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:
- Document procedures for how to navigate the process,
- Train your spouse.
- Listen to their questions.
- Update the procedures with additional context to make it easier for someone without your experience to follow the process.
- Revisit the process with your spouse at least annually, if not semi-annually.
- Store the procedures in your contingency plan.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to create your contingency plan to empower those closest to you in your absence.