Keep an eye out for regular blog postings from our diverse team of advisors where we aim to inform, reflect, and comment on relevant financial and business topics that are important to you and your families.Sign up for Email Notifications for our Blog Postings here.
September 23rd marked the first official day of Autumn. Open enrollment for many individuals typically accompanies the welcomed arrival of the fall season. Also known as “annual enrollment”, open enrollment is a period of time when individuals may make additions, changes or deletions to their elected employee benefits, individual health insurance, or Medicare coverage. Whether you are working and need to update your benefits package at work, are retired and eligible for Medicare benefits, or are under age 65 and not covered by a group health insurance policy, you should consider your options before the designated open enrollment period begins. Employee Benefits Know when open enrollment begins and ends for your company. Typically, open enrollment for employee benefits begins in the fall of each year, but the timing will vary slightly from company to company. The specific time period and details for your employer’s plan(s) will be communicated by your HR department, so remember to open and read all communications you receive regarding your group plans. We’ve seen a number of companies institute changes to spousal benefits and health insurance plans Read on! →
The Year End Crunch For many, the passing of Labor Day signals the beginning of fall and the inevitable acceleration of year-end activities. Year-end is punctuated by striving to make annual goals, completion of next year’s business plan and the number of work days reduced by holidays. In other words, the 4th quarter is very busy and it is never too early to begin thinking about and documenting what must get done. Is Healthcare on the Radar? While not in the news as much, open enrollment for 2015 Affordable Care Act health insurance coverage begins November 15, 2014. If you are a business owner considering offering health insurance to your employees, take time to review how the Insurance Marketplace works in your area. The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace is open to employers with 50 or fewer full time equivalent employees (FTE) and might provide an affordable way to provide health insurance to employees. For businesses with fewer than 25 employees, health insurance costs can sometimes be offset by tax credits. The tax credit is worth up to Read on! →
If you are faced with a sudden care need for your parents, there may be a moment of panic and the question, “What do I do now?” This can be an overwhelming time because care needs are highly unpredictable and are unique to each family. It is essential to understand your parents’ goals for their future and honestly evaluate what role you can best serve in the care of your parents as they age. Not everyone is suited to be the primary caregiver, and this may not be the role your parents want you to serve. Following are a few questions to prompt thought and discussion for you and your family in advance of issues. Have your parents shared their goals for their desired future or have they given you the message that this is none of your business? Some parents are extremely private about any potential changes, including their finances and estate plans. Beginning discussions with your parents in advance of any issues can help keep them from being confrontational and give them the widest range of choices. If Read on! →
If you are like most individuals, once you put your home and automobile insurance coverage in place you rarely, if ever tune in to the subtle, periodic changes your insurance company makes to the coverage parameters and the associated costs. These typically include inflationary adjustments to reflect increases in home values and mandates by state regulatory agencies. If you are more diligent, you proactively work with your property and casualty agent to adjust coverages for such things as home improvements, fine jewelry and art purchases and you might even assess deductibles from time-to-time. While adding coverage for tangible assets may be obvious, what might not be as clear is a trend by insurance companies to change deductibles from specific dollar amounts to a percentage of your home value. The Basics Overall, both auto and homeowner’s deductibles have been climbing in recent years. While auto deductibles are now often $500 to $1,000, homeowners have moved toward $1,000 to $2,500 a claim from the $250 or $500 that once was common. Traditional dollar based deductibles are still the norm but State Farm Read on! →
We all know that when we get married, we marry the entire family. What we may not realize is that each of us comes to a marriage with expectations about how we will interact with and assist our families. Most couples talk about and come to consensus on topics such as when to visit which set of parents and can usually resolve that by rotating holidays with each family. However, the discussions you may not have had revolve around each of your expectations for the assistance and care of your parents and in-laws as they age. You may be fortunate that the prior generation has already dealt with planning for any needs that will arise in their later lives, but you and your spouse should consider what you know about their current situation, their preparedness for unexpected issues and your ability and willingness to help and supplement their care if needed. While we can’t control the specific course nor the timeframe of how our parents age, we can proactively discuss what our expectations are and how we want to Read on! →