Why I Max Out My Health Savings Account (And You Should Too)

When I worked as a 401(k) enroller, my regional sales manager (who happened to be my step-dad) used to demonstrate the tax advantages of the 401(k) by ripping a dollar bill into two pieces to show the effect of taxes on income. He would then go on to say that trying to save for retirement with after-tax money was the equivalent of saving only a portion of every dollar we earned and by putting that money in the 401(k), we got the benefit of the whole dollar instead. Not only did this grab my attention—unless they are a magician you rarely expect someone to voluntarily rip dollar bills in half—but it drove home the idea that tax-deferred saving was better than saving after taxes.  There was only one problem: that money would eventually get ripped, figuratively speaking, when it was withdrawn in retirement. Read more

Lessons From Having the Flu and Pneumonia

One of my philosophies of life is that if you’re going to take the time to do something, you should take pride enough in yourself to go all out and give maximum effort. I took that to a new level recently by not only getting “The Flu” (It’s an actual thing, not just something that people talk about and it’s terrible! Get a flu shot!!!) and to go along with it, I went the extra mile and got pneumonia as well.  I don’t get sick very often, but when I do it’s usually a complete wipe out for a few days. Fortunately for me, I was able to go to my doctor, be seen in a timely fashion, get the tests I needed (flu test and chest x-ray) and then hit the pharmacy for the meds I needed.  The good news is that like all of my prior minor illnesses, I survived this one and am here to write about it… Read more

Retire Before 65: It May Pay To Wait

Retiring before 65 can be a challenge even for the folks that have their financial ducks in a row.  Last week, an employee called into our financial helpline and asked me what he should be considering to retire early.  He was 62 and wanted to retire in a year but he didn’t know of anyone in his professional or social circles that was retiring early and could give him advice. No one he knew was retiring before 65. Read more

Open Enrollment: A Tale of a Lost Opportunity

It’s open enrollment season, and many employees are making the key decisions that will impact both their health coverage and tax situation for 2012.  Commonly, employees are seeing higher deductibles and co-pays, but are still not maximizing their ability to, not only cover this exposure, but to also shelter some of their income from taxes by utilizing an FSA or HSARead more

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