Open Enrollment: The Dos & Don’ts

 Open enrollment provides an opportunity for employees to make elections about their benefits for the coming year. Making good decisions with open enrollment can be an important component of your overall personal and financial health. Here are some tips to remember as you get started with enrollment.


    ✔ Mark your calendar with dates and deadlines so that time doesn’t get away from you.

    ✔ Educate yourself by reading employer-provided materials and attending education sessions.

    ✔ Coordinate with your spouse and/or family members if you have choices between plans such as health plans at each spouse’s employer or the need for health care for a child under age 26.

    ✔ Consult with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ as you consider how your benefits fit with your overall financial picture.

    ✔ Acknowledge that some necessary components to financial health may not be provided within your employer plan. Life insurance or disability options are one example where some extra coverage may be appropriate.


    ✘ Put off your decisions till the last minute. Procrastinating may mean you don’t have time to adequately evaluate your options.

    ✘ Put your head in the sand. Ignoring your financial needs doesn’t make them go away. Make sure you are taking control of your benefit decisions.

    ✘ Leave things on auto-pilot. Benefit options may change and your needs are also dynamic. Make sure you give yourself the best options and customize benefit decisions to meet your personal needs.

    ✘ Only focus on the short-term. Benefit decisions can often reduce your take-home pay but may offer safety (with insurance) or comfort for the long-term (as you put money aside for retirement or planned expenses). Make sure you keep an eye to the long-term as you consider the trade-off for a smaller paycheck.

We are launching an Open Enrollment series that will include eight blog posts to help guide you through the decision-making process. Check back three times a week for more advice on successfully navigating the open enrollment season.

Open Enrollment Series Posts:

Open Enrollment:  Health Insurance

Open Enrollment:  Health Insurance and Medicare Enrollment

Open Enrollment:  Getting the Most Out of Your Cafeteria Plan

Open Enrollment:  Disability Insurance

Open Enrollment:  Choosing Group Life Insurance

Open Enrollment:  Retirement Benefit Selections

Open Enrollment:  4 Ways a Certified Financial Planner™ Can Help With 401(k) Elections


Melissa Joy, CFP® is Partner and Director of Investments at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. In 2011, she was honored by Financial Advisor magazine in the inaugural Research All Star List. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered blogs, she writes frequent investment updates at The Center and is regularly quoted in national media publications including The Chicago Tribune, Investment News, and Morningstar Advisor.

Financial Advisor magazine's inaugural Research All Star List is based on job function of the person evaluated, fund selections and evaluation process used, study of rejected fund examples, and evaluation of challenges faced in the job and actions taken to overcome those challenges. Evaluations are independently conducted by Financial Advisor Magazine.

Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation.  Any opinions are those of Center for Financial Planning, Inc., and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.