The Art of Living Well

Missed any of the tips our presenters shared with you? Well, we’ve compiled all that information for you here!

Thank you for joining us for our virtual wellness workshop, “The Art of Living Well.” We hope you learned some practical tips to help you lead a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life. Below we’ve compiled some key takeaways from our presenters:

Financing 101

Financing experts Lukasz Wieczorek and Nika Lane shared their tips for establishing goals, maintaining a good credit score, and making the most out of your paycheck. Need a refresher?

Finance Principles:

  • Principle 1: Set Goals
  • Principle 2: Maximize Your Earning Potential
  • Principle 3: Save & Invest
  • Principle 4: Use Debt Wisely
  • Principle 5: Build Your Credit Score
  • Principle 6: Take Advantage of the Free Stuff

Personal Finance Tips:

  • Set automatic bill pay for recurring payments close to paydays, so most important needs are covered immediately (car payment, rent/mortgage, credit cards).
  • Avoid impulsive decisions – leave your cards at home when shopping and take a set amount of $$ with you.
  • Put spare change in a “fun money” jar.
  • Take advantage of pre-tax benefits and workplace benefits – FREE MONEY!
  • Shop your options when financing large purchases. Financial institutions compete for customers as hard as any other industry.
  • Making timely payments and having low credit utilization is the best way to maintain a good credit score.
  • Set aside a cushion for emergencies.

Your  Finance Questions Answered:

What is better in the long run a 401k or an IRA? And can you have both?

Lukasz: 401k is an employer sponsored plan while IRA is available to anybody. There are different contribution limits allowed by law. Yes, you can have both, however there are tax implication that should be discussed with a financial advisor and/or tax specialist based on amount of earned income.

Nika: I would not necessarily recommend one over the other. However, if you have access to an employer 401k plan, educate yourself on the Company’s 401k match. This can be beneficial in terms of the amount of $ that gets contributed on your behalf that is not necessarily only coming out of your own pocket (free money). In short, more money makes more money.

Any particular strategies for older folks?

Lukasz: The answer is, it depends. I think at that later stages of life is really important to understand how much income will be needed to support self after we stop working. Healthcare expenses tend to rise as we age, and I think it is important to do our best to stay in good health. Exercise and balanced nutrition would be best to maintain our wellbeing.

Nika: Take advantage of employer HSA plans, if available to you, as this is ensuring you will have a savings account strictly to help fund these future health expenses.

Lukasz: From the investment perspective, it might be a good idea to start looking at the offerings that are less aggressive in growth and allow more stability – differently said, it will be more important at that stage to eliminate volatility.

Nika: If you already have a 401k or other investment account that is diversified, think about and speak to an advisor about potentially redistributing that balance to better ensure stability of your investments. As well, ask the advisor questions about which would be more beneficial for your current financial situation: 401k Roth or traditional. Changing current and future contributions to one or the other could help you have more when you reach retirement. Lastly, self-reflect on your necessities and cut out mindless spending (daily Dunkin coffee vs. making your own)

Recommended Resources:

Compound Interest Calculator

Credit Score Basics

Credit Reports and Credit Scores

Best Prepaid Cards of 2021

Spread Joy: Letter Writing Workshop

Senior Wellness Coordinator Mairead Fogarty  shared how writing can be a great tool for giving back as well as personal growth. If you participated in the workshop and wrote a letter of encouragement for one of our clients, please follow the instructions below.

Email your letter to:

communications@mountainside.com

Mail your letter to:

Alex Helfer
Mountainside Treatment Center
187 S Canaan Road
Canaan, CT 06018

Take Five: Using Your Senses to Ground Your Mind

Mountainside’s Sage Hahn shared how using sensory boxes can help you reduce stress, relieve anxiety, and let go of negative emotions. Want to create your own sensory box?

Start with Reflection:

  • What makes you feel comfortable? When you get home after a long day, what helps you relax?
  • Think of a memory where you felt particularly calm or joyful. Close your eyes and engage each of your senses during that memory. What did you see? Smell? Hear? Touch? Taste?

Use your responses to brainstorm what you want to include in your own sensory box. Below are some ideas to get you started:

See: Pictures, bubbles, candles, positive quotes

Feel: Play-Doh, pieces of soft fabric, stress ball, bubble wrap, facial spray

Hear: Bell, playlist, eat plugs, watch, shaker

Smell: Perfume, candles, essential oils, incense, scented lotion

Taste: Chocolate, candy, gum, tea, nuts, mints

 

To find some crafting supplies to make your sensory box, visit these great second-hand art stores:

https://makeandmendshop.com/

https://thistlecreativereuse.com/

 

Want to share your sensory box with the recovery community? Use the hashtag #TakeFiveMountainside when posting on Instagram.