It’s a new year, but you aren’t making any financial resolutions. It’s already a habit with you. You’re smart, savvy and you pay attention to all the personal finance advice. You’re reading Kiplinger’s. You’re clearly more engaged than the average bear.
You’ve got this, right? Well, maybe. There’s a chance even you are leaving money on the table. As the new year begins and you take stock of your financial situation and goals, are you overlooking an obvious place where you spend most of your time? Your workplace.
Your employer likely offers an array of benefits and perks you might not even be aware of simply because they may not be explicitly advertised. In addition, the new tax law has created ‐ as well as preserved — opportunities to improve your financial wellness. While we tend to focus on getting ahead at work and increasing our earnings, we often forget one of the basic rules of wealth creation: Every dollar saved is a dollar earned.
Sure, you’re likely aware that your company has a matching 401(k) contribution. In addition, every pretax dollar your company allows you to put aside saves you 20 cents on your taxes if you have a 20% effective tax rate (well done, by the way, if you do!). You also likely know the annual open enrollment period offers you the opportunity to purchase additional life insurance, disability insurance and other protection benefits.
However, there are additional things you can do to improve your financial wellness over the coming year. Here are a just a few workplace benefits/perks you possibly could take advantage of right now:
1. Increase your health savings account contributions.
While saving for retirement is certainly an important priority, many of us fail to adequately anticipate increasingly high, and more frequent, health care costs. If you are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan, you may be able to contribute to a health savings account (HSA), which can help you manage those costs without eating away at your retirement savings. An employer does not control whether you are able to contribute to an account, just whether to provide a health plan that offers an account. And increasingly, many employers are choosing this option. Some companies even offer an employer contribution.
The main requirement to being able to contribute to a health savings account is being enrolled in a high-deductible health plan, though there are some caveats. For instance, you may not also be enrolled in a non-high deductible health plan, Medicare or Tricare, or reside outside the U.S.