Although it may not yet feel like fall outside, we are approaching the last quarter of 2016 and the time when employer benefits open enrollment occurs for the coming year. Before that benefits package hits your mail/email, here are a few things to consider in advance and discuss with your advisor. Are you covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)? An HDHP is defined as having a deductible of at least $1,300 for Singles or $2,600 for families. If your health plan qualifies, you are eligible to contribute pre-tax money to a Health Savings Account (HSA), up to $3,400 for Singles in 2017, or $6,750 for families per year. By contributing pre-tax money, you reduce your current taxable income, but more importantly, when the money is withdrawn from the HSA for qualified medical expenses, it comes out tax-free. There is currently no other investment vehicle in which pre-tax money goes in and tax-free money comes out. The ideal situation is to maximize contributions to the HSA each year you are eligible (by having a high deductible health Read on! →
Cheryl Sherrard was recently quoted in an article entitled “Here’s Why It’s Taking so Long to Hit your Money Goals”, in Grow Magazine. She offered advice regarding employee deferrals to 401(k) plans, reminding readers that contributing only up to your employer match amount is not likely to be enough for your eventual retirement. This is an area where employees can make changes to save more quickly for the future. To see the article in it’s entirety, click here.
When was the last time you met with your Property & Casualty Insurance agent? Here’s why you should get to know them. For many of us, our insurance agent is a name on an insurance card, the person we would call if we were ever involved in an accident or if we had a claim to file. The reason we need to get to know our agent is so that they can get to know us and therefore ensure that we are insured appropriately. I recently spent about an hour in my insurance agent’s office to complete a thorough review of my insurance coverage. A higher than anticipated homeowner’s invoice is what prompted me to initiate this session. The agent’s office was more than willing to meet and discuss the policy in detail. We reviewed all the details of our home, including square footage, floor coverings (hardwood, carpet, tile), upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms, outdoor improvements (screened porches, outdoor kitchens), as well as the basics of how many bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. were in the house. After about 50 detailed questions, Read on! →
Many of us are familiar with the Serenity Prayer. Most individuals understand there are areas of their lives which they can’t control, as well as areas which are entirely within their control. Thankfully, having the serenity to accept, the courage to change and the wisdom to know the difference might just make the financial journey more enjoyable. In financial planning, there are aspects which are “known” and entirely in your control. There are also those things which are “assumed”, that may or may not be in your control and that can lead to an uncertain outcome. A well-constructed plan dives into the details of your life, documents the known factors, and makes educated assumptions about what the future might hold and predicts an outcome. Some of the assumptions however, are made in areas that are entirely out of your control and therefore can sometimes seem like a shot in the dark. So what does all of this mean for a secure future? For retirement planning to be most successful, you must distinguish which areas you can control and those you Read on! →
We all know the significance of April 15th each year, but do you know why April 16th is also important for you and your family? April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day. The goal of this “National” day is to inspire, educate and empower the public about the importance of advance care planning. Advance care planning involves taking the time to carefully consider and document your preferences around end-of life care. It also includes the act of legally designating and empowering an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you were to become unable to do so for yourself. Although these can be uncomfortable topics to consider, approaching these conversations proactively will allow you to stay in better control of the future, whether you are able to personally voice your preferences, or are reliant on someone else. The primary benefits of advance care planning include; Careful consideration of your wants and desires at end-of-life Documentation of those desires, including life-sustaining measures to be avoided or applied Requests for specific comfort measures , surroundings or companions as death approaches Read on! →