Financial Wellness @ Work

Going for the Gold Can Be Taxing

As the Olympics come to an end, I’m proud of how many medals our American team is coming home with, but not quite as thrilled with the tax bill they’ll face for winning.  It’s not the value of the medal itself that the IRS wants its share of,  it’s the prize money that comes with a gold, silver or bronze that is taxable.  The U.S. Olympic Committee rewards Olympic medalists with cash honorariums:  a gold medal brings $25,000,  silver medals get $15,000, and a bronze is worth $10,000.  As calculated by the Weekly Standard, the IRS will take $3,500 of a bronze athlete’s winnings, silver medalists will owe $5,385 in taxes, and winning the gold (which is priceless) will set Ryan and Michael each out $8,986 per race. Read more

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Are You Ready for Open Enrollment?

The temperature isn’t the only thing rising this summer – our group health insurance is going up over 14%.  So, as part of my role on our benefits committee, I reviewed several different health carriers to see if there were any more affordable options.  Luckily for us, there was one.  However, this will now involve having all the employees fill out enrollment applications within the next few weeks to make the September 1  deadline to replace our existing plan.  While we are going through the hassle of  changing health plans, we also decided to switch to an HSA custodian that offers more competitive investment options.  With these changes coming up pretty quickly, it made me wonder if there was a secret to a successful open enrollment – instead of the yearly rush to communicate any changes to our small group of employees.  Read more

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What Are the Hot Topics at This Year’s ISCEBS Symposium?

The 31st Annual Employee Benefits Symposium, hosted by the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS), will be taking place in 2 weeks in San Francisco.  For 2 ½ days, you can immerse yourself in technical and strategic sessions cutting across the major issues and challenges you are facing—and you’ll be in good company. The Symposium has a reputation of bringing together some of the brightest minds in the benefits and compensation industry and providing abundant opportunities to rub shoulders with a wide variety of HR professionals.  Read more

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Could Your Employees be Facing a Hazard From Mother Nature?

Last week’s east coast storms came as a shocking surprise to many of us living near the Chesapeake Bay.  High winds toppled trees like dominoes, lightning zapped out the power, and a tidal surge flooded the marinas.  Mother Nature was not in a good mood last week, and your employees may have been on the receiving end of her wrath.  Whether it was a tree hitting Bob’s roof, lightning causing an electrical surge that fried Kenny’s electronics, or churning water causing damage to Sue’s cabin cruiser, you might not even be aware of the extent of the damages that your workforce may be facing and the financial hardship these repairs could cause. Read more

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Meet Me in Atlanta

In just 3 weeks from now, I’ll be traveling to Atlanta for this year’s SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition, which takes place June 24 to June 27.  In addition to this year’s entertainer, Jerry Seinfeld, there are so many opportunities to learn what’s new and cutting edge in the HR field, from practical tips to innovation in HR to motivating people.  I’m excited to be able to share my own experience in the field of financial wellness, and I’ll be speaking about Health and Wealth: Adding Financial Wellness to Your Wellness Program on Monday, June 25.  Using a case study of a Fortune 500 company that has been embedding financial wellness within their wellness program for the past few years, I’ll be revealing the results of an ROI analysis and sharing best practices for financial education. Read more

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Why Your Employer’s Disability Insurance May Not Be Enough

Everyone wants to be a hero – to have that impact where they “protect” someone from a danger – dashing into a house on fire to save a baby.  And in life, we protect many things, some valuable – our house and life  – and others that are not so valuable.  The reason we protect things is that they are important to us. However, we often neglect protecting one of our most important assets and that is our earning power – the income we generate that pays for our basic expenses – housing, food, education, etc. Read more

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Speaks Out on the Future of Retirement Security

I recently spoke to an employee who had decided, at age 54, that it was time to start focusing on retirement.  Her goal was to retire at age 65, and she was wondering if that would be possible, considering she had not been saving for retirement for the past several years.  She’d been in a financial fog during that time while trying to recover both emotionally and financially from a rough divorce. Read more

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Are You Aware That May is DIAM?

So what is DIAM?  It stands for Disability Insurance Awareness Month, sponsored by the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE).  Many employees are unaware of the disability coverage that may be available to them as an employer-sponsored benefit, so spread the word this month about your workplace disability insurance.   Read more

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Pet Parents Need Insurance Too!

Does your company’s voluntary benefits menu include pet insurance?  Believe it or not, 4% of employers in 2011 did indeed offer pet insurance, according to SHRM’s 2011 Employee Benefits Study. Employees who have pets may welcome this benefit, since the ASPCA estimates that “pet parents” spend over $13 billion in veterinary care to keep their pets happy and healthy. Read more

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How to Evaluate Your Life Insurance During Open Enrollment

Once a year, this strange phenomenon occurs called “open enrollment.”   For most people,  “open enrollment” is time for the fine art of pretending that if you ignore something it will go away and it always works out that way. However, what most people don’t realize is that in this case, ignorance is certainly not bliss and they are overlooking a very important part of their overall planning that can have a dramatic impact on their future and the future of their family.  Read more

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