Three Benefits Microsoft Employees Should Look for With Open Enrollment

 

Here are the top 3 benefits I suggest you review:

  1. Perks + (previously the Stay Fit program) – This year you can still take advantage of the $800 Stay Fit reimbursement for health and wellness expenses such as gym memberships, exercise equipment, and sports equipment. In 2021, your new Perks+ benefit will increase your old Stay Fit benefit by 50% to $1,200! This new benefit offers a broader range of reimbursement options to include student loan payments, pet care, hobbies, and more. And for those of you wondering – PRO Club is still an option but a few of the other gym memberships have been discontinued. It is important that you actively select your Perks+ option at enrollment.
  2. 401(k) Plans – 2020 Employee deferrals stay the same for 2021 at $19,500, but those over the age of 50 will see their catch-up contribution limits increase by $500 to $6,500. With the IRS maximum contribution limits for 401(k) plans to increase to $58,000, this means the Microsoft Mega Backdoor Roth 401(k) strategy is better than ever. Review my previous article explaining the mechanics and why it is one of the best retirement planning strategies for highly compensated Microsoft employees.
  3. Medical Plans – A few highlights worth noting:
  • Microsoft has increased it’s Mental Health and Chemical Dependency coverage for out-of-network providers from 70% to 90% of allowed charges for both outpatient and inpatient care for all Premera Plans.
  • The new Premera maternity bundle for individuals expecting a child will pay only a single $500 copay for routine maternity care, including professional prenatal and delivery care, regardless of delivery method.
  • Dental Plus Plan has increased the orthodontic lifetime maximum coverage from $2,000 to $2,500.

Take Action Now

Open enrollment closes on November 20, so act fast – review your benefits here! If you have questions on the 401(k) plan, how to best manage your compensation (base, bonus, deferred compensation, and ESPP shares), Life and Disability insurance options, or want to explore working with an experienced Financial Advisor, click here to schedule a free 15-minute chat when it is most convenient for you.

 

James Nevers,CFP® is a Senior Advisor at Soundmark Wealth Management, LLC. James works closely with physicians, business owners, directors and executives at Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing, and other successful individuals to help them define their financial goals and implement an ongoing financial planning process.

This report is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute a solicitation to purchase any security or advisory services. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. An investment in any security involves significant risks and any investment may lose value. Refer to all risk disclosures related to each security product carefully before investing. Soundmark Wealth Management, LLC, its advisors and its affiliates do not provide tax or accounting services. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax or accounting advice. Please consult with your tax advisor prior to engaging in any transaction.

Five Reasons Why Women Make Great Investors

As a financial professional, I have experienced, and continue to observe, a bias against women as successful investors – a bias that is unfounded in the real-life decisions made by women as they address their financial goals.  Despite the career advances women have made in all dimensions of our society, the perception persists that women … Continued

The Bull Run Dominates Over the Last Century

  Stock returns are volatile, but nearly a century of bull and bear markets shows that the good times have outshined the bad times. • From 1926 through March 31, 2020, the S&P 500 Index experienced 17 bear markets, or a fall of at least 20% from a previous peak. The declines ranged from —21% … Continued

Can I Still Retire at the End of 2020?

  Key Takeaways Considerations for physicians looking to retire soon Stress-test your portfolio with worst-case scenarios Diversifying can help protect you from the downside risks of investing   Consider this possible scenario: In 2015 you informed your hospital that you planned to retire at the end of 2020. Hospital management agreed and you started transitioning … Continued

529 Plan Dilemmas in a COVID-19 World

  Fall is my favorite time of year, something about the change of season and the kids heading back to school makes it feel like a new beginning. That will not be the case this year for many students, as more schools confirm they will begin this year teaching remotely. What does this mean for … Continued

Trump or Biden? Does It Matter With a Well Thought Out Financial Plan?

With the upcoming presidential election just over three months away, the rhetoric is sure to ramp up. Whatever side of the aisle you reside on, you are bound to have concerns about the incoming president and the effect on the economy. However, making financial decisions based on your political views or election expectations can be … Continued

Helping Governments and Businesses Go Back to Work Safely

Soundmark advisor, Liz McQueen, CRPC® and her husband, John, are volunteering their talents to Restart Partners, a Seattle based nonprofit organization that works to develop partnerships with states, cities, and universities throughout the world with the goal of enabling people to resume life in a post COVID-19 environment. Restart Partners newest initiative, “WearAMaskWA,” is a … Continued

What Happens to Stocks After a Recession?

  As an investor, it would be understandable to abandon ship and sell off equities because of perceptions of a recession and its impact. However, history tells us another story. Dimensional Fund Advisor’s Q2 market report shares data covering the last 15 recessions in the U.S in the past century. Across the two years that … Continued

Preparing Heirs for Their Inheritance

Inheriting money comes with plenty of benefits. From being less worried about paying for life’s necessities to enjoying the luxuries affluence can bring, inheritors often find that many of life’s key stumbling blocks are no longer in their paths. That said, an inheritance doesn’t automatically mean a worry-free life of ease. Inheriting wealth can actually … Continued