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It's that time of year--don't miss it!

It's that time of year--don't miss it!

| October 10, 2019

The weather is cooling off, the leaves are starting to change colors, pumpkin spice flavoring is everywhere, college football is in full swing—it must be—open enrollment season!

Yes, that’s right—a dull yet essential annual task. If you are fortunate enough to work for a company offering benefits, it is usually the time of year to review options for the upcoming year.

I’ve found, through both personal experience and working with families, it’s vital to review your choices.  Here is a rundown of what to consider:

  • Retirement savings:
    • How much are you adding to the 401(k) or 403(b)?
    • Can you increase it? The maximum contribution amount is $19,000 for 2019
    • Does your company offer a Roth 401(k) and is it worth contributing to it?
    • What is the company match?
  • Flexible Spending Account
    • You can set aside $2,700 for 2019 before income taxes to be spent on out of pocket health care costs. You are usually provide with a debit card to access the funds or a reimbursement process (make sure you save those receipts)
    • If you don’t use it throughout the year, you will lose the money left in the account. We usually err on the side of being conservative and don’t put max it out--though, with a family of five, we always have out of pocket medical costs
  • Health Savings Account
    • If you have a high deductible health insurance plan, then you can set aside money on a pre-tax basis for out of pocket medical expenses.
    • In 2019 the maximum contribution levels are $3,500 for an individual and $7,000 for family coverage
    • Funds can roll over into the next year if you don’t use them, so I encourage people to put as much as they can into their HSA
  • Dependent Care Account
    • Childcare and summer camps are expensive! If these items are in your budget, use the Dependent Care Account to set aside up to $5,000 in pre-tax dollars.
    • Adding the maximum annual amount is an easy decision for our family each year
  • Health, Vision, Dental Insurance
    • New deductible? Changes in coverage?
      • Details worth spending a few minutes reviewing, you don’t want to be surprised once the new benefit year starts
      • For example, we can only change our dental plan every two years, we have lots of little teeth falling out, growing in, needing x-rays and fluoride treatments. We missed the cycle to upgrade our dental insurance several years ago and spent two years grinding our teeth with high out of pocket costs.
  • Life Insurance
    • Do you have the enough coverage? A policy with your employer can be an easy and inexpensive way to add coverage to protect family members dependent on your income
  • Disability Insurance
    • I know, another exciting topic. Your employer group plan is usually worth looking at—have you thought about what would happen to you if you can’t work?
  • Your employer may offer other benefits such as adoption assistance, a charitable giving match, paid time off to care for a family member, a discount on purchasing company stock, access to pet insurance, tuition reimbursement, discounted gym memberships, paid time off to volunteer, smoking cessation classes—you won’t know unless you read about it!


Please take 30 minutes this open enrollment season to look closely at all your options; it could leave money in your pocket to do something more exciting!

As each of you know, I am here, ready and able to dive into “open enrollment” questions with you so we can make smart decisions to save your family money.