to pay off debt and save more for retirement.”

The webinar watch party was among 25 events offered during July across the Albuquerque and Livermore campuses as part of Sandia’s Financial Wellness Month.

“Our hope is that the financial wellness events will help our employees focus on their financial goals, make informed decisions and plans, and gain the confidence to stick with their plans for long-term financial wellness,” said senior manager Leah Mitchell, whose retirement investment management team collaborated with Sandia’s Total Rewards organization to orchestrate the month’s events.

“Debt management, saving, home buying, preparing for retirement — these are important to different people at different points in life,” said Mary Romero Hart, Total Rewards senior manager. “Sandians are diverse, and we want to be sure we’re offering information and support that’s relevant in their life today.”

SOUND ADVICE — Prudential’s Adam Gemus, right, talks with Sandian Josh Maxwell during the July 9 Financial Wellness Fair in the Steve Schiff auditorium lobby.  (Photo by Zane Brown)

Attendees at the July 9 Financial Wellness Fair in Albuquerque reflected a range of financial priorities.

“I basically know nothing — I signed up for the 401(k), but I wasn’t confident,” said newly-hired project controller Tiantian Trimble, who used the fair to connect with Sandia’s investment advice and management service providers. “I already talked to Financial Engines and I’m going to set up a consultation.”

Several years ago, systems engineer Nitin Shah started where Tiantian is now. “I’ve been saving for retirement since my first paycheck, and for specific goals like purchasing a home and my kids’ education, and then trying to be mindful of tax reduction strategies year-round,” said Nitin, adding that he is focused on conveying sound financial wellness practices to his adult children. “If you start early, time is in your favor. I’m feeling comfortable as I look forward to retirement at some point.”

Employees can view select Financial Wellness Month videos from Sandia’s internal financial wellness website.