Social Return on Investment (SROI): The New Money Mindset in Public Health

Why is financial management important to everyone in your organization, in your personal and professional development?

In the field of public health, we not only work in solo of expertise, but also share our findings across different realms aiming to improve population health locally, domestically and internationally. To drive change and sustain change, financial management is an essential key to understand ‘whether program/policies/projects’ are worth investing in before we start discussing  on how to ‘finance them.’ In a tight economy with constraint resources, it is not uncommon that the stakeholder’s decision-making is influenced by finances (or the lack of finances).

However, using the ‘financing reason’ as the first financial management tool is not usually the most effective approach.  Instead, using the return on investment (ROI) as a financial management tool to assess whether or which project(s) are worth investing based on common metric that bring benefits and social value can help stir effort, time, and resources to support these programs, which is the new money mindset:  Social Return on Investment (SROI).  

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Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a framework for measuring and accounting value, rather than money. There are two types of SROI: (1) Evaluative, which is conducted retrospectively and based on actual outcomes that have already taken place, and (2) Forecast, which predicts how much social value will be created if the activities meet their intended outcomes.

Why Use SROI? Assessing the SROI prior to implementation of polices/programs/project, can help your organization improve services by:

  • facilitating strategic planning to maximize the social value an activity creates.
  • helping you target appropriate resources at managing unexpected outcomes.
  • identifying common ground between what an organization wants to achieve and what its stakeholders want to achieve, helping to maximize social value.

Instead of focusing on only the money (or the lack of money), assess the ‘benefits and social value’ in your decision-making. Will this make a difference? and to whom? 

 

Is your brain under attack from stress?

Your brain is under attack by your choices you made from what you eat, think and move.  Everything that you do in your life, from your sleep habits to your eating routine can either  stop or fast-forward this brain stress.  

When we under too much stress,  our brain cells are less efficient and effective, and over the life span, we contribute to our memory loss, inability to stay focused, difficulty to learn new skills, and brain fatigue

ache-19005_1920The same forces that are aging your body is affecting your brain too.  Stress, unhealthy food, and your environment can contribute 1) the generation free radicals in the brain, and 2) the decline in the ability of the brain cells to make energy.

The brain is the most metabolically active organ of the body and it uses 20% of your oxygen for your physical, mental, and emotional function.   Every time you stress, you create an excess of free radical that roaming around in the body to bind to healthy cells.  This process of oxidation damages the  the brain membrane, and thus, the brain becomes less efficient, produce less energy, and increase free radical production. You become fatigue, you can’t concentrated, and you become even more vulnerable to stress.

 

What you can do to win the stress attack?  

1.  Eat less trans-fatty acid (baked goods, processed food). Sluggish fat, sluggish brain.
2.  Consumer less artificial sweeteners and eat more fruits to feed your sweet tooth.
3.  Eat less meat and more veggie
4. Get more than 8 Horus of sleep
5.  Exercise regularly.
6. Get into a habit of drinking water throughout the day before you feel thristy.
7. Add play time to your work routine.

Money Karma 50-30-20

 

One of the most common resolutions is “save money”, “learn to budget”, and “invest in retirement”.

There is more than hundreds of books on the topic of financial planning, excel spreadsheet, and different mobile apps that can help you budget, save, and invest.

We all know why it is important to budget, save, and invest in our retirement, but in the US, more than 50% of the American have less than $1000 in their emergency funds.  So, if we are one of the most educated countries in the world, how come we don’t know that $1000 is just not enough.  We should aim at incurring an emergency fund that is worth 9 months of monthly payments in case of medical care, layout, or anything that is consider ’emergency’. But going on vacation, buying gifts for holidays, and shopping for the 10th pair of shoes do not constitute as ’emergency’.

It is the mindset and the framing.  We all know that ‘what to do’, but we don’t now the ‘how to’.

I believe in the KISS Method (KISS stands for Keep it simple, stupid) BUT I am going to think positive and call my KISS method as Keep it simple and sane !

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It is based on Elizabeth Warren’s work  50/30/20 Rule.  

Where 50% of your monthly salary go to ‘MUST HAVE’ that are essential for your basic survival (rent/mortgage, food, transportation, basic clothing, reasonable living condition).

Where 30% goes toward your “WANTS” such as the entertainment, shopping, dining out, and your desire.

Where 20% goes toward your “SAVING” – where 10% goes to your emergency fund and 10% goes to your investment fund.

 

Here is my own twist to the 50-30-20 rule:

I believe we can reduce our ‘wants’ from 30% to 20% by being creative in how we use our money and see buy things we want.  To help growth our nest eggs, it is important to add more to your investment and emergency funds from 20% to 30%, especially for folks who are starting late in their investments.

As long as you remember to KISS your budgeting,  saving, and investing, you are on your way in bringing money karma toward yourself.  When you take care of your money, the universe will take care of you.  

 

Reorganize Your Brain for Healthy You

How to boost your brain power for a healthy, younger you?

Organize your life, reorganize your brain.  The brain continuously make new neural connection throughout your human life.  Your brain cells can regenerate itself, adjust to new situation (learning), or new environment. Your brain is like your own superhero – can only go to your rescue if the brain has fuel, nutrients, and the roadmap for a healthy you! This process is called ‘neuroplasticity.’

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Why is it important to keep our brain with energy? With the right food, healthy lifestyle choices, and attitude, you can increase neuroplasticity.  The brain continually adjusts and reorganizes, and this brain activity promotes brain reorganization.

Practice a particular movement over and over again to help the brain to form and strengthen connections for movement.  Timing is important. When an area of the brain does not practice movement, the surrounding area are starved for stimulation and thus, unable to connect, (even if the neutron cells are regenerated).

Five ways to boost brain power: 

  1. Focus on the new exercise. (Turning on Changes)
  2. Be engaged in practicing exercises. (Strengthen neural connection)
  3. Learning helps the brain to stable and reduce ‘noise (positive reinforcement)
  4. Repetition is key. Initial change is temporary (fast brain system 1 and slow brain system 2 negotiation)
  5. Brain is changed by internal mental rehearsal which will translate naturally to external performance.  (Fake it till you believe it)

Brain plasticity is two-way street: negative vs positive change have equal chances.