These are trying times. Despite the strains of pandemic, home schooling, work furloughs, and entire families sitting at dining room tables on laptops… there are still BIG decisions and “leaps of faith” to be made. Namely,
- Annual Healthcare Enrollment (deadlines looming)
- 401k contributions by year-end amidst a year of zany cash flows
- Kids’ high school enrollments (these have changed for lots of people)
- College semester enrollment and tuition payments
- Home improvements like, “Do I add a home office?”… and more.
- Don’t even get me started on – “Do I know who my beneficiaries are?” or “When do I start taking Social Security?”
This is nuts!
Here is an opportunity before year-end to take a deep breath…. Ahhhhhhhhh…. and observe if you’ve got these things covered, or if you need to reach out for a bit of advice. The best action that can happen is to go and find an expert or two who can assist in taking this key time between now and year-end (or end of November for most Annual Healthcare Enrollment deadlines) to assist in making choices.
For the youngest workers:
- Yes, it is time to move off of Mom and Dad’s healthcare plans.
- Understand employer-provided healthcare premiums and coverage.
- Enroll in your company 401k plan for AT LEAST 10% of your salary.
For middle-aged workers (define yourself in this category):
- Choose the best healthcare option for you –
- Regular, or
- High Deductible Health Plan/HDHP (otherwise known as lower premium health plan with Health Savings Account/HSA)
- Hint: strongly consider the HSA choice
- Know your tax bracket and your cash flows.
- Decide (or decide to change) your 401k deferral –
- Pre-tax or Roth After-Tax
- Understand college savings strategies for now or your future kids
- Research Term and Whole Life insurance to make the best choice for you.
For those Approaching Retirement (early 60’s):
- Know your healthcare costs and needs
- Understand the HDHP and HSA options (same Hint as above)
- Know your expenses
- Know your tax bracket
- Know how much pre-tax and Roth retirement monies you have
- Get advice on Social Security claiming strategies
- Maintain adequate insurance coverage for your future protection.
ALL of these topics may require a leap of faith. Each year that passes for a single person or married-with-kids couple requires a new set of spending decisions and future tax consequences. There is far more at stake in 2020 with healthcare costs on the rise and company personnel decisions as unpredictable as ever.
Take the time to become informed in order to make proper leaps of faith where needed or to stay put where necessary. There is still ample time until year-end. Use this time wisely. And ask me questions.