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An explosion in employee benefits – InsuranceNewsNet

Here are a few other innovative offerings — estate and funeral service planning services, identity theft insurance, group auto and homeowners insurance, and travel planning services. It seems the list could be endless, as employers work to attract and retain important and much-needed employees.

For many years, (in the “old days”), we expected that the package of employee benefits in larger employers would include health care; a retirement or profit sharing plan, hopefully with an employer match; paid sick and vacation days, and perhaps even a defined benefit pension plan. In some cases the package might also include group life insurance, parking where there was no free parking provided, and some tuition assistance.

Somewhat recently, we have seen packages expand to include benefits such as assistance with student loan debt, maternity and paternity leave, assistance with transportation costs, and gym memberships.

That said, I recently read a piece in the Rochester Business Journalwhich confirmed what we have previously noted in this column, which is that in a recent Laurel Road survey, 72% of Americans under the age of 40 said that managing their finances is a strain on their mental health. Moreover, 79% of that group indicated that they would feel less stressed if they were further educated on topics such as student loan repayment, debt repayment, understanding investment options, and smart money management. Then the piece went on to suggest the opportunity for employers to add financial wellness to their employee benefits offerings, and noted that there are resources out there to accomplish this. They include the [email protected] program offered by key bank. It offers educational sessions, a complimentary financial wellness review, and digital tools and resources.

For me, this is an important employee benefit that I hope more employers will offer, and more employees will take advantage of. On this subject, in my financial literacy CARE presentations, I always tell students to never stop learning and thinking about your personal finances, and I suggest that, if they haven’t already done so, they take a personal finance class in high school or college. Also, that they take advantage of any financial education programs or lectures that their future employer or their church may offer. I started talking about employer offerings after—in my early days of financial education, when the Democrat and Chronicle was frequently covering my efforts—I was invited to speak to a number of groups of D&C employees.

As for the explosion in the offerings in employee benefits, I did a little research and found benefits such as mental health wellness programs, a certain number of days of paid emergency child care, pet insurance plans, and my personal favorite — FURTERNITY LEAVE. Yes, a few days off to bond with that new four-legged pet, to take it to the Vet, or for times of bereavement.

Here are a few other innovative offerings — estate and funeral service planning services, identity theft insurance, group auto and homeowners insurance, and travel planning services. It seems the list could be endless, as employers work to attract and retain important and much-needed employees.

On another important subject, so much of the financial advice that you hear today in the media focuses on paying down revolving debt, like credit card debt, as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates, which for many Americans means that the interest rates on their credit cards will also increase.

That said, it’s time to revisit how to do that. First, it takes a firm commitment to do whatever it takes to pay down that debt, and then you need a realistic plan that you can stick to. To begin with, as you put your plan together, it is critical that you commit to not increasing any unpaid balances, which means you need to have adequate saving for emergencies and known anticipated expenses for the next year. It also means that you need to have a spending budget that will enable you to avoid any impulse buying, have a specified amount of money to implement your debt pay-down plan, but, also, have money to be able to reasonably enjoy your life and the fruits of your hard work, so that you don’t become discouraged.

If you have only one credit card, pay that specified budgeted amount every month. Of course, it needs to be more than just the minimum payment.

If you have more than one credit card, you need to choose one of two methods. They have been called different things over the years, but a recent article in the Rochester Business Journal referred to them as the “Snowball” and the “Avalanche” methods. In either method, you need to pay at least the minimum payment on each credit card.

Then, the Snowball Method focuses on paying down the card with the smallest balance, until all the cards are paid off. The benefit is that you will feel an earlier sense of accomplishment as you pay off each debt, giving you the momentum to continue. The drawback on this method is that it ignores interest rates, so it may mean that it will take you longer to pay off all your credit cards, and it may mean that you will ultimately pay more.

On the other hand, the Avalanche Method focuses on paying off the credit card with the highest interest rate first, until all the credit cards are paid off.

Whichever method you choose, which will depend in large part on you truly knowing yourself and being honest with yourself, embarking on the pay-off debt journey will be personally and financially rewarding.

On a final note, but a subject we frequently visit, even though so much of the economic news is bad news, it is a teachable moment for young children. Even if your family is experiencing some financial stress and strain, now is the time to show your young children how you are going to deal with and overcome these hard times. Show them the different spending choices you may be making, explain the need to save more for times like this, show them in the stores how prices have increased and often how sizes have decreased. Check out mint.intuit.com for some helpful websites, and check out books on Amazon to help you teach children about finances.

John Nympho is a retired bankruptcy judge and the founder of the National CARE Financial Literacy Program.

Here are a few other innovative offerings — estate and funeral service planning services, identity theft insurance, group auto and homeowners insurance, and travel planning services. It seems the list could be endless, as employers work to attract and retain important and much-needed employees.

John Nympho

Personal Finance

Messenger Post Media

USES TODAY NETWORK- ATLANTIC

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