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Is Your Year-End Financial Plan Missing Something?

budget.jpgNo question: Q4 is the carpe diem quarter. You've got nine months of the year behind you, the blank slate of 2015 around the corner -- and a small window of time to tackle financial chores before the holidays hit. Bonus: Now that it's almost open enrollment season, you can consider maxing out (or adjusting) your employee benefits.

Yep, there's a lot to do, and you may not nail every item on your To Do list (who does?). But this primer will make sure you don't miss anything crucial, so that you're in great shape when the New Year comes dancing in. 

Savings

Obviously, it's better if you've been maxing out your 401(k) contributions throughout the year because you stand to gain quite a bit more. But it's not too late to contribute what you can for 2014. Even bumping up your savings rate by 1 percent can add up in years to come. Also note, the 401(k) limit for contributions for 2015 was bumped up by $500 to $18,000.

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Saving for Retirement and Health Care Priority for Employees

November 28, 2014

health, retirement

Marie Cabural

1During the first six months of 2014, health savings account (HAS) usage increased 33%

Saving for retirement and health care expenses are priority for employees for all ages, according to the latestreport from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The report indicated that the saving trends for employees of all age groups were encouraging. During the first-half of the year, the number of first-time contributors increased by 37% while the number of millennial contributors rose to 55%.

 

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A "Pressing Need" for Financial Wellness Programs

November 28, 2014

Financial Wellness

Dan Cook

33214038_m.jpgAn employee with a worried mind — especially a mind fixated on financial matters — will not be functioning at their best on the job. Many surveys are probing the extent of the damage financial stress exacts from productivity.

Now comes research that says bosses are beginning to take notice of this phenomenon and are prepared to address. And it comes from a somewhat surprising source: benefits brokers.

FinFit, a provider of employer-based financial assistance and wellness programs, asked life and health insurance brokers nationwide to share trend information on the types of benefits employers are exploring beyond traditional health coverage.

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Americans are Overworked Yet Positive

 

fin-300x162.jpgThe latest Heartland Monitor Poll from Allstate and the National Journal is out and it contains some very good news for the nation’s employers. The poll of 1,000 employed Americans finds that the overwhelming majority think very highly of their employers, with 82 percent saying they believe their employer has a positive impact on their community and 87 percent saying they’d recommend their place of employment to others. Americans are also highly satisfied with their jobs: 93 percent said they’re satisfied and 54 percent said they’re very satisfied.

So here’s the less-positive news: Only 31 percent say they’re very satisfied with their pay. Just 43 percent are very satisfied with their job benefits, 45 percent with the amount of paid vacation and sick time offered and 38 percent with opportunities for advancement.

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Engaging Millennials to Maximize Retirement Savings

November 24, 2014

retirement, savings

Melissa A. Winn

 

40521340_s.jpgMillennials are not saving enough to take full advantage of their employer’s 401(k) company match, but benefit advisers say there are many tools employers can use to turn this trend around and engage the younger generation.

While the average 401(k) participation rate for millennials is a respectable 73% for workers 20-29 and 77% for those aged 30 to 39, many are saving at a low rate, according to a new Aon Hewitt analysis of more than 3.5 million employees eligible for defined contribution plans. Nearly 40% of 20-29 year olds and 31% of 30-39 year olds are saving at a level that is below the company match threshold.

Leaving matching contributions on the table can cost young workers a significant amount of long-term savings, but benefit advisers can approach employers with several tools that have proven successful at engaging employees.

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Financial Wellness Commitment Pays Dividends

November 24, 2014

Financial Wellness

Dan Cook

fin1-300x168.jpgFinancial wellness programs are starting to get more attention from carriers and benefits designers, as studies continue to support their inclusion in a strong benefits package.

Now, a report released by the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans offers evidence that companies that offer such help to employees are reaping the rewards.

The study, “A Closer Look: What’s Working in Workplace Financial Education,” found that employees who’ve participated in a financial wellness program feel better about their financial situation and worry less about retirement.

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FinFit Offers a Solution to High Deductible Health Care Plans

November 20, 2014

health, benefits

admin

FinFitLogoAre you interested in or currently offering a high deductible health care plan? If so, FinFit can solve challenges related to high deductibles affecting your employees.

FinFit now provides employers a resource that can offer assistance when it’s needed most, eliminating some of the distress that comes with unexpected challenges and creating a more stable workforce. FinFit’s Health Finance Program delivers a safety net for your employees at an extremely affordable rate.

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Aon Hewitt Shows Upward Trend in U.S. Health Care Cost Increases

November 20, 2014

health

admin

Aon Corporation (http://www.aon.com) is a leading provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, human capital and management consulting, and specialty insurance underwriting. There are 37,000 employees working in Aon's 500 offices in more than 120 countries. Backed by broad resources, industry knowledge and technical expertise, Aon professionals help a wide range of clients develop effective risk management and workforce productivity solutions.LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill., Nov. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2014, U.S. companies and their employees saw a slight uptick in the rate of U.S. health care cost increases, according to an analysis by Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON).

After plan design changes and vendor negotiations, the average health care premium rate increase for mid-size and large companies in 2014 was 4.4 percent, up from 3.3 percent in 2013. In 2015, Aon Hewitt projects average health care premium increases will be 5.5 percent after plan design changes and vendor negotiations.

Aon Hewitt's analysis showed the average health care cost per employee in 2014 was$10,717, up from $10,266 in 2013. The portion of the total health care premium that employees were asked to contribute toward this premium cost was $2,487 in 2014, compared to $2,355in 2013. Meanwhile, average employee out-of-pocket costs, such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles, increased from$2,005 in 2013 to $2,295 in 2014.

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7 Tips to Keep You On-Budget This Holiday Season

November 19, 2014

budget

Paula Plant

budget.jpgIt's that time of year again. Stores are running festive commercials, your local coffee shop is offering gingerbread lattes, and you're beginning to worry about how you're going to afford another round of "the most wonderful time of the year."

There's no doubt about it; the holidays are expensive. From gift-giving to party-throwing, the holidays can be overwhelming if you're on a tight budget.

Let's take some of the stress off your shoulders with some short-term tips for reducing the damage to your budget if you haven't pre-planned for the holidays this year -- and then outline a long-term strategy you can use to budget for the holidays next year so that next winter runs a lot more smoothly. 

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Retirement Planning for a Longer Life

November 19, 2014

retirement

Robert Powell

40521340_s.jpgIt's hard enough planning for retirement, and now we have to add another two years of life to our calculations.

You read right: The average U.S. 65-year-old man is now expected to live to 86.6 years, up from 84.6 in 2000, according to new mortality estimates released by the Society of Actuaries, a professional organization for actuaries based in Schaumburg, Ill. And the average 65-year-old U.S. woman is expected to live 88.8 years, up from 86.4 in 2000.

So, instead of saving for enough to last 19.6 years of retirement, you now have to build a nest large enough to last at least 21.6 years.. That might not seem like a lot, but it could mean having to save upwards of $100,000 more on top of what you're already socking away.

Given the revised life-expectancy estimates, we asked several experts the following questions.

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Employers Fight Stress Through Financial Education

14309969_m.jpgEmployees provided with financial education programs are less stressed, more prepared for retirement, and have better understanding of their finances, according to a report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. ---

Of the 397 organizations surveyed for the foundation's new report, “A Closer Look: What’s Working in Workplace Financial Education,” 270 say they offer financial education programs to employees. Of those offering financial education, one-third report their workforce is somewhat or very highly stressed about financial issues, compared with 43% of those that do not offer financial education. More than two-thirds of employers currently offering financial education state their initiatives are somewhat to very successful for their employees.

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