A few months back we modified our name from Intuitive Accountant to Insightful Accountant; at that time Gary informed YOU, our readers that we were ‘stretching out’ into being more than a QuickBooks focused E-magazine. Not only was it our intent to begin providing improved coverage on other products and ecosystems impacting you, but enhanced coverage in areas that impact your practice and perhaps even the businesses of your clients.
It is rapidly approaching the time of year when many employers, and even small ‘open’ insurance plans ask you to review your benefit options. Some employers offer cafeteria plans that permit employees to ‘shuffle the deck’ and not only make changes to just their health benefits, but to other benefit options such as life coverage, retirement contributions, and even supplemental coverages like AD&D or Cancer Coverage or even Long-term care coverage. All too often you, or your employees, or perhaps even your clients’ employees have only a short time, ‘the open enrollment window’ to review all their options and make changes. Many times it is tempting to simply check boxes that say things like ‘no changes’, or just copy the check marks from one year’s options to the next.
While it is tempting to preserve the status quo you should really take time to stop and think if your benefit selections really are ‘beneficial’ to you and your family. This is the only way you truly can insure yourself that your chosen benefits are really the benefits that best fit your needs.
Benefits for YOU and YOUR FAMILY– there was an old saying in the ‘insurance game’, “insurance is for those left behind”, meaning that many coverages, like ‘Life Insurance’, are really benefits only recognized when the insured has died. It benefits those in the family. But today there are so many options when it comes to ‘life policies’ that some coverages can afford you and your family benefits when they are needed, even before a death occurs.
In reality all of your insurance benefits are meant as much for your family as for you. You should ensure that your family has the necessary financial resources should something happen to you, this is especially true when there are children still at home, or in college, and you are the primary means of support. In later years you may want to reduce life coverage when you have retirement plan benefits that can replace income in lieu of a life policy. Remember in almost all cases of insurance, the right answer to what you need depends on you and your family’s requirements.
Many times you can ‘self-fund’ a reserve for health expenses when you decide on a less costly health insurance premium resulting from a higher deductible or co-payment option. Many employers offer health savings accounts under a 125-Cafeteria plan that provides pre-tax deduction savings for such contributions. While there may be some ‘extra paperwork’ involved, many of these plans can actually enhance your coverage at lowered costs to you and your family.
Keep in mind that retirement can last far longer than you might think. It isn’t unusual for people to live for 25 or more years after they retire. In order to plan for a successful retirement during the growing extending lifetimes we seem to be experiencing these days, as opposed to 50 or more years ago, you must take advantage of every retirement savings opportunities offered through your employer or other plan sponsor. This is especially so when an employer provides matching incentives for employee contributions. Your personal financial/investment advisor, accountant or tax professional can assist you in determining which type or types of retirement plan options will best fit the needs of you and your family. The key is to always set goals and objectives for retirement savings and investment and remain on-track over your working career.
Remember, specific questions concerning your benefit options and elections should be discussed with your employer’s benefits or human resource department, or benefit plan(s) administrator(s).