How to Maximize Retiree Benefits

You may have noticed that Vanguard was in the news this month for eliminating retiree medical reimbursement accounts for current and retired employees. Retirees collaborated in a private FaceBook group to break the story to key media outlets. Vanguard responded by reinstating the benefit for retirees and is “recalibrating” the benefit for the current crew.

While the financial stress of potentially losing this significant benefit was challenging for retirees (and continues to be for existing employees), it quickly became apparent in the FB comments that many retirees didn’t fully understand how to use the benefit to the fullest.

We can maximize our benefits only if we clearly understand the nuances and fine print of the policy.

If you have retiree benefits that extend to your spouse while you’re living and after you’re gone, here are some ways to ensure that they are empowered to maximize those benefits:

  1. Document procedures for how to navigate the process,
    1. Train your spouse. 
    2. Listen to their questions.
    3. Update the procedures with additional context to make it easier for someone without your experience to follow the process. 
    4. Revisit the process with your spouse at least annually, if not semi-annually.
  2. Store the procedures in your contingency plan.
  3. Include a copy of the policy in your contingency plan. See if your retiree handbook has an easy-to-understand description of the policy. 

You worked hard to secure these benefits. Let’s do what we can to ensure our loved ones can thrive in our absence.

Email me at if you would like to create your contingency plan to empower those closest to you in your absence.

Mary Beth Simón

Mary Beth Simón

Contingency Plan Guide | Strategic Planner | Keynote Speaker & Workshop Facilitator

The best time to plan for an emergency is when life is good, not when an emergency happens. Unexpected life events require all your energy and attention. Having a plan ready before it's needed relieves stress and allows you to face challenges with calm, presence, and confidence.

As the founder of NPC, Mary Beth works with her clients to create a roadmap that their business partner, team, or loved one can follow to keep business and life running smoothly in an emergency.

There's no better time than now to start creating your plan. Book a Free Consult Today or download my free Contingency Planning Kit.