Open Enrollment Yet Again

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. Once again, it was Open Enrollment time at work. Enrollment usually requires me to some calculations to figure out what the best options for me are, but this year’s enrollment is fairly mundane compared with previous years.  In fact, I do not have to make any changes to my benefits at all and there is little change to my costs.  I will let you take a look at what is happening again with my benefits as well as take a peek at my medical claims this year versus last.  I will also give you a quick peek into my long-term disability coverage since I looked at that in conjunction with my enrollment. Benefit Changes This year there are no coverage changes for the plans my employer is offering me.  It is probably the first time in a few years that I did not have to evaluate which plan would be the better option for me.  As … Read more…

Job Loyalty

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. Recently, the company I work for announced the benefit changes for the upcoming year. One change in particular did not go down well with the employees. People were angry, bitter and talked about disloyalty from the company. I’ll talk about the numbers surrounding the benefits in another post. In this one, I’d like to talk how people felt the change was personal, that their friend had betrayed them. I never got that worked up about it and mainly just shrugged the change off. 401k Change Maybe it is because I tend to be more analytical than most that I didn’t get too upset about the change. All the company was doing was changing when they were going to give you your 401k matching contribution. Instead of matching each paycheck with your contribution, they were changing to a once a year match in the 1st quarter of the following year. While not ideal, and certainly not … Read more…

Time for Open-Enrollment

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. Once again, open-enrollment time has arrived for me. This year’s enrollment has been relatively uneventful. There were no major changes to the benefits that I currently have and no large changes in cost either. The one change that had been introduced, the 401k change, was reversed. All in all it was fairly uneventful. I will walk through my thoughts and selections in case it might help you in the future. Health Insurance This has been the area that has seen the biggest changes over the past several years. The coverage that I have elected has come down in price over the past few years. The trade-off I have made is that I am taking on more risk. This is a trade-off I have been willing to make as a result of more stability in my financial situation. This year brought no major changes to the health coverage and only a minimal change in cost. The … Read more…

HSA Check-In

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. Since open-enrollments may be around the corner for most folks, I thought I should write an update on how my year has been going with my HSA. Quick Summary A quick refresher on the choices I made for my medical insurance this year…I opted to continue with my HSA-eligible plan, but opted for the highest deductible. The plan had two main components for me to be concerned about, a deductible and out-of-pocket maximums. The deductible is $7,000 and means that I cover all expenses (both doctor visits and prescriptions) until the deductible is met. The second, the out-of-pocket maximum, has an individual level, $6,450 and a family cap of $12,900. Overall, I had calculated that I was better off financially, so long as my claims did not go much above the $6,000 range. So, how am I doing? HSA Update As always, the little guy is leading the pack with medical expenses. For those not … Read more…

Guardian Angels

Angel

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. I Must Be Lucky I am beginning to think I have a guardian angel looking out for me, maybe more than one.  I opened our above-ground pool recently and in what seems to be an annual occurrence, I fell off the pool.  It is not that far down, but it is probably about a four foot fall. We have been on the house for about four years and I’ve fallen off the pool at least 3 times.  Every time I have managed to escape serious injury.  I was thinking about this the other day during one of my morning runs.  I tend to have random thoughts when I am running for an hour.  I had landed on my right side this time and wasn’t really able to brace myself.  I thought this was lucky because had I used my right arm to brace, I likely would have broken it.  I then thought, even if I … Read more…

On Top of It

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. I know I tend to be a little overzealous when it comes to keeping track of my money.  However, I witnessed two events recently with two different coworkers that made me think that being overzealous is a good thing.  In both cases, there was a change to their paychecks that they did not monitor and the changes resulted in headaches for both of them. Case #1 My first coworker received a promotion mid-year in 2014.  She went from an hourly employee to a salaried employee.  Along with that change, she also received a raise.  When she received her first post-raise check, it was higher than her normal check, so she thought everything was ok.  It turns out, everything was not ok.  You see, she had been paid before on a bi-weekly schedule as on hourly employee.  Salaried employees are paid bi-monthly. So, even without a raise, her paycheck would have gone up, 26 paychecks to … Read more…

Expense Reduction

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. One of my financial goals is to always try and reduce my expenses. I always want to be efficient with how I am spending my money and to control the leakage that seems to occur when I am not diligent.  That leakage is what got me into financial trouble years ago.  I simply was not paying attention to where my money was being spent and ended up spending more than I was making. Now, whenever I can, I reduce expenses.  Since I have been doing this for a few years, there are often no big changes, but this year, I managed to reduce my expenses by about $150 a month.  There was another change that began when 2015 started and another change that is currently in the works.  Those two additional changes will reduce my expenses by another $300-$400 a month. Dry Cleaning It was probably May or June, when I began to think about … Read more…