Optimizing Employee Benefit Options

It’s getting to be that time of year. If you haven’t already, you should soon receive your 2020 employee benefit options from your employer. These options typically involve selecting a health insurance plan, dental, and vision coverage. Your employer may also provide for things such as life insurance, disability insurance, and/or a flexible spending account (FSA). Because you have to wait a full year before you can change your mind, it’s important to take care with your elections. Check out our infographic on benefits enrollment for a quick summary Partnershipwm.com/benefits-enrollment. Life insurance – Employers often provide some sort of basic […]

The Right to Disconnect

In reading through the fall issue of HR magazine, I came across an interesting article that would seem odd to an American audience. The article focuses on France and Spain’s increased effort to decrease workplace stress by allowing employees the right to disconnect from electronic devices while not on duty. In our society, where exempt employees seem to be on the clock sometimes 24/7, this approach may be something to consider as we look at our own work-life balance. Specifically, the article cites that the blurring of the line between work and personal time, and the accompanying stress and intrusion […]

Including Your Pet in Your Estate Plan

Normally when we first discuss the need for clients to include their pets into their estate plan, they think we’re crazy. My wife and I, however, view this as a very serious issue. We feel that our dogs, Fenway and Roxy, are a part of our family. If we pass away while they are alive, we want to make sure they are cared for by someone who is capable and who wants to care for them. Selecting a guardian – The first decision you need to make is finding someone to care for your pet. Not everyone who loves your […]

Coping With Death at Work

Certainly not an uplifting topic, but something that does happen on occasion is the death of a coworker. Whether this coworker was diagnosed with an illness months prior, or the death is sudden, the loss of a coworker is one of those things that can impact everyone. It is in these times where managers and staff will reach out to Human Resources to ask, “What can we do, or what should we do for our team?” The answer to these questions may vary depending on situations, but the subsequent paragraphs will provide some guidance. What I usually tell these managers […]

Avoiding Online Real Estate Fraud

As more and more of our business is conducted online, incidents of online real estate related fraud have increased and robbed people of their money and their dreams of finding the right home for themselves and their family.Rental fraud on Craigslist – The number of these type of incidents is rising and are very current. We recently heard of an example of a vacant, rehabbed home listed for sale that was targeted by con artists. Somehow, they were able to jimmy open the third party combination lockbox (not the secure realtor lockbox we use), duplicate the key, and start showing […]

Planning for Diminished Financial Capacity

According to the SEC, “’Diminished financial capacity’ is a term used to describe a decline in a person’s ability to manage money and financial assets to serve his or her best interests, including the inability to understand the consequences of investment decisions.” (Bit.ly/2Mq4i3y) Of all the things we plan for, it’s likely that we’re least interested in and least likely to plan for diminished capacity. The thought of losing one’s mental capacity is, for some, a fate worse than death, but, it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored. According to the World Health Organization, a new case of dementia is diagnosed […]

Fostering an Inclusive Climate

Employees often see themselves as passive recipients of a work climate, as if it is something that is created by the organization for which they work. But the reality is that employees co-create the climate, along with the manager/leader of the department. This is a fascinating topic to explore, and a continuous challenge. I recently discussed this topic with another HR professional as we delved into three different departments within the same organization. In all three departments, employees have complained about low morale, gossiping, lack of respect for one another, and low trust. This has been an ongoing theme for […]

Baltimore at a Crossroads

With the recent resignation, in disgrace, of Mayor Catherine Pugh, Baltimore finds itself at a  crucial inflection point in its history.   The last three elected leaders of the city have left office either as a result of criminal corruption or ineffectual incompetence. During the same period, the leadership of the police department has become a revolving door for the same reasons: one of our recent police chiefs is currently in jail for income tax evasion. The resulting rise in the city’s murder rate can only be seen as a direct result of the poor choices made by those selected […]

Should I Refinance My Mortgage?

Although mortgage rates climbed steadily in 2018, they’ve come down since the beginning of the year. According to BankRate.com, current rates for 30-year mortgages are 3.98% nationally (rates posted online as of this May 17th). While you may have a low rate on your current mortgage, you may want to consider evaluating your refinance options to lock in potentially lower rates. How do I know if a refinance makes sense for me? The most common reason to refinance is to reduce your monthly payment. Even with the fees paid to your lender, a large enough decrease in your interest rate […]

In the Heat of the Moment

Let’s face it, the workplace can often times prove challenging. It’s not always easy to put your best foot forward. And when caught in the act, we are often confronted with feedback, whether we ask for it or not. In the heat of the moment, sometimes the feedback comes across as criticism rather than helpful; as a personal dig rather than a valuable piece of advice. As you can likely imagine, working in healthcare provides many “feedback” opportunities. Working in an industry where customer service is measured constantly, the pressure of financial loss hangs in the background if we don’t […]