On the road to financial freedom every dollar counts, but many people throw away money every day because they don’t know it’s available. It’s not too late to get on the path to eliminating debt and reaching financial responsibility. Are you missing out on these valuable benefits?
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1. Retirement Fund Matching on your retirement contribution
- Many companies offer to match up to a certain percent. It’s an automatic return on investment.
2. Forgotten Retirement Accounts
- Nearly half of Americans abandoned a retirement plan with a previous employer.
- Almost 20% of those accounts are worth $50k or more.
- Consolidate old accounts with your current 401k or IRA to avoid losing track of old retirement plans and paying unnecessary maintenance fees.
- How to find it: Contact the Plan Administrator at your former employer.
Discounted Employee Stock Purchase Plan
- Buying discounted stocks is an automatic return on investment in the amount of your discount.
- There are tax benefits to holding the stock at least one year past purchase date and two years past offering date.
- WARNING! Diversify your holdings. No single stock should be more than 5-10% of your entire portfolio.
4. Corporate Discount and Partnerships
- If you work for a large corporation, you may be able to get discounts for your cell phone plan, gym membership, even on retail purchases like computers.
- Many employers are members of employee benefit programs that offer discounted prices at amusement parks or on movie tickets.
5. Free or Discounted Estate Planning
- Avoid costly legal battles and unnecessary medical care by detailing your healthcare wishes up front. Local hospitals will provide a basic health care directive. Or download a state-specific form from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
- Draft legal documents like simple wills and power of attorney using free or low cost online options.
- TIP! Drafting your own documents can save you money, but always protect yourself by having an attorney look over your final document to avoid costly mistakes!
6. Lost Pension Benefits
- Some pension plans are partly insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. (PBGC)
- Use the Unclaimed Pension Search to discover missing pensions from a forgotten plan. Many people assume that bankruptcy of their employers also wipes out their pensions.
- PBGC has almost $197 million in unclaimed pension benefits for over 36,000 people.
7. Spousal Social Security
- You are entitled to benefits equal to up to 1/2 of your spouse’s full retirement amount.
- Spousal benefits do not decrease your spouse’s benefits.
- Being divorced does not mean you can’t collect spousal benefits if you were married for at least 10 years AND you have not remarried.
- Spousal benefits are paid even if you have never worked a job which contributed to Social Security.
How to collect the maximum benefit: Spousal benefits + your own (if your Social Security benefit will be higher).
- 1) Apply for spousal benefits upon reaching full retirement age.
- 2) Allow your Social Security benefit to grow to its maximum payout.
- 3) Apply to switch to your own Social Security benefit.
- TIP! Unmarried children under the age of 18 (with some exceptions) may also be eligible to collect your Social Security benefits.
8. Spousal Survivor Benefits
- Social Security can act as a life insurance plan in addition to a retirement plan.
- Lump sum survivor benefits are only $255.
- But! Monthly benefits for survivors can be equal to as much as 100% of your benefits based on the age and circumstance for you and your family.
- Note: Survivor benefits cap generally around 150-180 % of your basic rate.
Provided by Total Bankruptcy.
Make the most of Your Benefits
Taking care of your finances requires and careful eye out for any opportunity. Total Bankruptcy helps you realize your financial potential. See our pages on Employee benefits in Bankruptcy and Seven benefits of filing Bankruptcy.