benefits http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/2730/all en-US 5 Great Retail Jobs for Working Parents http://www.wisebread.com/5-great-retail-jobs-for-working-parents <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-great-retail-jobs-for-working-parents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-458589277.jpg" alt="Costco is a good place for parents to work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>'Tis the season, as in, the 4th quarter of the calendar year! That magical time when seasonal retail employees are needed the most, and hired en masse to meet the demand from Black Friday through January. If you have kids, try these five great retail gigs for working parents.</p> <h2>1. Patagonia</h2> <p>The best retailer for working parents could very well be Patagonia, the clothing and gear brand beloved by trekkers and puffy-vest fans everywhere. Why? They have <a href="http://time.com/money/4546719/patagonia-onsite-child-care/">free on-site child care</a> for employees. You read that right! This also means that 100% of employees return to their post after their maternity leave.</p> <p>So how do you climb your way into that gig? Well, it's not so much a seasonal gig as it is a job in their headquarters, which is in Ventura, CA. Not such a bad relocation, though.</p> <h2>2. Lands' End</h2> <p>In similar step with Patagonia, another purveyor of outdoorsy goods Lands' End also provides lots of benefits to workers. In addition to many citing its company culture as safe, fair, and open, they also boast some competitive benefits, including: <a href="http://www.landsend.com/jobs/life-at-lands-end/real-benefits/">health insurance</a>, 401K, subsidized on-site food services, a wellness center &ndash;&ndash; all great benefits for parents. Time to apply for a position now!</p> <h2>3. Wegmans</h2> <p>That's right, the supermarket chain known across the East Coast for great food and service is also a great employer. Wegmans is number four on the <a href="http://fortune.com/best-companies/wegmans-food-markets-4/">Best Companies to Work For list in 2016</a>. </p> <p>Why are they so great? Wegmans covers 85%-100% of employees' and their dependents health insurance. Many employees are even offered dental insurance. Plus, if you're a college student, they help <a href="https://jobs.wegmans.com/benefits">pay your tuition</a>. If you live in the Northeast and are looking for a job, this would be a good one. Plus, they make really delicious doughnuts.</p> <h2>4. Staples</h2> <p>Need a chain store with more locations, and most likely to be near your home? Staples is a very good option. </p> <p>Staples employees get an Aetna <a href="http://www.stapleslivewell.com/SitePages/Welcome.aspx">health insurance plan</a> for a deduction of $30 per paycheck, or $60 for those with dependents. Workers also get short-term disability insurance, and access to a service that can pair them with financial services and child care. Not too shabby!</p> <h2>5. Costco</h2> <p>If it wasn't already hard to avoid spending money at Costco, everyone's favorite bulk-everything retailer is also famously good to its employees. <a href="https://www.costcobenefits.com/">Employee perks</a> for America's second-largest retailer include: choosing your own health plan if you work over 24 hours per week, a 401K plan, an FSA account to use <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care">pretax income for child care</a>, and an employee care program that includes access to mental health, and financial professionals.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-great-retail-jobs-for-working-parents">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-a-living-in-the-gig-economy">Can You Really Make a Living in the Gig Economy?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-side-jobs-for-people-who-are-good-with-money">6 Side Jobs for People Who Are Good With Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads">5 Financial Reasons Paid Parental Leave Is Essential for Moms and Dads</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-retail-gigs-that-pay-well-and-offer-benefits">11 Retail Gigs That Pay Well and Offer Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-part-time-jobs-to-do-while-your-kids-are-at-school">17 Part-Time Jobs to Do While Your Kids Are at School</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Family Job Hunting benefits employers insurance part-time job retail retail job side gig side jobs working parent Thu, 01 Dec 2016 11:30:11 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1844262 at http://www.wisebread.com Get Your Money Sooner by Starting 2016 Tax Prep Now http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-money-sooner-by-starting-2016-tax-prep-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-your-money-sooner-by-starting-2016-tax-prep-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_work_clock_485696494.jpg" alt="Woman getting money sooner by starting tax prep" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Good news, U.S. taxpayers!</p> <p>In 2017, Tax Day is pushed back to Tuesday April 18th, because April 15th falls on a Saturday and the Emancipation Day holiday (anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act by President Abraham Lincoln) is pushed to Monday April 17th. Residents of Maine and Massachusetts get an extra day to file federal taxes because Patriots Day falls on April 18th, 2017.</p> <p>However, getting a head start on your return is a better strategy than waiting until April 18th or 19th, depending on your state of residence. From increasing the take-home from your remaining paychecks for the year to making the most out of a bonus check in the first few weeks of 2017, let's review five reasons why it pays off to prep for the 2016 tax season now.</p> <h2>1. Avoid Withholding More Than You Need To</h2> <p>Nearly eight out of 10 U.S. tax filers <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/01/13/pf/taxes/taxpayer-refunds/">get tax refunds</a>. This isn't good for two reasons. First, those individuals have to get throughout the year with fewer dollars. The average <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/filing-season-statistics-for-week-ending-oct-21-2016">refund for the 2016 tax season</a> was $2,777, or roughly $230 per month. Wouldn't an extra $230 per month for a full year provide more breathing room in your budget and help you pay down high-interest debt faster? Second, the IRS pays you no interest on the refund from your current year. Now, that's a double whammy.</p> <p>To find out whether or not you have already withheld enough for this tax season, use the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator">IRS Withholding Calculator</a> and find out how to adjust your Form W-4. Chances are that you will be able to take home more money from your last paychecks from 2016 and avoid having to put those holiday purchases on credit.</p> <h2>2. Spread Out Tax Liability</h2> <p>Of course, using the IRS Withholding Calculator may reveal that you're behind your estimated tax liability. In that case, finding out earlier allows you to take several steps to avoid a huge lump-sum payment next year. Here is your game plan:</p> <ul> <li>Adjust your filing status, number of allowances, and number of dependents on Form W-4 according to the instructions from the IRS Withhold Calculator to increase withholding on the next few paychecks;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Input an additional amount, if any, you want withheld from each paycheck on line six of Form W-4; or<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Submit an additional estimated tax payment with the fourth voucher from <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040es.pdf">Form 1040-ES</a> due on January 17, 2017.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Boost Retirement Account Contributions</h2> <p>In 2016, you can contribute up to $18,000 ($24,000 when age 50 and over) to your 401K and up to $5,500 ($6,500 when age 50 and over) to your IRA. The catch is that all of your contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement account must be turned by your last paycheck. Even though you can technically submit contributions to your employer-sponsored retirement account until December 31, 2016, your last paycheck may fall on, let's say, December 23rd.</p> <p>If you know that you still have a lot of room before you hit the maximum contribution limit for your 401K, you're in time to increase the contribution percentage from your paycheck for the remainder of the year. Act fast because some employers may make changes effective anywhere from one to four weeks.</p> <p>In the event that you don't have a retirement account, find out whether or not you're eligible to set one up by December 31, 2016. As long as you set up your 401K or IRA by this date, any contributions to your retirement account that your employer makes through a commission check or bonus next year before Tax Day or the day that you file your return, whichever is earlier, reduce your taxable income for 2016! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-things-to-do-with-your-bonus?ref=seealso">6 Smart Things to Do With Your Bonus</a>)</p> <h2>4. Get Your Refund Faster</h2> <p>The IRS issues tax refunds generally in <a href="https://www.irs.gov/refunds/tax-season-refund-frequently-asked-questions">less than 21 calendar days</a>. By submitting your tax return earlier, you're increasing your chances of getting your return processed faster. By February 5, 2016, the IRS had received 26,670,000 returns and processed 26,133,000 of those returns. That's a 97.98% processing rate &mdash; not too bad. Fast forward to April 22, 2016, the number of returns received by the IRS ballooned to 136,528,000 and the processing rate drops by 3%. The early (tax) bird gets the worm (faster).</p> <p>Completing your federal return early also helps you get your state refund faster. Remember that this year many states increased the required processing time due to new tax fraud prevention procedures. For example, the Hawaii State Department of Taxation increased the processing window from six to eight weeks to <a href="http://khon2.com/2015/04/08/state-tax-refunds-delayed-further-by-new-fraud-prevention-procedures/">approximately 10 to 14 weeks</a>.</p> <p>To help increase the odds of a faster refund, opt to file your return electronically, whenever possible, and receive your refund via direct deposit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-return-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=seealso">8 Tax Return Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a>)</p> <h2>5. Prevent Tax Identity Theft</h2> <p>Last but not least, a key benefit of preparing and submitting your 2016 tax return early is that it prevents tax-related identity theft. Here's a sample. As of February 29, 2016, the IRS had identified <a href="https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2016reports/201640034fr.pdf">31,578 fraudulent tax returns</a> involving identity theft. Just six days later, the number of identified fraudulent tax returns increased by over 10,500!</p> <p>When it comes to filing your return, every single day counts. The longer you wait, the higher your chance in becoming the next victim of tax-related identity theft.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-money-sooner-by-starting-2016-tax-prep-now">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-three-tax-facts-to-know-for-2016">Top Three Tax Facts to Know for 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-tax-changes-for-2016">5 Important Tax Changes for 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-the-best-tax-preparer">How to Choose the Best Tax Preparer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/charitable-giving-get-a-receipt">Charitable giving - get a receipt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-so-fast-5-things-you-must-do-after-filing-taxes">Not So Fast! 5 Things You Must Do After Filing Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes benefits early filing identity theft IRS refunds tax day tax prep Tax Season taxpayers withholdings Wed, 30 Nov 2016 11:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1843962 at http://www.wisebread.com Stop Falling for These 6 Social Security Myths http://www.wisebread.com/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/social_security_card_76556001.jpg" alt="Learning to stop falling for social security myths" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over 166 million taxpayers pay into Social Security, which pays benefits to over 65 million Americans. As with any program as large and sprawling as Social Security, myths about how it works can run rampant &mdash; and since the facts tend to require more than a sound bite to explain, those myths become entrenched in our collective consciousness as fact.</p> <p>But not only are these Social Security myths untrue, believing them can cause you to make poor decisions about your Social Security benefits. Here are six of the most common and harmful myths about Social Security, debunked:</p> <h2>1. The Government Is Raiding the Social Security Trust Fund</h2> <p>You will often hear people complain about how untrustworthy our government is, and offer the fact that Congress &quot;raids&quot; the Social Security Trust Fund as proof. While it is true that the Trust Fund is where excess Social Security taxes are placed for future beneficiaries, and it is also true that the government uses money in this account to pay for government programs, it is simply not true that the fund is being &quot;raided.&quot;</p> <p>Here's what's going on. Money placed in the Social Security Trust Fund may sound like it is being put in a vault somewhere for the safekeeping of future beneficiaries. But that's not how money works. Not only would that be a security risk, but the money in such a vault would lose value to inflation. In order to maintain and increase the value of the trust fund, the money must be invested in government programs.</p> <p>Think of it this way: Any time you invest money commercially &mdash; whether by putting it in an interest-bearing bank account or by buying stocks or bonds &mdash; you are probably aware that the institution is immediately spending the money you have invested. The private institution spends your investment with the understanding that it will earn profits and be able to pay you back, with interest.</p> <p>The government is no different. It spends money invested in the Social Security Trust Fund on infrastructure, military spending, government salaries, welfare, and the like, knowing that those investments will earn interest. But unlike a private institution, this kind of government spending is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.</p> <p>The government's spending of money from the Social Security Trust Fund is just as valid a use of invested money as is the lending and spending that a bank or corporation does with investors' money.</p> <h2>2. Social Security Is Going Bankrupt</h2> <p>This myth is based on a kernel of truth &mdash; specifically, Social Security benefit payments exceed payroll tax revenues and have done so since 2010. In order to maintain promised benefits, Social Security has had to dip into the Social Security Trust Fund. As of 2013, the Trust Fund began losing value, and it will become entirely depleted by 2037.</p> <p>This is the point at which most analysis stops, and that is why you will often hear the myth that Social Security is circling the drain. But it is impossible for Social Security to go bankrupt, because it was always designed as an immediate transfer of funds from current workers to current beneficiaries. (When there were more workers than beneficiaries, excess taxes were placed in the Trust Fund. This was the case until 2009). The program does not count on a specific pool of money, but on the tax revenue of current workers.</p> <p>That being said, once the Trust Fund is depleted, tax revenue is only expected to pay for approximately 79% of promised benefits. This is the shortfall you will hear experts referring to when discussing the future of Social Security. But it does not spell the end of the program. It is just a shortfall that we need to find a way to make up.</p> <p>Social Security was created specifically so it could be changed and tweaked to meet the changing needs of Americans &mdash; changing needs like this anticipated shortfall. We might have little faith in Washington right now, but it is specifically the job of our government to make changes to Social Security to deal with this coming shortfall. Eventually, they'll get around to it.</p> <h2>3. It's the Baby Boomers' Fault We're in This Mess</h2> <p>There are plenty of articles out there that place the blame for Social Security's financial woes squarely at the feet of the baby boomer generation &mdash; the largest-ever generation of Americans, born between 1946 and 1964. There are 76 million baby boomers, and having that many people retire over a couple of decades places an enormous burden on Social Security. Since our system is based upon an immediate transfer from current workers to current retirees, having the boomers retire all at once puts too many retirees into the equation.</p> <p>But the boomers' retirement is hardly a surprise. They've been around for six or seven decades now, and we have seen this mass boomer retirement phase coming for many years. According to Virginia P. Reno and Joni Lavery in the Social Security brief <a href="https://www.nasi.org/usr_doc/SS_Brief_022.pdf">Can We Afford Social Security When Baby Boomers Retire?</a>, &quot;Policymakers began to plan as early as 1983, when Congress lowered the cost of Social Security benefits for boomers and later generations by raising the age at which unreduced retirement benefits will be paid.&quot;</p> <p>Believe it or not, our government has been trying for quite some time to prepare for this moment. Part of the reason we had such a surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund was because of our preparation for the mass retirement of the boomer generation. We are far better prepared for the boomers than many doomsayers might have you believe.</p> <h2>4. Waiting for Benefits Means You Risk Not Getting Your Fair Share</h2> <p>It is possible to take Social Security benefits as early as age 62, although your benefits will be permanently reduced by up to 25% to 30 percent by taking them early. Wait until your full retirement age (66 for individuals born between 1943 and 1954, rising to age 67 for anyone born in 1960 or later), and you will receive your full benefits. If you can wait until age 70, you will receive delayed retirement credit equal to approximately 8% per year between your full retirement age and 70.</p> <p>If you calculate the break-even analysis on your Social Security benefits, it often looks like you're better off by taking early benefits. Early, reduced benefits offer you more lifetime benefits for nearly 15 years into the break-even analysis.</p> <p>The problem with this thinking is that the only way for you to &quot;win&quot; these calculations is to die young. It would actually be far worse for you to take early benefits and then live a long life on a reduced income. It is much smarter to delay your benefits as long as possible to provide yourself with the largest benefit you can get.</p> <h2>5. Immigrants Are Taking Social Security Benefits They Didn't Pay For</h2> <p>This myth is an election year favorite, and it conflates Social Security benefits with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Social Security benefits are only available to beneficiaries who either paid into the system themselves, or who are the dependents of those who paid into the system. If you have not paid any Social Security payroll taxes (or you haven't been the dependent of someone who has), you are not getting Social Security benefits. Period.</p> <p>SSI, on the other hand, is a welfare program designed to provide aid to the elderly and disabled, and SSI benefits are paid through general governmental revenues. Immigrants are eligible to collect SSI benefits, but only if they show the same level of extreme need as any other SSI beneficiary.</p> <h2>6. Privatizing Social Security Would Make the System Fairer</h2> <p>The possibility of privatizing Social Security is a common suggestion for fixing many of the problems inherent in such a large government program. These suggestions often promise that privatization will be cheaper for the government, more lucrative for beneficiaries, and fairer for everyone since you will get out what you put in.</p> <p>Unfortunately, none of those three promises would be true. Social Security is a very efficiently run program, with administrative expenses totaling less than 1% of the program's budget. But creating and maintaining individual investment accounts would be incredibly expensive, since it would incur broker commission fees and/or mutual fund management fees, which would either come from the program budget or individual investors.</p> <p>In addition, it is unlikely that the majority of beneficiaries would be able to improve upon their Social Security &quot;return on investment&quot; through investment accounts, since humans are notoriously irrational investors. Social Security benefits are guaranteed, while investment returns are not.</p> <p>Finally, attempting to create pay-for-what-you-get fairness in a social insurance program like Social Security is a non-starter. The intention of Social Security is to provide guaranteed income to the elderly, the disabled, and their families, by spreading the cost of that income over all of society. Strict fairness in such a system would leave our most vulnerable citizens in abject poverty or worse. It's also important to note that the transition costs of privatizing Social Security have been estimated at nearly <a href="http://www.ncpssm.org/Document/ArticleID/14">$5 trillion over the first two decades</a>. Those costs would need to be paid by current workers, who would potentially be paying into their privatized accounts and still be paying taxes that go toward current beneficiaries &mdash; which would feel incredibly unfair.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-for-retirement-when-you-re-ready-to-retire">How to Plan for Retirement When You’re Ready to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tiny-nestegg-retire-abroad">Tiny Nestegg? Retire abroad!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-now-that-youll-regret-when-you-retire">5 Financial Moves Now That You&#039;ll Regret When You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Retirement baby boomers benefits Congress full retirement age government immigrants myths privatized social security ssi Mon, 07 Nov 2016 10:30:29 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1827091 at http://www.wisebread.com New Job? Don't Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Benefits http://www.wisebread.com/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shaking_hands_77096849.jpg" alt="Woman making mistakes with new job benefits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In September 2016, total nonfarm payroll employment in the U.S. <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm">rose by 156,000</a>. If you were among those Americans who recently landed a new gig &mdash; or plan on landing one within the near future &mdash; congratulations! But as you get your benefits and retirement planning set up at your new workplace, don't make these seven mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Not Setting Up Your New Retirement Account Before December 31st</h2> <p>Make to sure to set up your new employer-sponsored retirement account before December 31st. Otherwise, you won't be able to reduce your 2016 taxable income by making contributions before Tax Day (April 17th, 2017) or the day you file your federal tax return, whichever is earlier. If you wait until the new year to set up your retirement account, any contributions made before Tax Day will reduce your 2017 taxable income &mdash; and you'll lose the opportunity to reduce your 2016 AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) by any contributed amount.</p> <h2>2. Not Completing a 401K or IRA Indirect Rollover</h2> <p>If you had a balance of less than $5,000 in your previous job's 401K or IRA plan, there is a good chance that you received an automatic cashout with a 20% withholding from your employer for applicable taxes. From the last day of your employment, you have 60 days to put the entire balance of the previous retirement account (including the mentioned 20% withholding!) into a new employer-sponsored retirement account that accepts rollovers. This process is known as an indirect rollover.</p> <p>You'll get that 20% withholding money back from the IRS in next year's tax return. In the event that your new employer's retirement account doesn't accept a rollover from your previous account, consider opening an IRA with a local financial institution before the 60-day deadline. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras?ref=seealso">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</a>)</p> <h2>3. Leaving W-4 Forms Alone</h2> <p>Depending on a variety of factors, your old W-4 tax withholdings may not cut it at your new gig. To figure out whether you're withholding too much (or too little), grab all of your latest pay stubs, find a copy of last year's tax return, and visit the online <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator">IRS Withholding Calculator</a>.</p> <p>After punching in your data, this tool will provide recommendations on how to adjust your W-4 with your new employer to make sure that you meet your tax liability and minimize your refund. There's no sense in over-withholding and expecting a large refund, since the IRS doesn't pay interest while it sits on excess withholdings. That's money better kept in a savings or retirement account, where it can gain interest and compound over time.</p> <h2>4. Missing the Deadline to Make an Additional Estimated Tax Payment</h2> <p>If the IRS Withholding Calculator were to tell you that you're seriously behind your tax liability, you'll probably need to make amends <em>pronto, </em>lest you end up owing Uncle Sam at tax time. It's to your benefit to make an additional estimated tax payment to reduce or eliminate such a liability. For example, in the event that you know that there is an end-of-year bonus or commission check arriving before January 17, 2017, you have the option to use part of that check to make an estimated tax payment with <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040es.pdf">Form 1040-ES</a>.</p> <p>Make sure to use the IRS Withholding Calculator to estimate the right amount to mail to the IRS with Form 1040-ES and keep a photocopy of both the form and check for your own records.</p> <h2>5. Not Enrolling in a New FSA Plan Within 30 Days</h2> <p>You have up to 30 days from your hire date to enroll in an employer's flexible spending account (FSA). If you miss that deadline, you'll have to wait until your company renews its FSA plan, your plan administrator announces an open enrollment period, or you have a qualifying life event, such as changing marital status or having a baby.</p> <h2>6. Forgetting About Balances in Previous FSA Accounts</h2> <p>You may be so busy training at your new job and completing paperwork that you forget about remaining benefits at your previous employer. Check the rules from your previous FSA account regarding the expiration date of available money once you separate from your old employer. Most FSA plans provide a grace period to use the money, but some of those deadlines may be as early as the end of the month in which you separate from your employer. Unless you use your FSA funds in full by the applicable deadline, you'll lose them all.</p> <h2>7. Going More Than Two Months Without Health Coverage</h2> <p>As you're transitioning from one job to the other, keep an eye on the start and end dates of previous and current health plans. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, you owe a fee for any period greater than two months in which you, your spouse, or your tax dependents don't have qualifying health coverage. In most cases, the penalty fee is 1/12 per month of <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/">2.5% of your household income</a> or $695 per adult, whichever is higher.</p> <p>Being uncovered for only one to two months, qualifies you for a <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/results/2015/details/short-gap">short gap exemption</a> and you're not liable for the fee. Find out whether or not you're able to claim a health coverage exemption with <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/">HealthCare.gov's Exemption Screener</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-health-insurance-benefits-youre-probably-not-using">6 Health Insurance Benefits You&#039;re Probably Not Using</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you">Still Without Health Insurance? Here’s How Much the Penalties Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/left-a-job-do-a-rollover">Left a job? Do a rollover.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you">Going Without Health Insurance in 2015? Here&#039;s What It&#039;ll Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-vital-things-to-remember-when-buying-health-insurance">5 Vital Things to Remember When Buying Health Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Insurance Retirement 401 k affordable care act benefits employers flexible spending health care IRA medical insurance new job obamacare rollovers taxes Mon, 31 Oct 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1822947 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Retail Gigs That Pay Well and Offer Benefits http://www.wisebread.com/11-retail-gigs-that-pay-well-and-offer-benefits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-retail-gigs-that-pay-well-and-offer-benefits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_85190881_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="These retail jobs offer good pay and benefits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I always find the correlation between good hourly pay and and strong customer service to be interesting. It seems the better taken care of the employees are (making decent wages and getting good benefits), the happier they'll be at work. With that in mind, here are 11 places to work that not only have an average hourly pay rate over $10, but also offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-part-time-jobs-that-offer-college-benefits">pretty nice perks</a> to boot.</p> <h2>1. ALDI Grocery Chain</h2> <p>The&nbsp;<a href="https://careers.aldi.us/">ALDI grocery chain</a> offers a very competitive salary and benefits package. According to Glassdoor.com, <a href="https://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/ALDI-Salaries-E7337.htm">associates make on average $11.88 an hour</a>, with store managers making in excess of $60,000 annually. They also offer a very good medical and dental plan for all full-time employees. The 401K contribution match at ALDI is&nbsp;dollar for dollar match on the first 5%.&nbsp;Additionally, part-time employees with at least 25 hours are eligible for medical/dental benefits.</p> <h2>2. Costco</h2> <p>A job at Costco Wholesale has always been in high demand, and when you delve into their salary and benefits package, you start to understand why. The average cashier at Costco earns a very competitive $14.63 an hour and a stocker earns $13.34 hourly. Their excellent&nbsp;<a href="http://www.costco.com/benefits.html">benefits package</a>, which includes dental, vision, and medical, is available to both full and part-time employees. Full-time workers are eligible after 90 days of employment and part-timers after 180. More cool perks include Sunday overtime which starts at about $17.50/hour and a 401K program which matches your contribution at $0.50 for every dollar, up to $1,000, for your first year. Throw in a stock purchase plan that waives all fees and commissions and Costco can be a very lucrative place to work.</p> <h2>3. H&amp;M Fashion</h2> <p>H&amp;M hourly employees come in at about $10.95 per hour with a strong benefits package to both part-time and full-time employees. The fact that<a href="https://career.hm.com/content/hmcareer/en_us/workingathm/get-to-know-us/benefits.html"> they offer medical and vision plans</a> to ALL employees is what makes H&amp;M stand out from other clothing retailers. They then go one step further and offer perks like pet insurance, 401Ks with company match, life insurance, Metlife auto insurance, plus a liberal 25% employee discount on all in-store purchases. You'd be smart to add H&amp;M to your &quot;must-apply&quot; job list.</p> <h2>4. IKEA</h2> <p>The Swedish furniture and home décor company known as&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/this-is-ikea/working-at-the-ikea-group/">IKEA</a> can be a financially rewarding place to work. Their average pay for sales associates averages a solid $11 per hour. Also, if you work more than 20 hours per week, you'll qualify for health benefits. All employees will qualify for a 401K plan (5% match), paid time off and a generous 15% employee discount even on clearance and &quot;as-Is&quot; products.</p> <h2>5. &amp; 6. Lowe's and Home Depot</h2> <p>I think it's fair to group both Home Depot and <a href="http://careers.lowes.com/why-lowes/">Lowe's</a> together, as their salary and benefit packages are quite similar. The average customer service associate at Lowe's earns a respectable $11.05 an hour, while <a href="https://careers.homedepot.com/">Home Depot</a> pays about <a href="https://www.glassdoor.com/Benefits/The-Home-Depot-US-Benefits-EI_IE655.0,14_IL.15,17_IN1.htm">$11.40 per hour</a>. Both home improvement warehouses offer benefits packages that are fairly solid for full-time workers, but are quite expensive for part-time workers. As a matter of fact, part-time employees at Lowe's have to pay for their entire first year health plan and 40% thereafter.</p> <h2>7. Nike Store</h2> <p>Nike Store employees are paid on average slightly above $10 an hour. <a href="http://retailjobs.nike.com/article/benefits">Their benefits package</a> is what makes them stand out. While full-timers are offered medical and dental shortly after employment, part-timers with at least one year of employment under their belts are offered a very competitive health coverage with a reasonable $1,000 deductible. Once your deductible is met, Nike will pay for 80% of any accrued medical costs. All employees are also offered a 15% discount toward the purchase of Nike stock. They also encourage their employees to buy Nike gear as they offer a 30% discount at the Nike Outlet and 20% off all purchases at NikeTown.</p> <h2>8. Nordstrom</h2> <p>The average sales associate at Nordstrom makes about $11.70 an hour plus commission, which starts at 6.75% but can vary by department. Some <a href="http://www.seattlepi.com/business/article/Nordstrom-salesman-s-million-dollar-secret-is-in-1140669.php">savvy Nordstrom sales employees</a> have even earned upwards of $1 million dollars annually. While it appears Nordstrom offered health benefits to part-timers at one point, this no longer seems to be the case. Only full-time employees are eligible for medical and dental these days. Also, all employees score a 20% discount on Nordstrom merchandise, and 33% when you reach management level. Not too shabby. Throw in a <a href="http://about.nordstrom.com/careers/#/about-us/benefits">competitive 401K plan</a> with company matching, and they are one of the most solid retail jobs going today.</p> <h2>9. REI Co-Op</h2> <p>Hourly sales associates at REI make $11.40 on average, but it's their commitment to employee satisfaction that's remarkable. For example, on <a href="http://newsroom.rei.com/news/corporate/rei-closing-its-doors-on-black-friday-invites-nation-to-optoutside.htm">Black Friday last year</a>, REI was one of only a couple large retailers that closed their doors and told their employees to stay home and spend time with family. They even offer workers two paid days off per year, called &quot;<a href="http://blog.rei.com/social/rei-employees-get-outside-and-play-with-yay-days/">Yay Days</a>,&quot; to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. They also offer a competitive benefits package that both part-time and full-time employees are eligible for. On top of that, all employees get a 50% discount on REI-branded products and 30% on all other brands. Toss in one of the better employee 401K plans, with 6% matching, and REI might be a smart place to apply.</p> <h2>10. Trader Joe's</h2> <p>Right off the bat, <a href="http://www.traderjoes.com/careers">Trader Joe's is a highly desirable place to work</a> as hourly employees make around $13.50 an hour. They are also one of the only grocery chains that offers health and dental benefits to part-time workers who work at least 30 hours a week. Work less than 30 hours a week, and they'll cut out the medical coverage. Throw in a free gym membership after six months of employment, a 10% employee discount, and it's no wonder that Trader Joe's employees typically have smiles on their faces and a kind word to exchange with shoppers.</p> <h2>11. Whole Foods</h2> <p>The average hourly rate for Whole Foods employees is a couple dollars less than Trader Joe's at about $11.50 an hour. While expensive for part-timers, if you work at least 20 hours a week, you'll be eligible for a high-deductible medical plan. They do beat Trader Joe's when it comes to their 20% employee discount, which is a nice money-saving perk. Also, they have some <a href="http://fortune.com/2011/05/18/5-reasons-why-its-great-to-work-at-whole-foods/">cool employee perks</a> like paid time-off, massage therapy, language classes, and even yoga classes.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-retail-gigs-that-pay-well-and-offer-benefits">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-great-retail-jobs-for-working-parents">5 Great Retail Jobs for Working Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-employer-benefits-that-can-leave-more-spending-money-in-your-pockets">7 Employer Benefits That Can Leave More Spending Money in Your Pockets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-terrible-work-from-home-jobs-you-should-avoid">8 Terrible Work-From-Home &quot;Jobs&quot; You Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/check-out-these-5-legit-mystery-shopping-gigs">Check Out These 5 Legit Mystery Shopping Gigs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Job Hunting benefits common job search mistakes health benefits insurance jobs that pay well retail gigs retail jobs Thu, 20 Oct 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Kyle James 1816659 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/old_couple_retirement_78209735.jpg" alt="Couple boosting their social security payout before retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_422.Mar16.RCS.pdf">84% of U.S. workers</a> expect their Social Security benefit to be a significant source income during retirement. So, let's plan ahead with these six smart ways to boost that monthly Social Security check before retirement:</p> <h2>1. Check Reported Earnings on Your Social Security Statements</h2> <p>In September 2014, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began mailing Social Security Statements to workers at ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60 and over, who aren't yet receiving Social Security benefits and don't have a <em>my Social Security</em> account. You should receive those statements about three months before your birthday at each one of those ages.</p> <p>Once you receive one, check your reported earnings for each year to make sure they match your W-2 forms. The SSA uses your average earnings over your lifetime to calculate your benefit amount, so any errors on reported earnings may alter the benefit to which you're entitled. Since you may have many employers during your lifetime, you're the only person who can look at your earnings history and know whether it's complete and correct.</p> <p>If any earnings before the previous year are missing or shown incorrectly, contact the SSA right away at 1-800-772-1213 (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on your local time). Have your W-2 or tax return for those years available when you call.</p> <h2>2. Sign Up for a my Social Security Account</h2> <p>There's no need to wait five years before getting your next Social Security Statement. By creating you're my Social Security account at <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount">www.ssa.gov/myaccount</a>, you'll be able to check your reported earnings once a year to verify that those posted amounts are correct.</p> <p>Additionally, you'll receive updated estimates of your future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits. If you meet certain requirements, you'll also be able to request a replacement Social Security card through the my Social Security online portal.</p> <h2>3. Reach Full Retirement Age</h2> <p>When you have earned the necessary 40 credits (individuals with disabilities, recipients of survivor benefits, and some minors may need fewer credits) to qualify for retirement benefits, you can start receiving those benefits as early as age 62. Whether you receive a digital or paper copy of your Social Security statement, you'll receive an estimated benefit of your retirement benefits at age 62.</p> <p>You'll quickly realize that the estimated benefit at age 62 is much lower than the one at your full retirement age. For example, if you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age would be 66. If you were to start getting retirement benefits at age 62, they would be <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/1943.html">reduced to 75%</a> of what they would be four years later. For every month that you delay retirement past age 62, you would gain an additional 0.4% in retirement benefits until you reach your full retirement age. Depending on your birth year, your full retirement age ranges from <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html">65 to 67</a>.</p> <h2>4. Obtain Delayed Retirement Credits</h2> <p>According to estimates from the SSA, about <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.html">one out of every four</a> 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live past age 95. If you have a family history of longevity, consider delaying retirement until age 70.</p> <p>Individuals born 1943 or later receive an extra <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/delayret.html">2/3 of 1% increase</a> on their retirement benefits for every month that they delay retirement past full retirement age. If your full retirement age were 67, you would increase your retirement benefit to 132% by waiting until age 70. You can only gain delayed retirement credits until age 70.</p> <h2>5. Evaluate Spousal Benefits</h2> <p>Spouses can claim retirement benefits based on their own earnings record or receive up to 50% of the higher earner's benefit, whichever is higher. For example, if your own retirement benefit and your spouse's were $600 and $1,800, respectively, you would receive $900 (50% of $1,800).</p> <p>However, taking the spousal benefit as early as age 62 reduces your payout. A spousal benefit is reduced 25/36 of 1% for each month before full retirement age, up to 36 months. If the number of months exceeds 36, then the benefit is further reduced 5/12 of 1% per month. For those born 1960 or later, a $900 spousal benefit would be reduced to $585 when taking it at age 62.</p> <p>If you're divorced from a marriage <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html">lasting 10 years or longer</a>, remain unmarried, and have a retirement benefit smaller than the one you would receive from your ex-spouse, then you can receive spousal benefits on your ex-spouse's record even if he or she has remarried. However, you'll only be able to keep collecting benefits if you keep single. To learn more details about spousal benefits for divorced spouses, consult the SSA website.</p> <h2>6. Plan Ahead With Your Dependents</h2> <p>Talking about relationship updates later on in life, keep in mind that you can receive additional Social Security payments when you have dependent children <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/yourchildren.html">under age 19</a> living with you during retirement.</p> <p>As long as your biological child, adopted child, stepchild, or dependent grandchild is unmarried and under age 18, then he or she can receive up to one half of your monthly retirement benefit. The benefit can extend until graduation date or two months after the 19th birthday of a dependent who is a full-time student (no higher than grade 12), whichever is earlier.</p> <p>While each one of your qualifying dependent children can receive a benefit, generally the total amount you and your family can receive is about <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/yourchildren.html">150% to 180%</a> of your full retirement benefit. Depending on your child's age, you may find it advantageous to retire earlier than you originally planned to take advantage of a higher total family benefit.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths">Stop Falling for These 6 Social Security Myths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know">13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-for-retirement-when-you-re-ready-to-retire">How to Plan for Retirement When You’re Ready to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes">Can Your Spouse be a Dependent on Your Taxes?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement benefits dependents full retirement age marriage payout social security spouses ssa Wed, 12 Oct 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Damian Davila 1810488 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know http://www.wisebread.com/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_social_security_42928626.jpg" alt="Learning social security terms everyone needs to know" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>All Americans expect to receive Social Security benefits during their retirement years.</p> <p>According to the latest data from the Employee Benefits Research Institute, <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_422.Mar16.RCS.pdf">91% of U.S. retirees</a> and 84% of U.S. workers expect Social Security to be a major or minor source of income during retirement. And since about a third of Americans have less than $1,000 saved for retirement, it's not surprising that many expect Social Security benefits to be their major source of income.</p> <p>That's why it's essential you understand these 13 important Social Security terms.</p> <h2>1. Full Retirement Age</h2> <p>Starting at age 62, you become eligible for Social Security benefits. However, you would take reduced benefits if you were to retire anytime before your full retirement age, which for most Americans is now 65 or older.</p> <p>For example, individuals born in 1960 or later have a full retirement age of 67. If a person with a full retirement age of 67 were to start taking benefits at age 62, she would receive a retirement benefit <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/1960.html">reduced to 70%</a>. For every month past age 62 that she waits, she earns about 0.4% more in retirement benefits until she reaches a full 100% at age 67.</p> <p>Depending on your year of birth, your full retirement age ranges from <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html">65 to 67</a>.</p> <h2>2. Delayed Retirement Credits</h2> <p>About 19% of Americans <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-13/-i-ll-never-retire-americans-break-record-for-working-past-65">age 65 or older were working</a> during the first quarter of 2016. One possible reason is that working past age 65 to 67 can increase your retirement benefit from <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/delayret.html">5.5% to 8% per year</a>, depending on your year of birth. For every month past your full retirement age that you wait to start receiving your benefit check, you earn delayed retirement credits that boost your full retirement benefit beyond 100%. Going back to the example of the individual with full retirement at age 67, she would receive a monthly increase of two-thirds of 1% for every month that she delays retirement past age 67.</p> <h2>3. Age 64-3/4</h2> <p>Even though you may decide to wait until or past full retirement age to start taking your benefits, you can still apply for Medicare <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/justmedicare.html">within three months of age 65</a> (age 64-3/4) and apply for your retirement or spouse's benefits later.</p> <h2>Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D</h2> <p>People age 65 or older have access to the U.S. health insurance program known as Medicare. This program helps cover health care costs and has several parts.</p> <h3>4. Medicare Part A</h3> <p>This hospital insurance helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home health care, and hospice care.</p> <h3>5. Medicare Part B</h3> <p>Medical insurance that helps pay for doctor services and many other medical services and supplies not covered by Part A.</p> <h3>6. Medicare Part C</h3> <p>Also known as Medicare Advantage Plans, Part C plans are offered by private health carriers approved by Medicare and available to Americans enrolled in Part A and Part B with Medicare.</p> <h3>7. Medicare Part D</h3> <p>A drug coverage plan available to everyone with Medicare.</p> <p>While you have a seven-month window starting age 64-3/4 to sign up for Part A, you don't have to enroll in Part B. Depending on when you enroll for Part B and other factors, your coverage may be delayed and you may have to pay a higher monthly premium unless you qualify for a&hellip;</p> <h2>8. Special Enrollment Period (SEP)</h2> <p>Every year has an open enrollment period in which you can enroll in an insurance plan. There are certain life events that qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. Qualifying events include losing job-based coverage and losing coverage through a family member. For the full list of life events that make you eligible for SEP, visit this section from <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage-outside-open-enrollment/special-enrollment-period/">HealthCare.gov</a>.</p> <h2>9. Social Security Credits</h2> <p>In 2016, you will earn <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/dqualify2.html">one Social Security work credit for each $1,260</a> of wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four of these credits per year. The amount of money required to earn one credit goes up every year. Most Americans need to accumulate <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10024.pdf">40 credits</a> (about 10 years of work) to qualify for Social Security benefits. However, adults and children may require fewer credits to be eligible for other certain types of Social Security benefits, such as...</p> <h2>10. Disability Benefits</h2> <p>Those who can't work due to a qualifying medical condition that's expected to last at least one year or result in death can receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.</p> <p>Besides meeting the Social Security Administration's definition of disability, you must also have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Unless you're <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/dqualify8.html">blind or have low vision</a>, you must have earned <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/credits.html">at least 20</a> of your required credits in the 10 years before you became disabled to qualify for disability benefits. For example, if you were born after 1929 and became disabled at age 50, you would require at least 28 credits to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.</p> <p>Certain family members, including your spouse if he or she is age 62 or older or an unmarried child, may qualify for benefits based on your work.</p> <h2>11. Supplemental Security Income Benefits</h2> <p>The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10026.pdf">disabled adults and children</a> who have limited income and resources. Qualifying recipients of Social Security disability or retirement benefits can receive SSI as long as they meet the requirements. The online <a href="https://ssabest.benefits.gov">Best Eligibility Screening Tool</a> can help you determine whether or not you or your child are eligible for SSI benefits.</p> <h2>12. Back Payments</h2> <p>Given that there are an <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/">estimated 74.9 million Baby Boomers</a> (ages 51 to 69) in the U.S., you can expect that Social Security consistently receives a large number of enrollments. The more paperwork, the longer the time to process your application. So, you'll receive back payments from the Social Security Administration for the months between the date that you applied for benefits and the date you were approved for benefits.</p> <p>There is a mandatory <a href="https://faq.ssa.gov/link/portal/34011/34019/Article/3715/Is-there-a-waiting-period-for-Social-Security-disability-benefits">five-month waiting period</a> for SSDI benefits, so back payments only start once the waiting period ends.</p> <h2>13. Retroactive Benefits</h2> <p>Back payments are available for for both SSDI and SSI benefits, but retroactive benefits are only available for SSDI benefits. Retroactive benefits are the monies that you were already eligible for due to your disability onset date but didn't apply for earlier. Keep in mind that you'll receive no interest on any back payments for SSDI or SSI.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths">Stop Falling for These 6 Social Security Myths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement">5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-for-retirement-when-you-re-ready-to-retire">How to Plan for Retirement When You’re Ready to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement backpayments benefits credits income medicare retroactive social security terms Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Damian Davila 1808267 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retired_old_couple_90300353.jpg" alt="Retired couple finding cities to retire in on social security" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The statistics on how unprepared Americans are for retirement can be terrifying. The <a href="http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/pdf/2015/RetirementSavingsCrisis.pdf">median retirement account balance</a> is $2,500 for all working-age households and $14,500 for near-retirement households, according to a 2015 study by the National Institute on Retirement Security.</p> <p>Two-thirds of working families fall short of conservative retirement savings targets for their age and income based on working until age 67, the report finds.</p> <p>With virtually no retirement savings for the average working household and 45% (nearly 40 million) of working households not having any retirement assets, their best hope for surviving after age 67 may be income from Social Security.</p> <h2>What Social Security Pays</h2> <p>The average monthly Social Security check as of June 2016 was $1,234, according to the Social Security Administration, or SSA. Where could you afford to live on such an income?</p> <p>There are some good options, but before we get to those, let's be a little more generous with the SSA income, based on the government's statistics.</p> <p>While the average monthly benefit was $1,234, 82% of beneficiaries receive a little more &mdash; $1,280 from &quot;Old-Age and Survivors Insurance&quot; SSA beneficiaries. The largest average monthly SSA benefit was $1,348 for retired workers, who made up 67% of the pool.</p> <p>Assuming you're a retired worker receiving the average $1,348 each month from SSA, that's still a low amount of money to live on each month, considering that a retirement planning rule of thumb is to plan on having 70%&ndash;80% percent of your pre-retirement income replaced with SSA, a retirement account, or other form of income in your old age.</p> <p>At 80%, that $1,348 would equate to a pre-retirement monthly income of $1,685, or $20,220 per year. If you were comfortable living on $20,220 per year before retirement, then living on 80% of it during retirement should be just as comfortable, the theory goes.</p> <p>For a couple who are both retired, their SSA income would double to $40,440 per year. But for our purposes, let's assume one retiree is living by themselves.</p> <p>So, where to live on the average SSA check of $1,348 per month for retired workers? In no particular order, here are five cities where it's affordable.</p> <h2>1. Buffalo, New York</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/buffalo_new_york_82224935.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Buffalo may come as a surprise for being a cheap place to live because it's in New York state. But the <a href="https://smartasset.com/mortgage/top-ten-cheapest-places-to-live">median monthly rent</a> in Buffalo is $512, making it the cheapest city in the U.S. to live in, according to a SmartAsset analysis. Buffalo also has the lowest cost of living at 79.34, meaning that the U.S. average is 100 and that $100 in groceries, for example, would cost $79.34 in Buffalo.</p> <h2>2. Johnstown, Pennsylvania</h2> <p>If you're looking for the cheapest rent in the country, this city of 20,576 residents has it with a gross median rent of $466 per month, according to data from the U.S. Census. Since housing is one of the biggest expenses in life, such low rent can make other expenses a lot more affordable.</p> <p>The <a href="http://places.findthehome.com/stories/10260/city-every-state-cheapest-affordable-rent#50-Pennsylvania-Johnstown">average per capita income</a> in Johnstown is $16,153, according to FindTheHome, putting the average SSA income in retirement above the average there. In this city, you'd be rich.</p> <h2>3. Memphis, Tennessee</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/graceland_memphis_91136155.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>If you're looking for a large U.S. city that's affordable in retirement, Memphis is it. This city of 653,450 has low housing costs. The average apartment rent of $709 per month is 21% below the U.S. average, and the median home value of $98,300 is 46% below the U.S. average, according to Kiplinger.</p> <h2>4. Akron, Ohio</h2> <p>Living in the center of the country is usually cheaper than it is elsewhere, and Akron, Ohio proves that point by being one of the <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/media/the-15-most-affordable-places-to-live-in-america/16/">most affordable places to live</a> in the country. Its median home price listing in August 2015 was $120,450, and the median household income was $45,628 &mdash; putting the average SSA income at just below the median. The amount of monthly income spent on housing, utilities, and commuting in Akron was 28.9%, allowing retirees to spend about 70% of their income on other things.</p> <h2>5. Indianapolis, Indiana</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/indianapolis_indiana_62568936_0.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Listed by Trulia as one of the best cities to move to for a high-paying job, Indianapolis has low home prices for <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/millennials-meet-indianapolis-your-new-dream-city-n623021">Millennials looking for work</a> and for retirees, too. The median home price of $130,000 is $58,900 below the median home price in America. That allows about two of every five renters to be able to afford a typically priced home there. For retirees who sell their homes and have enough money to buy a home outright or put down a large down payment, then living with little or almost no housing costs can leave a lot of room in their budget for other things.</p> <p>The good news is that there are plenty more U.S. cities that are affordable for retirees who only have an income from Social Security. These are only five of them, and are a good start to investigate more when deciding on the cheapest places to retire.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement">5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know">13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Here&#039;s How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths">Stop Falling for These 6 Social Security Myths</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Retirement America benefits cost of living income relocating social security u.s. cities Tue, 20 Sep 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1795982 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Health Insurance Benefits You're Probably Not Using http://www.wisebread.com/6-health-insurance-benefits-youre-probably-not-using <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-health-insurance-benefits-youre-probably-not-using" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_gym_towel_82822343.jpg" alt="Woman not using health insurance benefits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, you're required to buy health insurance or face a penalty of 2.5% of your total household adjusted gross income, or <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/">$695 per adult and $347.50 per child</a>, to a maximum of $2,085 for tax year 2016. So, take advantage of the full list of available benefits and services that come with your program, including health and wellness programs and other perks. Let's review six health insurance benefits you're probably not using &mdash; but should be.</p> <h2>1. Discounted Gym Memberships and Fitness Reimbursement Programs</h2> <p>As of June 2016, an estimated <a href="http://www.ihrsa.org/about-the-industry/">55.3 million Americans</a> paid for memberships to health clubs nationwide. With the average monthly gym fee around $50, gym goers are looking at a $600 expense per year before any other applicable fees, including initiation or locker rental.</p> <p>Many health insurance plans offer one of two ways to lower that hefty annual gym expense. First, some companies, including <a href="http://www.capitalhealth.com/Members/Live-Healthy/Health-Fitness/Health-Fitness-Reimbursement">Capital Health</a>, <a href="http://uhctogether.com/uhcwellness/16181.html">UnitedHealthcare</a>, and <a href="https://www.harvardpilgrim.org/portal/page?_pageid=213,217714&amp;_dad=portal&amp;_schema=PORTAL">Harvard Pilgrim</a>, offer fitness reimbursement programs ranging from $150 to $240 per calendar year (as long as you meet a predetermined minimum of consecutive months attending a gym). Some programs provide the reimbursement as a lump sum, and others do so on a monthly basis. Second, other companies, such as Kaiser Permanente, charge a flat annual fee to access a network of participating gyms. In the State of Hawaii, for example, the cost of this benefit is <a href="https://healthplans.kaiserpermanente.org/federalemployees/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/10/2016-Hawaii-Rates-and-Benefits.pdf">$100 per year</a>, which allows you to cut down that average annual gym expense by more than 83%!</p> <h2>2. Home Fitness Kits and Home Trainers</h2> <p>Due to caretaking responsibilities, physical disabilities, or other limitations, some holders of health plans may not be able to visit a fitness facility. That's why some health insurance carriers offer home fitness kits to those unable to visit a facility or preferring to work out at home. Companies offering home fitness program, such as <a href="https://www.healthpartners.com/hp/insurance/medicare/minnesota-freedom/silver-fit/">HealthPartners</a>, may offer specific options for older adults. The annual fee for home fitness programs ranges from $10 to $30, allowing you to choose two to three kits from a pool of options.</p> <p>Also, check with your provider on whether you can receive a discount for the services of an at-home trainer for your medical condition. For example, <a href="https://www.ghc.org/html/public/services/alternative">GroupHealth</a> can provide coverage or discounts for participating personal fitness and exercise trainers, including yoga, tai chi, and Pilates instructors, within its network.</p> <h2>3. Massage Therapy</h2> <p>When your physician determines that physical therapy is necessary, such in the case of chronic back pain or arthritis, your insurance can help you cover a portion or even a few of your massage sessions. However, check with your plan administrator about the features of your plan. Some plans may offer you one massage therapy session per month at a deeply discounted price in a participating facility within their network and others may offer a discount on massage therapy sessions on an ongoing basis (as long as you use service providers within their network).</p> <h2>4. Vaccines and Screening Tests</h2> <p>Thanks, Obama. Under the ACA, most health plans must cover a <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/preventive-care-benefits/">list of preventive services</a>, including vaccinations and screening tests, at no charge to you. Some eligible preventive services for adults include HIV screening, colorectal cancer screening for adults over age 50, and aspirin use to prevent cardiovascular disease. Many immunization vaccines, including Hepatitis A, Herpes Zoster, and influenza, are also covered. This second benefit can be quite useful during times of outbreaks, such as the <a href="http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/">2016 Hepatitis A outbreak</a> on the Island of Oahu. Remember to stay within your network of providers to avoid any charges. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-places-to-get-vaccinated-for-cheap-or-free?ref=seealso">7 Places to Get Vaccinated for Cheap or Free</a>)</p> <h2>5. Breast Pump and Breast-feeding Counseling</h2> <p>With the average cost of raising a child under age two estimated at <a href="http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/expenditures_on_children_by_families/CRC2013InfoGraphic.pdf">$12,940 per year</a>, parents are always looking to save a buck. Your health insurance plan offers parents a way to save a couple hundred. All health insurance plans must <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/breast-feeding-benefits/">cover breast-feeding equipment and counseling</a> for the duration of breast-feeding.</p> <p>Since the cost of an electric breast pump ranges between $100 and $350, we're talking about some serious savings. For example, my wife's plan fully covered a new <a href="http://amzn.to/2bOrxiX">Medela pump</a>, retailing for almost $300 at a store within her network. Check the rules of your plan for eligible retailers and breast pump models. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-when-you-find-out-youre-pregnant?ref=seealso">8 Money Moves to Make When You Find Out You're Pregnant</a>)</p> <h2>6. Weight Loss Benefit</h2> <p>Some health insurance carriers provide subsidies toward fees for eligible Weight Watchers, at-work, or hospital-based weight loss programs. For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, offers <a href="http://www.bluecrossma.com/plan-education/programs-tools/value-added-programs.html">up to $150</a> per calendar year.</p> <p>If your main resolution this year was to lose some weight, then you can combine your potential weight loss and discounted gym membership benefits to re-energize your promise to get back in shape and improve your health.</p> <p><em>What are other health insurance benefits we're probably not using?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-health-insurance-benefits-youre-probably-not-using">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits">New Job? Don&#039;t Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-vital-things-to-remember-when-buying-health-insurance">5 Vital Things to Remember When Buying Health Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-good-eating-habits-that-are-keeping-us-fat">6 &quot;Good&quot; Eating Habits That Are Keeping Us Fat</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-affordable-gym-memberships">5 Most Affordable Gym Memberships</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you">Still Without Health Insurance? Here’s How Much the Penalties Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance affordable care act benefits breast pumps fitness gym memberships obamacare preventive care reimbursement programs vaccines weight loss Mon, 29 Aug 2016 09:30:28 +0000 Damian Davila 1780048 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways Employee Perks Are Good for Business http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-employee-perks-are-good-for-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-employee-perks-are-good-for-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_78188017_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="enjoying some awesome work perks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This post is sponsored by Aflac. For more resources, tools, and insights on small business benefits, visit <a href="https://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C820%7C3370&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fad.doubleclick.net%2Fddm%2Fclk%2F300137116%3B126951509%3Bv" rel="nofollow">Aflac.com</a>.</em></p> <p>Music lounges for in-office jams. Kombucha and craft beer on tap. Unlimited time off. Free housecleaning. It may seem that some workplaces today are a workers' paradise &mdash; but the ultimate benefit from all these perks goes to the employers savvy enough to offer them.</p> <p>Benefits seem like a simple proposition: In a tight talent market, like the technology industry, companies dangle goodies like free food and time off to lure workers away from less fun employers. And it&rsquo;s true that perks can be powerful recruiting and retention tools; according to a <a href="https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/ecs-q3-2015/">Glassdoor survey</a>, nearly four out of five employees would prefer more benefits to a pay boost. But worker-friendly policies can benefit employers in surprising ways that go far beyond getting bodies into desks.</p> <h2>1. Increases Engagement</h2> <p>A lot of today&rsquo;s perks are aimed not just at retention but <a href="http://engageforsuccess.org/what-is-employee-engagement">employee engagement</a>, which basically means having workers who show up because they want to do a good job, not just punch the clock. High employee engagement is linked to <a href="http://blog.accessdevelopment.com/index.php/2014/08/employee-engagement-loyalty-statistics-the-ultimate-collection">customer retention</a>, <a href="http://tolmanandwiker.com/employee-engagement-direct-impact-business-bottom-line/">productivity</a>, and <a href="https://www.decision-wise.com/show-me-the-money-the-roi-of-employee-engagement/">profit growth</a>.</p> <p>How do perks translate to engagement? It&rsquo;s not as easy as giving employees new toys to make them love you, HR experts advise. Unlimited vacation policies, for example, are an increasingly popular way to drive engagement because they <a href="http://blog.sfgate.com/gettowork/2015/07/22/bay-area-companies-with-unlimited-vacation-time/">show employees that the boss trusts them</a>. Perks that make employees&rsquo; lives more flexible, from on-site childcare to work-from-home days, and those that make people feel recognized, like periodic rewards, also drive engagement, <a href="http://dupress.com/articles/employee-engagement-strategies/">according to Deloitte</a>.</p> <p>A distracted employee can&rsquo;t be truly engaged, and the <a href="https://www.aflac.com/business/resources/aflac-workforces-report/fact-sheets/company-size/small-companies.aspx">2016 Aflac WorkForces Report</a> found that one of the top worries that distract workers on the job are personal financial struggles. That&rsquo;s why many employers are helping their workers achieve peace of mind by offering voluntary supplemental insurance policies which complement major medical insurance by providing cash benefits needed to help cover out-of-pocket costs related to a covered injury or illness.</p> <h2>2. Decreases Health Care Costs</h2> <p>On-site gyms and wellness programs that encourage employees to quit smoking or lose weight are popular perks with a measurable impact on the bottom line. Johnson &amp; Johnson estimates it has <a href="https://hbr.org/2010/12/whats-the-hard-return-on-employee-wellness-programs">saved nearly $3 in health care costs for every buck it has spent on wellness programs</a>. Healthier employees also save companies money through decreased use of sick days, and they come to the office ready to focus on their jobs.</p> <h2>3. Attracts Diversity</h2> <p>Silicon Valley in particular has been dogged by criticism for its homogeneous workforce. When companies are able to attract both men and women, of various ages and backgrounds, they&rsquo;re <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/101/46/16385.full">better equipped to solve problems</a>. What&rsquo;s more, gender-diverse companies <a href="http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/166220/business-benefits-gender-diversity.aspx">make more money</a>.</p> <p>Glassdoor&rsquo;s survey showed that perks are preferred over pay raises by more women than men, and by younger employees.</p> <h2>4. Builds Loyalty</h2> <p>Benefits such as unlimited sick time, voluntary insurance programs that help soften the blow of unexpected medical expenses, and on-site health care or massages do more than make the company seem like a good place to work. They show workers that the company cares about them, which leads to something all-too-rare in today&rsquo;s workplace: True loyalty.</p> <p>SAS, a company consistently rated as one of the best to work for worldwide, offers summer camp for employees&rsquo; kids, on-site health care, car cleaning, and subsidized child care. One manager said that all these touches <a href="http://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2011/snapshots/1.html">make workers feel well cared for</a>, and drives them to love their jobs.</p> <p>Loyal employees are less likely to jump ship even if a better-paying offer comes along, which can save employers the high cost of searching for and training replacements.</p> <h2>5. Creates Social Media Buzz</h2> <p>GoodbyeCrutches.com throws weekly lunches based on themes including Jimmy Buffett, Smurfs, and pirates. These events don&rsquo;t just make employees feel good &mdash; the message goes beyond the office walls.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our lunches are great content for social media (all the weekly pictures get posted and shared)
 and it helps us build relationships with both vendors and customers,&rdquo; owner <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/kateharrison/2014/02/19/the-most-popular-employee-perks-of-2014/#43ac1369106e">Tom Schwab told Forbes</a>.</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="https://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/99116820/289_3370.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-employee-perks-are-good-for-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-powerful-reasons-companies-should-offer-more-wellness-programs-to-keep-their-employees-healthier-a">5 Powerful Reasons Companies Should Offer More Wellness Programs to Keep Their Employees Healthier and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-29-companies-with-the-best-maternity-benefits">The 29 Companies With the Best Maternity Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-youre-working-for-an-impossible-boss">7 Signs You&#039;re Working for an Impossible Boss</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unmistakeable-signs-youre-slacking-at-work">5 Unmistakeable Signs You&#039;re Slacking at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-15-coolest-silicon-valley-job-perks-you-wish-you-had">The 15 Coolest Silicon Valley Job Perks You Wish You Had</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income aflac benefits employees engagement fun at work morale Office work perks Thu, 25 Aug 2016 13:30:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1741535 at http://www.wisebread.com What You Need to Know About HOAs http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-hoas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-you-need-to-know-about-hoas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_family_house_80411637.jpg" alt="Family learning what they need to know about HOAs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're buying into a residential community &mdash; made up of condominiums or single-family homes &mdash; that is governed by a homeowners association. Is that a good thing? Or should having to deal with an HOA make you nervous?</p> <p>The answer, unfortunately, isn't simple. Homeowners associations, better known as HOAs, do come with some significant pros, including giving you access to community amenities such as swimming pools, parks, and fitness centers. But when you live in a community run by a HOA, you'll also have to follow the association's rules, which could limit everything from how many pets you can have in your condo or home to what type of alterations you can make to your property. You'll also have to pay an extra monthly fee to support the association.</p> <p>Before you move into a residential community governed by an HOA, make sure you do your research: Find out exactly how much it costs to be a part of the HOA and what benefits the association brings to its member-owners.</p> <h2>What You'll Pay and Why You'll Pay It</h2> <p>When most owners think of HOAs, they think of that extra monthly fee they'll pay. And it's true &mdash; HOAs can be expensive. Fees can vary widely, but you'll usually pay somewhere between $100 to $600 a month, though condos and housing developments with more amenities will typically charge more.</p> <p>There's a reason for this monthly fee, though: It's what you pay to make sure that the common areas of your community, whether it's the lobby or parking lot in a condominium, or the swimming pool and community center in a housing subdivision, are maintained and repaired. The fees that homeowners associations receive each month from residents go into a fund. The officers running the HOA &mdash; who are typically residents of the community itself &mdash; use this money to fund landscaping, mowing, cleaning services, maintenance, and any repair jobs that come up.</p> <h2>A Special Assessment Can Hurt</h2> <p>There might come a time when your HOA votes for a special assessment. This can be a big hurt to your finances. Say your condo building's roof needs to be replaced. Instead of paying for this big expense from the pool of money collected each month from HOA fees, the association might vote to levy a special assessment to cover the replacement costs.</p> <p>In an assessment, each household in the community will pay an extra fee to fund the repair job. These extra financial hits can be steep. Make sure, then, that your HOA has plenty of money in its coffers to tap when an emergency repair comes up. You don't want to be subject to a hefty assessment every time something goes wrong in your condo building or subdivision.</p> <h2>The Amenities Can Make a HOA Worth It</h2> <p>There is a big positive that comes with HOAs: They make the amenities in subdivisions and condo complexes possible. You might not be able to afford an in-ground swimming pool or on-site fitness center on your own. But if you buy into a condo development or residential subdivision, the fees collected by the HOA give you the chance to enjoy these amenities.</p> <p>Just make sure that the amenities themselves are important to you. Otherwise, you'll be paying a monthly fee for swimming pools, clubhouses, and business centers that you never use.</p> <h2>HOAs Do Place Limits on What You Can Do</h2> <p>Every homeowners association publishes its own set of covenants, conditions, and restrictions, better known as its CC&amp;R. These rules can severely restrict your activities while living in the community. Your association's rules might restrict you to just two dogs, for instance. They might prevent you from painting the exterior of your home your favorite color. The rules might forbid you from making certain exterior improvements to your home, too.</p> <p>Again, it's important to read a copy of an association's CC&amp;R documents before you make an offer on a residence.</p> <h2>You Can Serve on the HOA Board</h2> <p>HOAs are governed by a board usually made up of residents of the housing community. If you want to have a say on how your association operates, run for office. Yes, HOAs run regular elections. Sitting on a HOA can give you more power over how your condo development or subdivision is operated. But it also comes with significant responsibility; you are, after all, responsible for determining how to spend the money of your fellow residents.</p> <p><em>Do you live in a community with an HOA? How's it been for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-hoas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-buying-a-second-home-in-retirement">5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Second Home in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-debt">6 Ways to Invest When You&#039;re In Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-repair-mistakes-that-will-cost-you">8 Credit Repair Mistakes That Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing amenities benefits condos elections fees hoas homeowners associations housing communities restrictions subdivisions Wed, 17 Aug 2016 10:00:13 +0000 Dan Rafter 1773245 at http://www.wisebread.com Are Airline or Travel Rewards Credit Cards the Better Deal? http://www.wisebread.com/are-airline-or-travel-rewards-credit-cards-the-better-deal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-airline-or-travel-rewards-credit-cards-the-better-deal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_map_credit_card_94754805.jpg" alt="Woman learning if airline or travel credit cards are better" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There is a battle underway for a place in the wallets of credit card users who value travel rewards. In one corner are the traditional <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">airline credit cards</a>, which offer frequent flyer miles, as well as perks and benefits when traveling with a particular airline.</p> <p>Putting up a great fight against these traditional airline cards are the new crop of general travel rewards cards. These travel reward cards are not associated with a single airline. Rather, they offer points and miles that are worth a fixed amount toward travel reservations, or they can offer points that can be transferred to miles with several different airlines, and even hotels, allowing more flexibility when redeeming rewards for travel.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">best travel rewards card</a> for you depends on your travel preferences.</p> <h2>The Current State of Airline Credit Cards</h2> <p>It wasn't that long ago that frequent flyer miles were like gold. Airlines published award charts, and travelers simply had to accumulate enough miles and then redeem them for the flights they wanted. And when miles were redeemed for expensive flights in business class, or reservations with little advance notice, it was possible to receive tremendous value from these miles.</p> <p>But now, airlines have devalued their miles by raising the number of miles needed for award seats, and by reducing the number of award seats available. However, these airline credit cards attract frequent flyers by offering an array of perks and benefits that save money and time, and provide comfort and convenience. These benefits include a free checked bag, priority boarding, in-flight discounts, access to airport lounges, and more.</p> <p>These cards make sense for travelers who are committed to flying a single airline, are flexible with travel times, and can use the additional benefits. Flying frequently with that airline will rack up miles faster than using another credit card because of the extra bonus points.</p> <h2>The Case for General Travel Reward Cards</h2> <p>For those who travel infrequently, or like to have flexibility in which airline they fly, the more general travel rewards cards will work better. Whether it's a card that can transfer points to various airline partners, or a card that simply offers a statement credit for any travel purchase, users won't get stuck with sold-out award seats or overpriced ones.</p> <p>Finally, these general travel reward cards are more likely to offer bonus points or miles for non-travel categories, so infrequent travelers can still rack up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-everyday-purchases?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">points for everyday purchases</a>.</p> <h2>Bottom Line</h2> <p>By examining your travel habits and the way you like to redeem your miles, the right kind of travel rewards credit card for your needs will become clear. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-the-best-travel-rewards-credit-card-with-this-guide?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">Use this Guide to Choose the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card for You</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-airline-or-travel-rewards-credit-cards-the-better-deal">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">9 Ways to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-airline-miles-secrets-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Airline Miles Secrets Only Frequent Flyers Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-travel-hacks-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Smart Travel Hacks Only Frequent Flyers Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">6 Ways My Family Scores Free Travel With Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel benefits best value flying frequent flyers miles rewards vacation Tue, 09 Aug 2016 09:30:31 +0000 Jason Steele 1767288 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Reasons Paid Parental Leave Is Essential for Moms and Dads http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parents_new_baby_46762432.jpg" alt="New parents learning why parental leave is essential" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The United States is one of only two countries in the world that does not offer guaranteed family leave for new parents &mdash; the other one being Papua New Guinea.</p> <p>The U.S. isn't completely without family leave policy, of course. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 guarantees that eligible workers can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a new baby or adoption (or to care for an ailing family member) without it affecting their employment. But only about 60% of American workers meet FMLA eligibility requirements, and even those who do might not be able to afford to take 12 weeks off without a paycheck.</p> <p>There are a couple of deeply entrenched economic beliefs behind America's lack of paid parental leave: First, that companies cannot afford (and should not have to afford) the cost of paying an employee who is not working, and second, that having children is an individual choice that does not (and should not) affect society financially.</p> <p>But the truth is that both of those economic beliefs are just that &mdash; beliefs. In reality, we are shortchanging ourselves as a country by not offering paid parental leave. Here are the five most important financial reasons why paid parental leave is essential. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-best-jobs-for-working-moms-and-dads?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Best Jobs for Working Moms and Dads</a>)</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave Costs Companies Less Than Turnover</h2> <p>It seems like a pretty simple economic truth: An employee is only valuable to a company if he or she is producing work for a paycheck. Paying an employee to stay home with a new baby or newly adopted child costs the employer money without getting any benefit in return.</p> <p>The problem with this view of employment is how narrow it is. An employee's usefulness to a company is much greater than any particular 12-week span, particularly when you consider the cost of hiring a new employee to fill the gap. In California, where 12 weeks of paid family leave has been the law of the state for over a decade, researchers have found that mothers who took such leave were 6% more likely to <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w17715">be working a year later</a> than those who did not.</p> <p>The same researchers have also discovered that California women who took leave and returned to their jobs worked 15% to 20% more hours during the second year of their child's life than those who did not take leave.</p> <p>Looking at the situation from a purely financial perspective, companies are going to be better off paying new parents for leave rather than spending money on hiring new employees, particularly considering the fact that employees who have taken advantage of paid parental leave will feel great loyalty toward their employers.</p> <p>The facts from California bear this out. The President's Council of Economic Advisers reported in 2014 that more than 90% of employers affected by California's paid leave initiative saw either a <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/leave_report_final.pdf">positive or no noticeable effect</a> on profitability, turnover, or morale due to implementation of paid family leave.</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave Saves Money on Health Care</h2> <p>Mothers who have time to stay home with newborns have healthier babies than women who must return to work quickly. According to a study of European paid parental leave policies conducted by the University of North Carolina, more generous paid parental leave is found to <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167629600000473">reduce infant mortality</a> and improve overall health in children. Considering the consistently rising costs of health care in the United States, the cost of paying for parental leave is going to be much cheaper for our government, society, and private sector than the cost of paying for a sick child's health care.</p> <p>But it's not just the children who experience health benefits from paid parental leave. Mothers who have longer paid maternity leave report fewer symptoms of <a href="http://www.nber.org/bah/winter04/w10206.html">postpartum depression</a>, which means they are better able to be fully engaged both at work and with their babies. And the mental health benefits do not stop with baby's first year. According to a study by the Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging, and Retirement in the UK, women who were able to use a more generous maternity leave policy were 14% less likely to <a href="http://arno.uvt.nl/show.cgi?fid=133880">suffer late life depression</a>.</p> <p>Fathers also experience mental health benefits by getting paid time off. Israeli researchers have found fathers who work as primary caregivers for their children will see changes in an area of the brain called the amygdala that help them to become <a href="https://consumer.healthday.com/caregiving-information-6/infant-and-child-care-health-news-410/dad-s-brain-becomes-more-maternal-when-he-s-primary-caregiver-study-688176.html">better suited to parenting</a>. In addition, a father's immersion in parenting duties has also been correlated with both <a href="http://www.fira.ca/cms/documents/29/Effects_of_Father_Involvement.pdf">enhanced child development</a> and improved marital relationships &mdash; all of which can help the entire family's mental and physical health.</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave vs. Public Assistance</h2> <p>Several states in addition to California have launched statewide paid parental leave initiatives. In New Jersey, a study from the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University, discovered that mothers who had used the state's paid family leave policy were <a href="http://news.rutgers.edu/news-releases/2012/01/rutgers-study-finds-20120118#.V4P6mUYrLIV">more likely to be working</a> nine to 12 months after their baby was born than mothers who had not used the leave.</p> <p>So what were the nonworking mothers doing? In many cases, families who do not have access to paid parental leave are forced to rely on other methods of getting by. In particular, the Rutgers study found that women who took paid parental leave in New Jersey were 39% less likely to be on public assistance and 40% less likely to receive food stamps in their child's first year compared to parents who did not take leave.</p> <p>It can be difficult to tease out the differences between the taxpayer costs of state-mandated parental leave compared to the taxpayer costs of public assistance, but it seems much more financially beneficial for the family to use paid leave and ensure job continuity.</p> <h2>Paternity Leave Increases Maternal Paychecks</h2> <p>Much of the conversations about family leave centers around the mother-child bond, which is certainly understandable. Mom is the one whose body goes through the wringer during pregnancy and childbirth, and more time for her to physically recover and bond with baby is a good thing.</p> <p>But when Dad takes time off to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, the entire family benefits financially. In Sweden, which mandates that fathers must take two months off for the birth of a new child (and that time can be taken anytime in Junior's first eight years), researchers found that the <a href="https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/45782/1/623752174.pdf">mother's annual income increased</a> by nearly 7% for each month that the father took off from work.</p> <h2>The Children Are Our (Financial) Future</h2> <p>As much as parental leave helps parents, it's important to remember how much it benefits the kids. Mothers who used maternity leave will see their children attain higher education, have higher IQs, and <a href="http://ftp.iza.org/dp5793.pdf">earn higher incomes</a> than mothers who didn't, according to research from The Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn. These effects were biggest in families where the parents had less education and were less likely to have jobs that offered paid parental leave.</p> <p>That means making a relatively small sacrifice now by instituting parental leave will lead to smarter, better educated, and more financially secure adults in 30 years or so. Those kids are the ones I want taking care of things once I'm back to drooling again &mdash; not the kids who were treated as a financial burden.</p> <h2>Widening Our Vision</h2> <p>The view that parental leave is too expensive is the societal version of spending a dollar to save a nickel. Parental leave benefits parents, children, and society far more than it costs. If everyone treated the cost of having children the same way many U.S. employers do &mdash; as a cost that is too great to bear &mdash; then the world would get dark and depressing PDQ.</p> <p>Children are a social good, and we reap much more than we sow by paying the cost of parental leave.</p> <p><em>Does your employer offer paid parental leave?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits">New Job? Don&#039;t Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-companies-have-the-craziest-employee-perks">These 7 Companies Have the Craziest Employee Perks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-skills-todays-employers-value-most">7 Skills Today&#039;s Employers Value Most</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Family benefits child care employers having children health care income maternity parental leave paternity salaries turnover Wed, 20 Jul 2016 09:00:13 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1755638 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Surprising Benefits of Failure http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-benefits-of-failure <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-surprising-benefits-of-failure" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_writing_happy_86075345.jpg" alt="Woman learning surprising benefits of failure" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone loves a success story, and the world is filled with them. But what about stories of failure? Can't they be as just as educational? Just as inspirational? Equally insightful? After all, a single big win is often built on several losses. It's a truth perfectly captured in the words of Japanese industrialist and automaker, Soichiro Honda, &quot;Success is 99% failure.&quot;</p> <p>Maybe it's time to look past the sound bites of success and examine the transformational power of <em>not succeeding</em>. Here are the seven surprising benefits of failure.</p> <h2>1. Failure Teaches Lessons</h2> <p>Failure can be an efficient (if sometimes harsh) teacher. In our careers, in our financial lives, and in our frugal living goals, learning what not to do is just as important as learning what to do. And the personal bankruptcy laws in the United States embody the positive potential of failure by allowing individuals the room to right themselves, to learn from their mistakes, and move on.</p> <h2>2. Failure Keeps Us Hungry and Humble</h2> <p>The biggest enemy of long-term success is complacency. History is littered with stories of once great nations, cultures, and companies that banked on the notion that a successful past guarantees a successful future. But failure has a way of motivating us &mdash; of keeping us hungry and also humble. People who know from experience that fortunes can be lost, that competitors never sleep, that downsizing happens, and that every market boom can go bust tend to be more highly driven and much more intentional.</p> <h2>3. Failure Helps Us Overcome Fear</h2> <p>What is it that we're most afraid of when we don't take full advantage of sound investments? Or when we put off saving for retirement for decades? When we stay stuck in a job we hate, year after year? I'd argue that we're most afraid of failing. But here's the curious thing about failure: Once you've faced it, it becomes the enemy you know. That familiarity can help you move on with the confidence that a stumble or fall won't be the end of your story.</p> <h2>4. Failure Recommits Us to Our Goals</h2> <p>Personal setbacks can be clarifying. Several years ago, a close friend of mine amassed a whopping amount of consumer debt. Though he'd always considered himself fairly frugal and financially savvy, he'd let a few little slip-ups become a big downward slide and was nearly bankrupt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-attitudes-that-breed-financial-failure?ref=seealso">6 Attitudes That Breed Financial Failure</a>)</p> <p>As his closest confidant, I had a front-row seat to my friend's yearlong financial meltdown. But instead of giving up, he committed to a life of debt-free living with a renewed of sense of purpose. He paid off the card balances with laserlike focus and hasn't slipped up since.</p> <h2>5. Failure Inspires Creative Solutions</h2> <p>In 2007, my cushy and fairly lucrative contract position with a top tech firm came to an abrupt end. The situation forced me to re-evaluate what I wanted the future of my career to look like. I knew I wanted to keep working remotely, retain some level of employment autonomy, and (hopefully) avoid a severe pay cut. Over the next few years, I built a small, but thriving independent business &mdash; a business that likely would have never been launched had that contracting position continued without interruption. Though I certainly couldn't see it at the time, that job loss forced me to put something new &mdash; and ultimately, more rewarding &mdash; in motion. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-famous-failures-that-led-to-success-and-the-lessons-they-teach?ref=seealso">11 Famous Failures That Led to Success</a>).</p> <h2>6. Failure Strengthens Our Support System</h2> <p>The old poetic line, &quot;Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone,&quot; may not be entirely accurate. When we fail, we send out flares (often without realizing it) to those who matter most: friends, family, and close colleagues who can offer assistance or simply lend a sympathetic ear. The process strengthens our support system and builds a network of resources to help us succeed next time.</p> <h2>7. Failure Makes Us More Valuable Mentors</h2> <p>The most qualified teachers are those who have been through it all and know how to weather it all. A large part of effective mentorship is helping anticipate and avoid pitfalls, stay focused, and respond to challenges with creativity and optimism.</p> <p><em>Have you benefited from failure? What's the most surprising or important lesson it taught you? Share your story!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-benefits-of-failure">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-embrace-failure-keep-going-and-win">How to Embrace Failure, Keep Going, and Win</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-radical-implosion-can-help-you-get-ahead-at-work-and-everywhere-else">How &quot;Radical Implosion&quot; Can Help You Get Ahead at Work — and Everywhere Else</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-outliers-by-malcolm-gladwell">Book Review: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-famous-failures-that-led-to-success-and-the-lessons-they-teach">11 Famous Failures That Led to Success (And the Lessons They Teach)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/success-secrets-you-should-have-learned-in-high-school-but-didnt">Success Secrets You Should Have Learned in High School — But Didn&#039;t</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Life Hacks benefits courage epic fail fail failure motivation obstacles success surprising benefits Wed, 06 Jul 2016 10:30:08 +0000 Kentin Waits 1745835 at http://www.wisebread.com Didn't Get the Raise? Ask for This, Instead http://www.wisebread.com/didnt-get-the-raise-ask-for-this-instead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/didnt-get-the-raise-ask-for-this-instead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_strong_work_71194917.jpg" alt="Woman doing something after getting denied for a pay raise" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting knocked back when you've built up the courage to ask for a pay raise at work can feel like a real blow. It can seem as if your hard work has gone unnoticed, and will quickly sour working relationships if you let it. But with some segments of the economy still decidedly wobbly, every pay bump is hard-fought, and more of us than ever are getting turned down when we ask for more cash.</p> <p>If this is your situation, don't get disheartened. Instead, think about the different negotiating angles you can work, like requesting a deferred raise, extra pension or benefits, increased vacation time, a personal development payment, or even the opportunity to work from home.</p> <p>All of these can effectively put money back in your pocket, even if your boss says no to a raise.</p> <h2>Deferred or Conditional Raise</h2> <p>If you asked for a straight raise and your boss was not able (or willing) to offer it, then asking for a conditional or deferred raise is an option. A deferred raise simply means a pay raise that is delayed until an agreed date &mdash; and might be worth asking for if your company has specific short-term cash issues, or if the issue is linked to the financial year. If there is no stretch in the budget for right now, that does not necessarily mean that there won't be in future, and getting an agreement in advance is a head start.</p> <p>A conditional raise, on the other hand, is linked to your achievement on a certain task or project. This might mean that you are to receive a raise if you secure a new contract, or pass a professional qualification. You might link it to the company profits or your team performance, depending on the sort of business you work for. This gives you the opportunity to show, not only why you deserve a raise, but also how your boss can find the cash.</p> <p>But for these options to work, they should be agreed in writing, and with as much specific details as possible to back them up.</p> <h2>Boost Your Benefits</h2> <p>Depending on the type of company you work for, it might be possible to effectively boost your overall remuneration by addressing other fringe benefits instead of the salary. This is often an appealing option for bosses if the financial pots for salary and benefits are separate. Even if the one pot dries up, there might still be some wriggle room in the other!</p> <p>You should look at the benefits your company offers, and make a specific request for improvement. For example, if your business has a grading system which is linked to benefits, you might ask to be bumped up a grade &mdash; especially if this allows you access to perks like a company car or share options. If this is hard to swallow for your HR team or boss, then consider agreeing that the grade improvement now could be set off against any future entitlement.</p> <p>Think broadly when you negotiate this one. You might request company pension contributions, share options or grants, reward cards, discounts on products you actually use, or even increased vacation time. All these routes effectively boost your package and leave you with more cash in your pocket overall.</p> <h2>Invest in Yourself</h2> <p>Sometimes, investing in yourself through personal development or improved qualifications is really worthwhile. If you are struggling to get a raise at work, then why not ask for support in achieving this development or qualifications instead? Some qualifications can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-certifications-that-add-big-to-your-salary">give your salary a huge boost</a> over the long term.</p> <p>If you have courses in mind which would give you transferable skills, and also improve your performance at work, then see if your boss will pay for them. Even better, maybe you can get some study time off to reflect the extra work you are doing. These cash investments tend to be relatively small for the company, but the end result is that you have more skills with which to negotiate a better role or raise later down the line.</p> <h2>Flex</h2> <p>Ask for improved flexibility in your work schedule. This can be an equivalent to a pay raise if you can negotiate some time working from home, and therefore cut the costs of commuting or parking. If this is not possible, then perhaps working a more flexible shift would allow you to do some longer days in return for more time off.</p> <p>The benefits here are felt in reducing the cost of commuting, but also the peripheral costs of things like buying lunch at work or stocking up on gourmet coffees. On the other hand, by reducing your travel, you win back time that can be used to boost your income if you wish. To get the biggest return from this approach, use the time you save to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-side-benefits-of-your-side-hustle">set up a side hustle</a>, and suddenly it's like you're being paid double time.</p> <h2>Try Again</h2> <p>When you're asking for a pay or benefits rise, how you ask is at least as important as what you're requesting. If you've already been knocked back for a straight raise and are going in for a second pass, then it's especially important to get your message straight.</p> <p>Here are some hints to make sure you're making your case effectively.</p> <h3>Pick the Right Moment</h3> <p>If you were refused because the business is genuinely struggling, then putting the request on ice for a few months might be best. Use the time to sharpen your skills and, if necessary, start applying elsewhere.</p> <h3>Don't Whine or Give Ultimatums</h3> <p>Avoid comparing yourself to others. Don't say, &quot;I do way more than the rest of the team!&quot; As tempting as it might be, it's not going to help your case.</p> <h3>Don't Highlight Personal Financial Problems</h3> <p>If this is a real challenge, then be honest with your boss, but don't try to use your cash flow as leverage.</p> <h3>Remember You Are Not Entitled to It</h3> <p>You won't get one because you did everything asked of you, or just because the cost of living has gone up. Assume you're making a business case for the raise and present it as such, not a demand.</p> <p>As uncomfortable as it might be, asking for a raise is part of working life. And if necessary, bouncing back from rejection should be, too. Think of it as an ongoing project to market yourself and your skills and ensure that you are paid fairly, and consider different angles to make your requests so good they can't be refused.</p> <p><em>What is your experience in asking for a pay rise? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/didnt-get-the-raise-ask-for-this-instead">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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