If you are a full-time employee with benefits, it’s getting near decision time. While most people equate open enrollment with health care benefits, this is a good time to reassess your overall benefit package in light of your retirement goals. Here are some things you should consider before you sign on the dotted line for 2020.

Maximize Your Contributions and Rebalance

Obviously, you will want to re-assess your 401(k) and 403(b) contributions if your employer match has changed. If possible, you should take advantage of your full employer match, if you are not doing so already.

But this is also a good chance to look at your diversification and rebalance accordingly. If your plan did particularly well, you might be over-weighted, and your investments may no longer reflect your risk tolerance. If other investments did well, you might want to step up your contributions to your tax-deferred accounts. Your adviser should be able to assist you with this.

Double check to see if your company has any investment opportunities you might have glossed over as you filled out your paperwork, and take advantage of any that make sense.

Your Health Care Needs Heading Into Retirement

Your company’s human resources department has likely kept your apprised of any substantial change to your health care plan. But now is a good time to take stock of your overall health and consider what coverage you need.

If you are in good health, and your employer offers it, consider putting money into a health savings account (HSA). This is money that will be available to you down the road but will earn money in the interim.

Even better, HSAs are considered tax-advantaged, meaning you can make contributions pre-tax AND withdraw them tax free, provided certain criteria are met. If you don’t wind up using your HSA to cover medical expenses, you can still take out money down the road, so it can work well as an investment vehicle.

HSA plans tend to have high deductibles, so if you are anticipating a major surgery or potential health complications, this might not be the right time to switch.

Review Your Beneficiaries... And Your Estate Plan While You're At It

You probably listed your beneficiaries when you first enrolled in benefits with your company. Now would be a good time to revisit those beneficiaries.

Since you enrolled, have you created or modified your will? Remember, your listed beneficiaries supersede the language in your will. Have your life circumstances changed? If you have divorced, re-married, or if one of your children left home and became a billionaire, this would be a good time to look at who is getting what.

Even if you haven’t had any drastic life changes, now is a good time to look at your estate plan. If your children are in different tax brackets, for example, dividing your assets evenly among them will mean the IRS takes a bigger share.

As always, your retirement is not a “set it and forget it” kind of deal. Think of your open enrollment period as your annual checkup, meet with your adviser, and make sure your investments remain aligned to your financial goals.


The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.

This article originally appeared in the Pioneer Press. You may view the article here.

Bruce Helmer

Bruce Helmer

Co-Founder, Financial Advisor and Author, Speaker and Host of the "Your Money" Radio Show

Series 7 & 63 Securities Registrations,1 Series 66 Advisory Registration, † Insurance License Bruce has been in the financial services industry since 1983 and is one of the founders of Wealth Enhancement Group. Since 1997, he has hosted the “Your Money” radio show, a weekly program that focuses on delivering financial advice in a straightforward, jargon-free manner. Bruce also hosts with the "Mid-Morning" crew on WCCO-TV each Tuesday morning to...Read More