Are Voluntary Benefits the Right Solution?

The past few weeks have found me spending most of my time talking with the leaders of small businesses about employee benefits.  The starting place for most of these conversations has been the question, “what can I do about benefits when I don’t have any money in my budget to pay for that”?  It’s a great question and it touches lots of pieces of the small business owner’s team building strategy.

In a recent article Corporate Wellness Magazine hit this topic dead on. (see the article at http://bit.ly/2JHpEWp)  They wrote that the solution for many (most?) small businesses is to offer voluntary benefits.  This is most certainly the right option for almost every small business and there are lots of ways to put them in place.  Here are some things to consider.

  1.  Any business with 3 or more employees is potentially eligible to add voluntary benefits to their benefits plan.
  2. You have a number of options for insurance carriers to find the right fit for your small business.  While we prefer and usually recommend Aflac, they are not always the right solution and we believe every business should have an adviser who brings all of the options to the table.
  3. Voluntary benefits offer flexibility to the team because each individual can choose the benefit options that best meet their budget and best cover their individual or family risk.

Now consider this. Many small business owners in the process of exploring voluntary benefits discover that one of the best ways to attract new talent and reward their current team members is to offer to pay for one or more “supplemental” or “voluntary” products.  And the cost is surprisingly low.  Here’s an example:

We recently worked with a small business (only three employees) to help them develop a benefits strategy.  In the process we helped them figure out where to get health insurance for themselves without paying the high cost of an individual market place plan.  We also helped them review voluntary options with Aflac.  As we were going through those options the business owner had an ahh haa moment.  They realized they could offer every team member Accident/Injury coverage for less than $34.00 per month per employee.  When they did the math they figured out their total cost for this plan was equal to less than .20 cents per hour.  They had been considering offering a .50 cents per hour raise to their team.

The business owner discussed this with the employees and learned, much to their surprise, that the employees would rather have the benefit than the raise.  Why?  The raise, after taxes, would net the average employee somewhere around $18.00 per week.  The insurance plan would give them coverage to protect against accident or injury that could be worth thousands of dollars to the individual employees.  For this team, that mattered more than the small increase in weekly pay.

Here’s the point. Small business owners have options.  Too often the problem is that you don’t know what the options are.  We are here to help with that.  Contact us today to schedule a review of your benefits options. We promise, the time will be well spent.

Cheers,

Kevin

Guess Who’s Having A Baby?

I remember the night I came home and my wife started our dinner conversation with that question.  I immediately thought of our circle of friends wondering which one of them had received the happy news.  I wasn’t prepared for what she said next.  With a huge smile on her face she said “US.”  What? Who? When? Oh my!!  I was shocked, then I was over joyed.  This is what we had always wanted.  It was really happening.  What a blessing.

The next day, sitting at work I began to think about all the things we would have to do to be ready for the baby to arrive.  I started building a to do list.  You can imagine how it went: paint the baby’s room, get a crib, buy baby toys, buy baby clothes, buy life insurance.

Wait, what?  Where did that last item come from? What new dad puts buy life insurance on his new baby to do list?  I did, and here’s why.  I have seen too many times the tragedy that visits a family when something tragic happens and mom or dad are taken from the family.  While we are young we feel invincible, but none of us can predict the day or hour of our death.  Its not something that we keep at the top of our mind, but it should be in our mind and it should be in our preparations.

Life Insurance is a gift of LOVE!  It is one among many ways to show the people who matter in our lives how much they matter to us.  As we approach Valentines Day this year and millions of men and women consider what gifts to give to their romantic partners, consider this.  Prepare for the future economic security of your family now.  Contact me today and let me show you how.

Jobs, The Stock Market, and Your Business: I Have Good News and Bad News.

The Dow Jones Average passed over $25,000 for the first time in history yesterday.  Among the key drivers of the continuing growth in the market is the blistering pace of the US economy.  Over 250,000 new jobs were created in December and the pace seems to be continuing if not accelerating. Unemployment is at nearly historic lows across the US.  All of this is good news, right?  Well . . .

If you are an investor or an executive in a large business this is all great news.  The economy is growing at a strong pace and all the indicators available in the moment are positive for continued growth this year.  The Tax Reduction and Jobs bill seems to have had the desired short term effect of spurring new investment by big business in the US.  Jobs are being created at every level and opportunity is strong.  So what’s the bad news?

Talk to small business owners and you may discover that there is a growing problem finding, attracting, and keeping top employees.  Here’s the issue: when unemployment numbers approach “full employment” finding and keeping top talent becomes increasingly difficult.  Just like a hot real estate market creates demand and allows sellers to demand higher prices, so a hot employment market creates intense competition among employers for the best talent.  Big business attacks this challenge by increasing total compensation, offering improved working conditions, providing perks, and expanding benefits offerings.  How do small and medium sized businesses compete in this environment?

For many (most?) small businesses its a huge dilemma.  They want and need to have top people to grow and thrive, but they don’t believe they can afford to offer the higher compensation, perks, and benefits packages the big companies can.  But are they correct?  Are the benefits packages really beyond their reach?  Did you know that in most cases even the smallest of employers can actually offer a solid benefits program, often at no cost to the employer?

There are many different kind of benefits programs and insurance offerings.  Small employers have often not had the information they need to know how make a benefits/insurance package available that doesn’t break the budget.  In just the past three years we have worked with nearly 100 small firms to help them create a great benefits program that their employees love and their budget appreciates.  The key is understanding what is available and how to make it work for you.

Here’s the challenge: take 30 minutes in the next 30 days to learn what is possible and develop a plan to make it happen for your business.  Give us a call and we will be happy to talk with you about the possible.

Cheers,

Kevin

The Top 5 Things That Keep Business Owners Up At Night – 2018

The Tax Reduction and Jobs Act of 2017 is now the law of the land.  I have read so many articles and opinions about the new law it’s hard sometime to separate truth from fiction.  One thing is clear, though, there is still an awful lot of uncertainty for the small and medium sized business owner.  Looking ahead to 2018 I’m reminded that there is still plenty to keep a business owner up at night and I got to wondering what it is that other business owners are concerned about.

I started doing some looking around and found a Forbes article from January 2017 with the title Top 10 Things That Keep Business Owners Up At Night.”  Reading it through I thought it was right on many of the things that I think about, but it missed a few for me as well.  Then I got to thinking, maybe what I need to do is ask other business owners what they think going into 2018.  So, here is your chance to join the conversation.

To start, check out the article from last hear.  You can find it at http://bit.ly/2CSOIXB.  After you read it, please take a few minutes and comment on my page about what you think are the key issues in 2018.  I’m looking to compile a list of the top 5 issues business owners are concerned about heading into the new year.  I’m very interested to know what you think.

Cheers,

Kevin

Congress Passes Tax Reduction and Jobs ACT

The US Congress today passed the long awaited tax reduction bill. There has been much discussion of this in the media and on line for the past several months, most of it driven by a media intent on making America believe that the bill would be destructive and give all the perks to the richest Americans. The bill is now approved a set to become law as soon as it is signed.  At first glance, it seems to me there is much in the bill that is good.  There are still a number of things I have questions about.  I wonder what others think about the bill and its provisions.  To help get the discussion moving and keep in it on track, I have provided a link here Policy Summary to a summary of the policy provisions provided by Congress.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts.