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

Following the Plan

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. “Follow your plan.” I have told myself that a few times over the last couple of months. The situations that I said that to myself were different, but the saying applied to both. The first situation was during the stock market volatility after the summer and the other was the marathon I ran recently. I listened to myself for one and not the other. Running My Own Race I had already completed one marathon before I ran it for the second time this year, so I had an idea of what time I could finish it in. I had run a few other shorter races over the summer and generally felt pretty good. My training plan was similar to last year and I had connected with a group of guys that run together on the weekends. They are generally faster than I am, but I figure running with them helps me to improve my overall … Read more

Approaching the Limit

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. There are still times when I can still be surprised by my finances; such was the case recently when I reviewed my credit card charges.  There was a time when I would check my charges on a daily basis, but that has changed recently, probably over the last 6-9 months.  I still check them at least once a week, but I don’t watch them like a hawk. So, it was a surprise when I looked at my account online and saw that I was only about $900 away from my credit limit.  Since the limit on my card is $10,000, I was caught a little off guard.  When I looked into the details, there was nothing amiss and my finances were completely fine. How I Got There Not since I dug out of my financial hole have I been that close to my limit.  There are probably two main reasons why I was that close … 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