By Rick Hellberg, ChFC®, CLU and Michael Diaz
Winter brings us many things: cooler weather, football games, changing leaves—and benefits enrollment. Though it can be tempting to get the enrollment process out of the way quickly by opting into the same choices year after year, it’s worth it to take the time to explore what your employer offers, especially if you’ve experienced any life changes. And if you’re an employer, take the steps needed to make your employees aware of the benefits available to them, so you can both maximize your firm’s investment.
Workplace Benefit Package Tips For Employees
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your employee benefits, take the time to study the materials your company shares about what will be available in 2021. Keeping your benefits the same as this year may be the right choice. But because many companies change their benefits packages from year to year, you want to see what’s new. Also, think about changes you’ve experienced in the past year; is there a new family member or has your health situation changed? Also, costs for healthcare coverage usually rise every year, so make sure the benefits you choose still fit with your budget.
There may also be benefits available year-round that can help you with the changes brought about by COVID-19. Many companies offer discounts to employees for purchasing electronics or office supplies. That could be useful if you’re looking to upgrade your home office or buy extra laptops for remote learning. If you need to visit a doctor and don’t want to enter an office, or are seeking a less expensive option, check if your company offers “telehealth” visits you can do at home over video chat. Finally, if this year is leaving you stressed or anxious, your company may offer free or discounted counseling through an Employee Assistance Program.
Did you get a raise this year, or are you saving more money because you’re spending more time at home? If so, try to maximize or increase what you’re putting into your workplace retirement plan. For 2020, you can save up to $19,500 in a 401(k), or up to $26,000 if you’re age 50 or older. Even if you can’t save up to the maximum, be sure to put away enough to take advantage of any matching funds your employer offers. Saving for retirement in a 401(k) can provide a tax benefit today and help you reach future financial goals.
Looking to further your career? Many companies offer tuition assistance if you have the time and desire to go back to school, as well as access to online learning platforms that let you upgrade your skills on your own time.
Business Owners And Employee Benefits
If you’re a business owner, you likely spend a lot of your time and company resources building and offering a robust benefits package for your employees. Many in-demand employees credit the quality of the benefits package as a reason to choose or stay with an employer. But do your employees understand all that you offer them to make the most of it?
Many employees undervalue benefits because their employer doesn’t fully communicate the value. That’s why it’s important to share detailed information on the benefits during enrollment, and if possible, host webinars and calls where you can review the benefits in more detail. Your benefits providers likely have materials you can distribute to your staff. Also, consider speaking with or surveying your employees on an annual basis to ensure that your benefits package meets their needs and drives loyalty to your organization.
We work with a lot of small business owners regarding their benefits package, helping them educate their employees on what’s available, the value of those benefits as part of their overall compensation package, and how they should approach choosing from what’s available. We can help you do the same.
Making The Best Benefits Decision
Your healthcare insurance and other employee benefits are an important part of your overall financial plan. If you need help making your decision, we at PeterAlexander can help analyze your options and help you make the most cost-effective decision. If you’re a business owner, work with us to ensure your benefits match your employee needs, and that your staff maximizes what you’re offering. Reach out to us at 610.940.1441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rick Hellberg is president and CEO of PeterAlexander, a financial planning firm founded in 1991. Rick is passionate about providing quality, objective financial solutions so his clients can pursue their financial goals and create the legacy they desire. He strives to equip his clients with comprehensive financial services and advice so they can be empowered to make sound financial decisions. The plans Rick and his team develop help their clients to reduce their taxes, educate their children, fund their retirements, pass their businesses on at fair value, and create programs to attract and retain valuable employees, all so that they can focus on what matters most to them. Rick has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Penn State, along with the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designations. He spent over 40 years working with successful individuals and companies before founding PeterAlexander so he could design tailored solutions to meet his clients’ unique needs.
Rick resides in Philadelphia with his lovely wife, Lisa, and their two Shiloh Shepherds, Bentley and Winston. He is also the very proud father of two wonderful young men, Peter and Alex. In 2010, Rick ran for Congress in the 2nd District of Pennsylvania and has stayed active in local politics. To learn more about Rick, connect with him on LinkedIn.
Michael Diaz is a financial advisor at PeterAlexander with over 15 years of industry experience. Michael is passionate about helping people overcome financial challenges and avoid potential pitfalls so they can focus their time and energy on the most important things in their life. He spends his days working with successful business owners and families, implementing investment and tax reduction strategies to maximize their wealth. Michael’s goal is to help protect his clients’ financial security, putting them first and helping them navigate every stage in their financial journey. Michael earned his Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Engineering from Drexel University. When he’s not working, you can find Michael traveling, cheering on local sports teams, and exercising outdoors. To learn more about Michael, connect with him on LinkedIn.