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Open Enrollment Completed

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Thank you so much for all the tips and comments on my Open Enrollment post! I really found the comments to be insightful and incredibly helpful as I decided on my plans.

In the end, I opted to keep my current insurance (a PPO) and a flex spending account for both health and dependent care purchases. I may still switch to an HSA in the future, but didn’t feel comfortable doing so without any EF whatsoever right now. So it will be a consideration in future years, but not at this time.

I increased the amount of deductions for my health HSA but reduced the deductions for my dependent care HSA. And the cost of my medical insurance went up a little as well.

In the end, here are the benefits-related deductions I’ll see per paycheck:

In my open enrollment post, I’d posted all of my paycheck deductions (including required investment, taxes, parking permit, etc.) But to do an apples-to-apples comparison of just the benefits-related deductions (including health insurance, dental insurance, and the two FSA contributions), here’s how things stack up:

2016 per paycheck deduction = $382.90

2017 per paycheck deduction = $340.33

So I’ll be saving a little bit per check, but its really a pretty negligible amount. I also hope to reduce the amount of taxes taken out (pending the CPA’s review), so I may be able to “add back” a little bit more money to my take-home pay after our 2016 taxes have been finalized.

All in all, it’s still a pretty large deduction per paycheck, but I have excellent insurance and am happy with our coverage thus far. I pay for my dad’s health insurance (albeit out of his own funds, but I am the money-manager), and he pays $1,000/month for private insurance for a single individual with crappy coverage! Ugh! So I know I am really very lucky to have such good coverage at such a great rate! And as an aside, my Dad’s birthday is in March and at that time he’ll be eligible for Medicare, which would be great because that will give him some cancer coverage. So hopefully that means a big reduction in his  health insurance costs.

I just wanted to follow-up to let everyone know what we’d decided regarding open enrollment. Thanks, again, for all your helpful suggestions!

 


“Fun” Little Freak Out

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Let me share with you a story about an all-out “FREAK OUT” moment I recently had regarding my pay.

In terms of back-story, I am on a 9-month contract which ends May 19. When my new contract goes into effect I’ll be switching to a 12-month contract. But that contract does not go into effect until the start of the fiscal year, July 1st. In the interim (May 20-June 30), I will be receiving pay designated as “supplemental compensation” at my current rate of pay (my raise doesn’t go into effect until the new contract).

Since the academic year is soon ending, I emailed our business manager last week asking if I needed to complete any paperwork/what I need to do to get the supplemental compensation to kick in. There was a bit of a process involved last summer and I can’t remember the exact steps.

The business manager replies back basically saying (paraphrasing), “I have no record of you receiving supplemental compensation this summer. Your new contract starts July 1st.”

And I’m like, “WHAT THE WHAT?!?!?!?!” (insert the Scream emoji face)

I’m instantly reviewing old emails and re-living old conversations in my mind. Is it possible that I misunderstood? That I simply thought I would be receiving supplemental compensation but that I’ll actually be going AN ENTIRE 6 WEEK PERIOD WITH NO PAY WHATSOEVER?!?!?!

I call my husband in a panic. How are we going to survive? Here, I was just saying how these next two months are going to be super tight…I didn’t realize we’d literally have NO INCOME during this entire time period! We (stupidly, in hindsight) sent our entire $5,500 emergency fund to the IRS when we were setting up/establishing a payment plan for our 2016 taxes. What were we thinking?! The IRS felt like an emergency at the time, but with the gift of hindsight, I now realize we never should’ve entirely wiped out all liquid savings. What are going to do?!

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

I allowed my heart-rate to come down. I emailed my boss to gently inquire into this issue. Was I mistaken? Or am I supposed to be working for the next 6 weeks, as I had planned (not to mention, I’ve got work meetings piled a mile high on my calendar, and all kinds of tasks to accomplish over that time).

My boss was at a conference at the time so it took what felt like an eternity for her to respond. My initial email was sent around 2pm in an afternoon and I didn’t hear back until nearly noon the next day. It was just a simple clerical error. YES, I am supposed to be working (as planned). And YES,  I will be receiving supplemental compensation under my current rate of pay until my new contract goes into effect on July 1st (at which point my nice raise will go into effect).

Just breathe.

I have taken a couple lessons from this experience. First and foremost – we made a horrendous mistake in completely wiping out our EF. We need to get back to at least a “baby” $1,000 EF ASAP!!! Not sure how that’s going to happen given that we’re still grappling just to tread water and not lose ground over the summer. Either way, regardless, we need to have at least a starter EF to help us if, heaven forbid, we face a similar crisis in the future.  Second, rather than rushing to panic – maybe just reach out to my boss immediately and try to save the panic for later. In this case, I would’ve been able to sort out the situation and no panic was needed at all. Also, I’m glad I was proactive in reaching out to the business manager BEFORE the semester ended. It would’ve been a terrible surprise to have the semester end and then all the sudden have NO MORE PAYCHECKS when I was depending on them to pay our bills and feed our family! Yikes!

 

Have you had any financial “close calls” recently?


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