Budgeting
Category

By In Budgeting, Individual Health Insurance

Bad Health Coverage Options for FIRE Folks, Freelancers, Gig Workers, Self-Employed and Perhaps Even Trustafarians

If you fall into the broad category of people who don’t qualify for employer-provided health insurance or a government-provided option like Medicare, Tricare or Medicaid, now is the time of year that you should start thinking about your options.

We at The Benefits of FI have preached the importance of having high-quality coverage (read: coverage that is required to pay for a lot of different kinds of health care services and potential needs) coverage for you and your family. But since this FI community is nothing if not fiercely independent, we want to give you a few more details about the options you’re reviewing, in case you don’t take our advice to go with the (probably) more expensive option that is (probably) also the smartest option…

(more…)

Read more

By In Budgeting, Do the Math, Featured, Financial Independence, General Benefits Knowledge, Health Insurance

Congratulations, You’re FIRED! Health (and Health Coverage) Tips for Early Retirees

If you’re in the FIRE vanguard, retiring in your late 20s to mid-30s, you’re (hopefully) living the dream healthy enough to enjoy your retirement to its fullest. If you’ve planned your housing, transportation and other common living expenses well, they will be quite manageable within your budget until it’s time to shuffle off this mortal coil.

But keeping that coil tightly wrapped gets harder with each passing year. Don’t risk your financial health by compromising on your physical health — get insurance. And not just the cheapest insurance. Make sure it’s good enough that it doesn’t leave you with huge bills if something bad happens. Such decisions and expenses should all be part of your FI plan, even if it means a few extra years of saving to be fully prepared for a long, healthy life of early retirement freedom.

Here are some tips for that early retirement health care party…

(more…)

Read more

By In Budgeting, Do the Math, General Benefits Knowledge, Money-Saving Tips, Savings, Savings and Budgets, Student Loan Debt, Taxes

How to Identify Your Scarcities and Use Them to Your FI Advantage

Recently, at a PTA meeting for my daughter’s school, the school’s two parent-volunteer yoga instructors gave a short presentation (with student participation) on the easy yoga and meditation techniques they practiced with our kids. It was fun, funny and heartwarming to see the kids really get into their practice. It was also illuminating for us as parents to try it ourselves. When it got to the mindful meditation part, one of the instructors mentioned how focusing on your breath opened a path to the amygdala, which “will get you off of the treadmill of worry and into relaxing mindfulness.” I used to find these types of descriptions a little silly, but the more I’ve tried to be more mindful in my own daily life, the more I can buy into this idea of needing a real shift in mindset to get from worry to deeper conscience.

It reminded me of a book I read last year called Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives. It’s a wonderful book that can impact the way you approach both personal and professional challenges. It’s more of a research-oriented book than self-help, so don’t go into it expecting to get a blueprint for finding mindfulness. It’s more about the research the authors did on how scarcity impacts how we think and make decisions — and it really does.

As you seek financial independence, chances are you are making plans that are deeply impactful to the two most common forms of scarcity: money and time. You’ll want and need to ensure that you’re making the most of both to reach your FIRE goals. But you’ll also want to make sure that you understand when you’re making decisions based on a scarcity of one or the other, or both, and what you can do to work against making bad decisions.

(more…)

Read more

By In Budgeting, Other Voluntary Benefits, Student Loan Debt

The Benefits of Employer-Provided Student Loan Debt Pay-down

Why are an increasing number of employers offering benefits that address financial wellness, including student loan payoff? Simply put, it’s good for their business. A non-distracted workforce equates to more productivity. It is also a powerful recruitment tool.

While there are benefits to employees who are trying to get out from under the yoke of student loan debt, are there better ways to protect one’s financial future? Before you sign up for the company student loan debt repayment benefit, there are some things you need to consider.

(more…)

Read more