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November 3, 2023

Employer Benefits & Open Enrollment

Financial Planning Committee

Employer benefits play a pivotal role in the overall job satisfaction and well-being of employees. These offerings, ranging from healthcare plans to retirement contributions, are a fundamental component of a comprehensive compensation package. To ensure that you make the most of these benefits, the process of open enrollment requires careful consideration and strategic planning. Let’s explore some key strategies for a successful open enrollment season:

Retirement Plans

  • Ensure you are contributing enough to your 401(k) to receive the full employer match. If available, opt for automatic contribution increases, which can help you steadily increase your retirement savings over time without requiring constant adjustments.
  • Contribution limits are projected to increase again in 2024 (to a maximum of $23,000 if under age 50 and $30,500 if you are age 50 and older), review your contributions to ensure you will maximize contributions in 2024.
  • Decide whether to contribute to a Roth 401(k), Traditional 401(k), or a combination based on your current and future tax situation and retirement goals.
  • If you’re changing jobs or have recently changed employers, explore options for rolling over your old retirement accounts into your current plan or an IRA to consolidate and manage your investments more effectively.
  • Review and update beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts to ensure they are current.
  • If you are managing the 401(k) investments yourself, open enrollment is a great time to confirm your investment allocation to ensure it is still appropriate and helps you work towards your retirement goals.
  • Does your employer offer other optional retirement plans beyond a 401(k) like an ESOP or Deferred Compensation Plan? If yes, confirm if your employer contributes to those plans as well, and ensure you contribute enough to these plans to receive the full match amount.

Insurance Benefits

  • Review available health insurance plans and their coverage details to understand the total estimated cost you will pay out-of-pocket based on premium, deductible, and co-insurance amounts. Consider your anticipated medical needs, including prescriptions, and choose a plan that aligns with your requirements.
  • If enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan, consider contributing to a Health Savings Account (HSA) for tax benefits and future healthcare expenses. Remember that HSAs can maintain and accumulate a balance over time.
  • For 2024, HSA contribution limits are scheduled to increase to $8,300 for family coverage and $4,150 for individuals. Those 55 and older can contribute an additional $1,000 as a catch-up contribution. If your employer matches contributions to this plan, it is important to ensure you are contributing enough to at least receive the full match amount.
  • If enrolled in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), set contribution amounts based on expected expenses, taking advantage of pre-tax savings. Remember, FSA plans must be used within the plan year.
  • If offered, consider dental and vision insurance options. Consider your regular check-up and eyecare needs when choosing coverage.
  • Consider taking advantage of any wellness programs or incentives offered by your employer to maintain or improve your health.

Life, Disability, and Long-Term Care

  • Life Insurance: Review employer-provided life insurance coverage and consider if it meets your family’s financial needs and obligations. If you have family members or others who rely on your income, consider if you need to obtain supplemental life insurance coverage.
  • Disability Income Insurance: Assess short-term and long-term disability coverage to protect your income in case of illness or injury. We recommend having at least 60 to 65% of income protection for long-term disability insurance. Consider the waiting period (elimination period) before benefits kick in and choose a duration that aligns with your savings and sick leave.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Determine if your employer offers long-term care insurance. If yes, what is the cost to obtain this coverage, and do they offer this coverage to your spouse as well?

Miscellaneous

  • The Secure Act 2.0 originally stated that starting in 2024, if you have a Modified Adjusted Gross Income of $145,000+, catch-up contributions to employer-sponsored retirement accounts would need to be made with Roth dollars. That means that tax-deferred catch-up contributions (for those age 50 or older) would no longer be allowed for these high earners. In August 2023, the IRS announced that it was pushing back that provision until 2026.
  • Some employers offer a legal services stipend or online resources; this can be a great way to establish a simple trust, will, Power of Attorney, or Health Care Directive if it is available to you.
  • If you are planning to do some additional education this next year, confirm if your employer offers a financial planning benefit stipend.
  • We recommend using this time to evaluate your tax withholding year-to-date on a recent paycheck. If you believe you will be under-withheld for the 2023 tax year, work with your Human Resources department to update your withholding elections to avoid an underpayment penalty for the current tax year.

If you have any inquiries or require further guidance on these open enrollment reminders, please feel free to get in touch with your JNBA Advisory Team.

JNBA is neither an insurance agent nor an accountant and no portion of the above should be construed as insurance or accounting advice. All insurance and accounting issues should be addressed with the insurance and accounting professional of your choosing. JNBA nor its employees sell insurance products.

Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, some of the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from JNBA Financial Advisors.

Please see important disclosure information at jnba.com/disclosure

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