Every year, the vast majority of Americans must “elect” their benefits for the year. In the benefits biz, this occasion is called “open enrollment season” and if refers, as the name implies, the time of year when employees get to select their benefits — primarily health/medical, dental, vision and life insurance options — through their employer for the coming year. Something around 75 percent of employees who get benefits through their employer get them with a January 1 start date, which puts them making their selections some time between October and mid-December.
We at the Benefits of FI aren’t just here to show you how to make the most of open enrollment, we’re here to make the most of your FI goals during open enrollment!
With that in mind, we are running a series of posts over the coming weeks that will get you ready for OE, give you ideas for how to view the various criteria for making benefits elections, and ultimately to help you view OE through a FI/FIRE lens. We will also post some of our favorite posts about benefits across the FI blogging universe, to further give you a leg up in selecting benefits for the year.
First up, a little pre-game — knowing what to prioritize in your mind before OE starts.
The FI Way to Think about Your Benefits
First, you’ll want to get your mind FI-focused for what’s ahead. In Shawn’s first post for The Benefits of FI, he lays out the way to approach thinking about your benefits and how the right mindset will help lead you toward the right benefits for you, your family, and your FI journey.
Your Benefits are Income. Treat them that way.
Now that you’re in the right mindset, here’s how I framed up why and how you should treat your benefits as income. It gives you the right perspective that enables you to go beyond a “should I or shouldn’t I” get various types of coverage to “what are the financial impacts to me and my dependents based on if and what kinds of benefits I choose to get every year?
How to “Think in Bets” about your Benefits
If you’re still on the fence at this point, our contributor Jon Olson provides you with another perspective. What I like about this approach is that is acknowledges the real tradeoffs that come with choosing to have benefits, and why and how those tradeoffs can be worth it if you realize beforehand that there is risk and reward in what you choose.
Now that you have a solid overview of what makes benefits important to the FI journey and what considerations should impact your decisions the most, get set to get down and dirty on some of the criteria (and math) you can use to make the best benefits choices based on your financial circumstances and goals. Stay tuned!Like