Don’t Miss These Year-End Retirement-Planning Deadlines

It’s not too late to ensure that your retirement planning is on track to maximize tax savings before the end of 2017. Understanding end-of-year deadlines can help you maximize your tax savings as well as prepare for another year of saving. “Tax planning should really start in January, not in November or December,” says Randall Luebke, a financial planner at Lifetime Paradigm. “That said, if you do wait, be sure to do everything you can to reduce the taxes you pay.” Now is the time to accelerate your tax-deductible expenses and put off receiving taxable income. Here are some tips. Consider Roth Accounts If you’ve been thinking about converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, it’s a good time to make a decision and act because you must file forms by the end of the year. With Dec. 31 falling on a Sunday in 2017, experts recommend aiming for …

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How Big Data Is Changing HR

One of the most revolutionary trends technology has brought to the field of human resources is the development of powerful software that can crunch enormous amounts of data. Through the use of “Big Data,” HR departments can analyze the vast stores of information they possess and identify patterns in employee recruitment, performance and retention that can provide valuable insights into what’s happened in the past — and even make predictions about what’s likely to happen in the future. By basing their predictions on hard data instead of instinct or casual observation, HR professionals can discover insights they may never have found through conventional means, and make confident decisions backed by solid evidence. Using Big Data is “seeing beyond the obvious,” says Luciano Pesci, CEO of Emperitas, a Utah tech company that builds customized business information tools and predictive analytics, and performs market research. “Big Data presents far more than a …

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How to Decide Which Voluntary Benefits to Choose This Open Enrollment Season

If your company offers a multitude of voluntary benefits options, congratulations. These offerings are a valuable benefit that can make your life easier. Still, the open enrollment process and all the paperwork that comes with it can sometimes feel like a hassle. How do you decide which benefits are worth it? Here are a few tips to help you choose the voluntary benefits that will work best for you and your family this open enrollment season. Calculate Costs and Benefits Most voluntary benefits by themselves are relatively inexpensive and are less so when you purchase them through an employer rather than on the open market. That said, anything you pay for but don’t need is a waste of money. To help you determine which benefits are smart buys for your unique needs, Aoife Quinn, founder of Quinn HR Consulting Group, suggests a two-pronged approach: Look at the services you’ve needed …

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Does Your Company Offer Competitive Paid Leave?

Most U.S. employers aren’t required to offer their employees paid leave, but many do and this year they’re offering more. According to a recent Employee Benefits research report by the Society for Human Resource Management, more U.S. employers are offering paid leave benefits. For example, compared to previous years, more employers are offering: Paid sick leave plans Paid parental leave Paid vacation time Paid personal days As these numbers change, it’s important to review your own leave policies to ensure your offerings are competitive. Offering less paid leave than other companies in your industry or geographic area will make it harder for you to attract and maintain top talent. Top Paid Benefits According to the SHRM survey, the top paid leave benefit is paid holidays, which are offered by 98 percent of respondents. Other popular paid leave benefits include: Paid bereavement leave, offered by 86 percent of respondents. Paid jury duty …

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5 Things All Employees Need to Understand About Benefits

Keeping track of what your company’s employee benefits cover and how they can work for you can be a challenge, but it is vitally important. Your employer provides benefits as part of your compensation, and if you’re not taking advantage of them, you can miss out on some important savings and coverage. Here are five things all employees need to understand about their benefits. 1. Your Health Insurance Costs You need to understand what your health insurance costs are, including how much of the premium you pay each month, any co-pay and the annual deductible, says PJ Wallin, CPA and CFP at W Financial. “Employees should know what their benefit options are, as well as for their family and who pays the costs for each. Many employers may cover a larger portion of an individual, but then subsidize less of their family.” If your employer offers a choice of different …

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