Archives for October 2015

Cyber Liability: Are You Covered

With all the data breaches in the news, do you ever wonder if your information will be next? Many of the world’s largest companies have had hackers breach their defenses. If it can happen to them, then how can small business keep their information safe? The answer may be in the form of cyber liability insurance. This relatively new product goes by different aliases and offer a varying amount of coverage, but a few basics are worth thinking about.

For larger firms, an internal technical department can insure that themselves, constantly working against cyberattack. For smaller business, purchasing a stand-alone policy or other cyber insurance policy. Like all insurance policies, the coverage and pricing vary depending on what the company’s needs.

There are two different types of coverage, first-party insurance, and third-party insurance. Frist-party insurance covers the company for loss of its own data or income due to a data breach or cyberattack. This coverage usually includes the legal and technical investigations and any cost to remedy the damage, such as a breach or attack, business interruptions, payments to extortionists, or loss of data in the cyberattack or breach.

Third-party insurance cover your clients. The policies can cover responses to civil lawsuits and government inquiries; payment of government fines and penalties; notification of clients and victims; public relations and credit monitoring of clients. Companies looking to purchase a policy need to consider what the consequences will be if a breach would happen. There could be loss of client that are exposed and the reputation of the company is on the line. Some insurance policies may have minimal coverage, but there are holes that will need to be filled.

Make sure that your company has the coverage it needs to protect not only itself, but clients as well.


Are You Ready for College

It is October. Seniors are starting the application process for colleges, if they have not already started. There are all kinds of reasons someone picks a college, including location, prestige, and even academic programs. But one question lingers in the back of everyone’s mind; how are we going to pay for this? Along with the question some a subject that is avoided for a variety of reasons. Some parents just want what is best for their child, and they feel guilty that money could be a deciding factor in their child’s educational choice.

When choosing a school, money should be a deciding factor. Depending on how much debt you can take on, could affect finances long into the future. More students are coming out of college with decades with of debt. If you are wanting your child to get out of college without a mountain of debt, there are a few things to consider.

The first is what does the student want to get out of their college experience? Sometimes students focus on other factors about the college that have nothing to do with what they want to get out of the college experience. As they are deciding on what college to attend, have an honest conversation about how college will be paid. Have them choose two or three criteria they are looking for in a college. Find the best college for them, even if it is not the original choice, which is affordable.

Four-year colleges are not the only options for students bound for higher education. Trade schools and community colleges are something to look at, also. The average tuition costs and fees are less than a traditional four-year college, and allows students to get basic credits out of the way before venturing on to a more traditional setting. Being flexible in choosing what college is best may save money. The goal with college is to get an education, not be buried in a mountain of debt.


Finding the Highly Motivated

One of the biggest challenges facing employers is finding motivated workers. How can you tell the difference between a highly motivated worker and someone less engaged? What factors should you look for in an engaged worker? In a recent survey, conducted by Red Letter Days for Business, 12 factors are consistent among high motivated workers. The factors are:

  • Knowing what to expect at work
  • Doing their best every day
  • Having opportunities to learn and grow
  • Manager cares about them
  • View their job as important to the company
  • Have the right equipment to do their job
  • Someone encourages their development
  • Consider their colleagues as being committed to producing quality work
  • Has someone to discuss their progress with
  • Feel as if their opinion matters in the workplace
  • Receive praise recently
  • Has a best friend at work

We know there are many things that create a successful employee, but it is important that they feel as if they are contributing to the general good of the company. Having the potential to grow within the company, fostering skills to make them more relevant also keep employees engaged in work.

The biggest contributing factor to engaged workers is also one of the easiest. Recognition of a good performance, either in verbal or in form of a reward, helps encourage and motivate employees to be engaged workers. The problem is that almost 30% of workers, according to a survey of North American companies by One Team,  give their company bad marks on employee recognition. This impacts not only employee performance, but also employee turnover. Sending a little note of thank you or acknowledging an employees work will go a long way in making them feel appreciated.

Don’t let employees feel underappreciated. Give them recognition and praise for a job well done. It can go a long way in keeping employees happy and productive.


Don’t Forget the Medical Expenses

You have saved your money for years and the day has finally come, you are retiring. You have saved your money for years, and now you have a nice nest egg to live on. What would happen to the nest egg if you or your spouse gets sick? Will that nest egg be enough? While Medicare is the cornerstone of medical coverage, covering 60% of all healthcare expenses, it does not cover long-term care and a few other healthcare expenses. That leaves the other 40% of medical expenses and other major healthcare expenses including dental, vision, prescription and long-term care expenses coming out of your hard-earned savings.

What steps should pre-retirees take to ensure that there is enough money for medical expenses? The first step is to make sure you have a plan. By having a plan, retirees can be prepared for the unexpected expenses, avoiding the problems that are associated with reacting to unexpected events. According to Healthview Services 2015 retirement Health Care Cost Data Report, the average out-of-pocket expenses for a couple age 65 id $395,000. Long-term costs can average $140,000 per person, but these costs can be misleading.

The next step is to prepare for your needs. Don’t rely on averages to determine what you will need for medical expenses come retirement. The best plan is to run a health assessment to estimate what the cost will be for you. The health assessment will consider gender, family history, and life expectancy to estimate the cost during retirement. Once you have your assessment, study up on Medicare coverage. It is complicated and not free. Each part covers something different, and there are traps you will need to navigate to find the right coverage for you.

Another step is to max out your health savings account. If you have a high deductible health insurance plan, you may have an option to start a health care savings plan. The money is tax deductible and grows tax-free. Once you have looked at all you options, talk to your family. They need to know what you expect and how you want your needs met should an illness interrupt your retirement.