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Sound Bites - Issue #54 - February 2018 - #281

On the Cover
Planning for the Golden Years

Paul Heising teaches Passport to Retirement

The Passport to Retirement class can help you enjoy a worry-free retirement

Paul Heising chats with Director of Career & Contract Education Michelle King


Paul Heising has been teaching "Passport to Retirement" at SMC Community Education since 2003. He is a partner with Moran, Heising & McElravey, LLC, an independent investment advisory and financial planning firm that specializes in investment management and retirement planning for individuals and small businesses. He has served as both a director and advisor for corporate boards and frequently speaks to groups about investing and retirement planning. In addition, he has taught business courses to graduate and undergraduate students on a part-time basis at Chapman University for the last 15 years.

First thing first, what is it you enjoy about teaching your retirement course at SMC Community Ed?

The most enjoyable part is the interaction with all the wonderful people I meet. They represent all ages and all walks of life. The common element is that they are interested in planning for their retirement and committed to taking steps to achieve their goals. My commitment to them is that the class is 100% focused on helping them understand the things that can help them retire successfully and help them navigate through the myriad of choices they have.  

Is there anything you'd like to add about the retirement course you teach?

My class is an educational class that covers a broad number of important retirement planning issues. My specialty is in Investment Management and Retirement Planning. My focus in class is an academic focus rather than a Wall Street focus. There is no sales pitch or sales focus in the class. It is purely educational.  

What is the average age of your clients when they first come to see you?

I have clients spanning all age groups.  Some are in their 20's and 30's, some in their 40's, 50's and 60's or older. Each client has different goals and needs and it is my job to help them pursue their goals of retiring successfully.

What are some of their most common issues?

The most common issues for 20 and 30-year-olds are to pay down student loan debt, save for a down payment on a home, and to begin saving and investing. The most common issues for older clients who are working and saving for eventual retirement is to understand at what age they can plan to retire so they won't run out of money and to invest with the least amount of risk in order to pursue their retirement goals successfully. 

The last thing on young people's minds is retirement and many of them are struggling with college loan debt and the high cost of living in places such as Los Angeles. How can they put aside money for retirement?

There are always good reasons to procrastinate since there never is a ‘right time' to save and invest. Many reasons are very real and understandable. This is especially true given the more immediate need for younger adults to pay off student loans, save for a down payment on a home or spend necessary funds to raise a family. Still, the key is to live below your means and begin to save something, even a small amount while they are paying down their student loans or saving for a home. One great way is to invest in the company retirement plan (like a 401-k or 403-b), where you defer a portion of your salary into investments that can grow significantly over time*. Sometimes employers provide a match to an employee's salary deferral that can help the retirement plan grow even more significantly.

Is there a fear among all age groups, but particularly young people, that they will lose Social Security? If so, how does that tie into retirement planning?

While no one really knows how the Social Security system might change in future years, it has changed a number of times since it started in 1935 and will like change in future years, too. The best way to factor the possibility of a reduced or even the elimination of future Social Security benefits is to plan as if it may not be a benefit in the first place. Unfortunately, this may mean that someone may have to plan to delay their retirement or save even more. 

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. The hypothetical investment results are for illustrative purposes only and should not be deemed a representation of past or future results. Actual investment results may be more or less than those shown. This does not represent any specific product or service.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Paul Heising will teach two "Passport to Retirement" classes – one that starts Feb. 21 and the other that starts Feb. 24.

What's New
A Meeting of Minds, a Dash of Inspiration...

Alice Meyering

Associate Dean Scott Silverman; Dean Dione (Dee Dee) Carter; and Irena Zugic from Academic Affairs

Former NBA player Adonal Foyle was a source of inspiration

from the desk of Alice Meyering

There's something invigorating about attending professional conferences – and you come back with inspiration for new ideas for classes and projects that will enrich our students' and community's lifelong learning experience.

For example, one of the most interesting presentations I attended last week at the annual state Association of Continuing and Community Education conference was a "Science of Art/Art of Science" project run by El Camino College Director of Community Education Betty Sedor. That program, funded by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, is a series of multidisciplinary events and workshops designed to inspire a sense of wonder and imagination for lifelong learning, Sedor told us.

Last fall, for example, the project sponsored an evening of music, film and more around Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The closing "Frankenstein 200" event will take place next month with "4 Women at the Villa Diodati" -- four staged readings in an art installation room. And just last week, a "Bass Cave Soundscape" event was held.

Also inspiring was a great speech by Adonal Foyle, a former Golden State Warrior NBA player who left his Caribbean home at 15 to pursue his basketball career. I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Adonal, who said he has always believed in the importance of education and now runs two nonprofit educational organizations for underprivileged children.

It was also fun to spend time with SMC colleagues, some of whom I rarely, if ever, see – including Dean of Noncredit & Continuing Education Dione "Dee Dee" Carter; Academic Senate President Nate Donahue; Associate Dean of Emeritus College Scott Silverman; and Irena Zugic from Academic Affairs.

What the conference underscored for me was that there are endless possibilities for what Community Ed can do and that we have the flexibility to try out and bring together a rich diversity of classes and special events such as "Science of Art/Art of Science."

Back at the office now, I have plenty of food for thought to find ways to make our program even more creative and interesting for our community, and with our department now under the guidance of a new Dean, good things are coming, so stay tuned.

Visit our award winning website at to register for classes online 24/7. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any
questions about our classes. You can email us at or
call us at (310) 434-3400.

Behind the Scenes:
Picking Chords Between Guitar 1 & 2

Pete Risi’s Beginning Guitar class

Peter Risi

Peter Risi

By Peter Risi, Guitar Instructor

People often ask me:

What should I do to continue my guitar playing after taking the Beginning Guitar class?
An easy obvious answer is to take Guitar II. This class is a continuation of the Beginning Guitar class offered at SMC Guitar II with slightly looser guidelines. We cover some standard fundamentals in Guitar II that resume where we left off, however there is a little more flexibility open to what the general consensus of students' interests are. Based on previous classes, the likelihood is there will be some additional note reading, scales, some deeper into chords, strumming, songs, and more.

I already know the essentials on guitar so why take Guitar II?
Guitar II can be considered a next step after the intro Beginning Guitar class level. It can also be thought of as a way for anyone who knows some basics or has been self taught that wants to advance their playing.

Another big reason is that sometimes people just need the discipline to help keep them motivated to continue playing. The only way to improve is to keep practicing, and sometimes the commitment of showing up each week for six weeks can be just what is needed to get over the hump to stay engaged to progress.

Why bother taking the Guitar II class? Practicing is too much work!
The most important thing is to understand that we play the guitar for our own personal reasons. Some people play for a creative outlet, some because it helps them to relax, others for sheer enjoyment and pleasure, while others because they are more serious about learning. The main thing to understand is that guitar playing is supposed to be fun! This is a low-pressure class that allows you to put in as much effort as you can without overloading yourself. The only thing to be aware of is that you only get out of it what effort you put in -- so the pressure will only be what you put on yourself. The attitude should be that you are there to get as much out of the class as you can while attending.

Peter Risi has been playing the guitar for over 35 years and has a Bachelor's degree in music from Mercy College in New York. He's also a professional musician with writing, performing, teaching and recording experience. You can hear some of Pete's original music at Reverbnation and iTunes.

 He will teach Beginning Guitar starting Feb. 24 and Guitar II starting Feb. 20. 

The After Glow of a Record-Breaking Open House!

Michelle KingMichelle King, Director Career & Contract Ed.

Italian instructor Silvia Masera talking to student

Students Zelda Lambrecht and Mariya Narcheva say the Creativity Workshop changed their lives

All of us at Community Ed are still glowing after our Feb. 3 Open House, which had record attendance, enrollments and tuition receipts -- not to mention the wonderful energy created by bringing together instructors and prospective students in an informal and informative setting.

During the four hours of the Open House, we had 104 registrations (each receiving a 15% discount offered during the event only), a 60 percent increase from the 2017 Open House. And our revenues doubled from the previous year!

View more photos of our 2018 Open House

A huge thanks to our students, instructors and community members who made this event such a success. I was struck by how much the annual event has grown since we launched it in 2016, the dedication and loyalty of the many returning students at the event, and the increasing number of instructors who want to participate – by manning tables and presenting mini-demonstrations.

We learned a lot also by talking to attendees. The instructors' presence at the Open House heavily influenced students in signing up for classes in the Spring. Quite a few changed their minds to switch to another class simply because the attendees were able to talk to the instructors present.

For example, Nancy Loncke of Venice, who had previously taken two Community Ed classes, told us that she had intended to register for the Japanese calligraphy class but also got interested in Horsemanship and Modern Dance classes after talking to instructors.

It was also heartening to talk to students who told us how much of an impact our program has had on them.

Zelda Lambrecht and Mariya Nacheva, who were manning the Creativity Workshop table for instructor Patrisha Thomson, said taking the class changed their lives. "It taught me how to open up my creative self, to trust the process instead of the product," Zelda said.

We also learned that many of the students found the presentations informative and helpful, but a number of them also felt that the opportunity to make one-on-one connections were very valuable, and, quite frankly, rare, nowadays.

The crowd-pleasing highlights of the day included the 14 mini-presentations, including student modern dance demonstrations and student poetry readings. And we were happy to give away some gifts, including a basket of gourmet food from Bristol Farms.
Special thanks goes out to Barbara of Queen Bee's Delightful Catering for staying during the entire duration of our event (and then some) to make sure that our guests and instructors were taken care of so our staff could concentrate on other tasks. 

We're looking forward to an even bigger and better Open House next year -- and we'll see you there!

To register, call (310) 434-3400 or go to You can also email

Warm regards,

Michelle King
Director of Career &
Contract Education