For your workers to enjoy the full financial benefits from their 401(k) plans, experts recommend that employee education sessions make sure that participants:
- Contribute enough to receive the maximum match. One expert estimates that at least one in three employees don’t make the maximum contribution, which means they’re leaving free money on the table.
- Avoid account trading. Because it’s all too easy for plan participants to panic at market bottoms and be over-confident at tops, advise them not to open their account statements during these periods.
- Diversify. Concentrating account balances in one or a few funds that employees feel will perform well or are safe means making a risky bet on only one economic scenario.
- Keep their money in the plan. Employees who take out loans on their funds, make withdrawals or cash out a 401(k) when they change jobs will have to pay taxes and penalties that reduce plan payout by almost 50%, which will make it impossible to save enough for retirement.
- Keep saving. Workers stop saving for a number of reasons. The equity market falls, their spouse loses a job, they want to save outside the plan for a home, car, boat, marriage, etc. It’s far better to lower their contribution if necessary, without going to 0%. Remember, employees need to average 15% in savings over an entire career to retire at their current standard of living.
- Focus on the bottom line. The most important factor in a 401(k) is not the allocation of assets, market timing, or investment performance, although these are important. It’s how much the employee saves!
Make sure that you follow these guidelines in retirement planning education for your employees. They’ll be grateful for your encouragement and support.
Before winter weather hits, you need to tune up your car. Follow this checklist as you prepare your vehicle to navigate cold temperatures and winter weather safely.
As the heart of your vehicle, the engine must be in good working order. Inspect it thoroughly and repair any faulty wiring or replace the spark plugs if necessary. Also, visually inspect the belts on both sides and make sure they’re not cracked, frayed or glazed. Inspect the hoses and tem if you see cracks or other wear, too.
Protect your vehicle from overheating when you maintain the radiator. Flush the entire system if it hasn’t been done in the past two years, and repair any leaks before adding fresh antifreeze.
Maintain power all season when you check your battery and its connections. Ensure the battery is free from corrosion and securely attached to the vehicle. Replace it if it’s older than seven years.
Your vehicle can’t operate properly without oil or if the oil system is dirty. Clean or replace the filter and change the oil now.
Not only do filters remove dirt and assist your vehicle in operating properly, but they can improve your gas mileage. This fall, replace your car’s oil, transmission and air filters.
Maintain control of your vehicle at all times thanks to power steering. If your vehicle is handling rough or groaning, repair this essential system.
Worn brakes reduce your ability to stop on slippery roads. Ask your mechanic to inspect the brakes and replace them if they’re worn or uneven.
Properly aligned tires with the correct pressure and adequate tread provide the traction you need. Take time now to inspect your tires. Rotate, replace or inflate them as needed.
Visibility is required for safe winter driving. Change the windshield wipers so that they make full contact with the windshield. Fill the washer fluid, too.
A safe exhaust system prevents dangerous carbon monoxide emissions. Repair any muffler or tail pipe system leaks.
Rust spots grow over time, especially when exposed to wet winter elements. Repair any rust spots as you protect your vehicle.
Taking care of your vehicle now ensures it’s protected all season. In addition to following this winter tune-up checklist, talk to your insurance agent. Ensure your auto coverage is adequate as you prepare for winder driving.
As you get ready to bundle up for winter, consider prepping your home, too. Several tips ensure it is protected and comfortable all season.
Inspect and Clean the Chimney
Whether you have a fireplace or wood stove, the chimney needs to be professionally cleaned and inspected. Remove any debris or creosote buildup, and repair any cracks or chips before you start your first fire of the season.
Change the Furnace Filter
Dust and other debris can compromise your furnace filter’s ability to do its job. Improve your furnace’s functionality and longevity when you change the filter this fall.
Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are essential in your home year round but especially during the winter months. Install these detectors on each floor, and test them at least once a month.
Repair the Roof
By repairing roof leaks and loose shingles now, you prevent damaging leaks and expensive emergency repairs.
High winds can blow tree branches into your home and cause extensive damage. Trim branches now as you protect your home.
An extra layer of insulation goes a long way towards keeping your home cozy. Consider insulating the hot water tank and water lines along your home’s exterior walls. You can also insulate the attic, basement, exterior walls, crawlspaces and outlets as you prepare your house for winter weather.
Apply Weatherproofing Materials
Windows and doors can be a major source of drafts and lost heat. Apply caulk or weather-stripping material to improve your comfort and reduce heating expenses. For even bigger savings, install insulated doors and thermal-pane or storm windows.
Stock an Emergency Kit
Power outages are common when heavy storms hit your area. Be prepared with an emergency kit. It can include items like extra non-perishable food, a manual can opener, bottled water, first aid kit, battery-powered radio, blankets, flashlight, batteries, hand sanitizer, portable toilet and activities.
Preparing your home for winter protects your investment. In addition to implementing these tips, ensure your home insurance is adequate. Then sit back and enjoy the season in comfort.
The holiday season is here, and it’s time to celebrate. As you prepare your home, follow several safety tips that help your holiday season be merry and bright.
Miniature houses, ceramic reindeer and scented candles add a festive dimension to your home during the holiday season. Be sure to keep fragile items away from the edge of tables or mantles and out of small children’s reaches. Extinguish any candles before bedtime or leaving the house, too.
A traditional symbol of the holiday, your Christmas tree looks pretty as its light twinkle. Keep your family safe when you secure the tree into a sturdy stand. Water your real tree regularly or choose a fire-resistant artificial tree to prevent a fire. If you use lights, don’t use frayed strands, hide the light power chord under a rug to reduce the tripping hazard and unplug the lights before you leave the house or go to bed. Remember to hang ornaments out of reach or place a baby gate around the tree, too, to protect children and pets.
Share joy this holiday season when you give gifts to your loved ones. Remember to keep all gift wrapping supplies away from pets that may eat shiny ribbons and get sick. Also, purchase adequate insurance for jewelry, art and other expensive gifts. To prevent thieves from stealing your holiday joy, hide gifts until Christmas morning, secure your house with a security system and keep the windows and doors locked.
Whether you go all out when decorating your house and lawn or simply hang a wreath on the door, follow outdoor decoration safety. Always use a ladder to hang lights on your house. Don’t overload electrical outlets, either. As a rule, connect only three outdoor extension cords together in one strand.
Welcoming visitors is part of the season’s fun. Clear the walkways of ice and debris before guests arrive. Consider installing extra lighting, too, to prevent falls and trips. When preparing food, follow food safety guidelines. Store fresh foods at the correct temperature, cook foods thoroughly and place leftovers promptly into the fridge.
The holiday season is a joyous time of celebration. Follow these safety tips as you decorate your home and welcome guests. Contact your insurance agent, too, to update your home insurance policy and insure all your gifts.
Demographic changes in today’s workplace are impacting the way risk managers handle lost Productivity, the cost of wage replacement, and skyrocketing workers comp premiums that are created by the health problems their employees face. Chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, back problems, respiratory disease, and diabetes are far more prevalent among workers aged 55 and above. These workers account for an ever-greater share of the labor force, than among younger employees.
Employers who promote healthy life style choices offer an effective way to reduce health related costs. Experts recommend taking these steps:
- Encourage workers to educate themselves about their health problems.
- Offer health risk appraisals to employees.
- Introduce disease management programs to promote healthy behavior.
- Make healthy food options available.
- Encourage exercise.
- Discourage unhealthy habits. For example, make the workplace tobacco free.
- If you have a fairly large workforce, provide on-site medical facilities.
- Use employee assistance programs (EAPs) to help with family and home issues that often emerge when managing long term chronic conditions.
- Create mobility throughout the day. Being sedentary or standing for long periods can create problems for employee with health conditions.
- Conduct periodic ergonomic assessments.
- Encourage breaks in concentration and focus by dividing tasks into shorter cognitive units.
- Establish a safety committee that recognizes and rewards valuable safety suggestions.
- Build in accountability for the workplace health and safety committee at the supervisory level.
Of course, these guidelines apply equally to all of your employees.
To learn more, feel free to give a call.
Most employers have to carry unemployment insurance on their employees. Do you really understand, though, when you can use your unemployment insurance benefits? Knowing the answer to this question can help you make important decisions about using this coverage.
What is Unemployment Insurance?
Unemployment Insurance is designed to help you cover expenses when you’re between jobs. It usually gives you a percentage of your working wages rather than a full paycheck.
Unemployment laws also vary by state. Although they follow guidelines from the federal government, each state’s Department of Labor determines how much coverage workers get when they file for unemployment.
Who’s Eligible to Collect Unemployment Benefits?
If you’ve been laid off or fired and are not at fault, you may qualify for unemployment. You will generally be disqualified from receiving unemployment, though, if you:
*Quit without having a good cause,
*Are fired for misconduct,
*Resign because of illness,
*Become involved in a labor dispute or
*Leave to get married or attend school.
What are Unemployment Insurance Limits?
Most states allow you to receive unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. In cases, you may be eligible for extensions based on federal guidelines or your state’s unemployment rates.
When Should You File?
As soon as you’re laid off or let go from your job, file for unemployment. It often takes two to three weeks for benefits to start, so a delay in filing means a delay in receiving benefits.
Also, realize that unemployment is not a free ride. While you can use the money to pay any expenses, you typically have to prove that you’re looking for employment to receive ongoing benefits. You’ll also have to report any hours you worked.
Unemployment insurance gives you some financial assistance if you lose your job.
Don’t quit and expect to be compensated, though. Discuss this coverage with your employer, insurance company or Department of Labor if you need further clarification.