Most people do not realize the high rate of inflation on drug expenses in a health and dental plan. On average, they are between 13 to 15% every year. This high inflation rate is the very reason why the provincial budget allocated to medical expenses keeps increasing. Likewise, the provincial government makes cuts to other areas to support the increasing medical expenses. Left unchecked in a company, drug expenses can quickly account for large increases in employee benefit expenses.
If you have ever watched Survivor on TV you know that which Tribe a contestant belongs to determines their fate. The same is true in business. Choose the right business tribe and you will thrive. Choose wrong or become tribe-less and you may find yourself voted off the island by your competition. The roman legion was legendary in their ability to create a group of men who came from various walks of life and became one as a fighting unit. If we are to go beyond survival in business to become those who thrive and conquer we must find our Tribe and use the strength it provides to win.
Huge companies like Telus, can see the increase quite easily and can react to make plan changes accordingly. A single employee affected by a corporate policy change may complain, but their complaint will not shift the benefit plan for the thousands of employees. For smaller companies, there is generally a stronger reluctance to make adjustments in spite of the increasing claims and employee benefit expenses. There is a fear of disappointing or upsetting the employee and the status quo. Their value to the company is too great, or their company culture may be resistant to these changes. Left unchecked, the expense creep just continues to grow exponentially.
As a member of EOA (Entrepreneurs Organization Accelerators) I have had the good fortune of being mentored by multi-million dollar business owners. It’s a privilege I am deeply grateful for. I have also found my tribe in EOA – A group of dynamic, driven business owners that want to grow their businesses and make a difference.
One of our big revelations and transformations has come from our focus on our core values. I thought I understood Core Values, but I did not really get it until just recently. I only truly ‘got it’ when I started to practise it. Like so many things we talk about it (core values, mission, vision, values statements), it is always transformational when we begin to walk it and apply it daily. To truly enjoy your business use your core values to filter out life draining work.
We now filter everything we do as a business through a set of core values. Our core values are what we call our four Cs – Contribution, Community, Caring, and Continual Improvement. We share these core values with our potential employees, our current employees, and our clients. It has become the filter that transforms the everyday activities of our business, since we only put effort into that which aligns with our Core Values.
Have you ever wondered how some companies develop riveting cultures, while others are stagnant? I used to think that corporate culture was reserved for 100+ employee size companies, but now I see it starts from the ground up. Culture exists any time you have people interacting with each other. Sadly, unless we are consciously creating culture, it will be created by the personalities of the loudest individuals. Unfortunately, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and the squeaky employee creates the most cultural influence. How are you creating and managing your company culture? Many companies rely on their weekly staff meetings to create company culture. If you hate staff meetings have a Daily Huddle instead.
To create a great culture in my company I have begun applying a tool that has had a huge impact. I was introduced by my EO Accelerators group to this tool that is applied in companies from 2 employees to 10,000+ employees (1-800 Got Junk uses it to align all of their North American offices and employees). The book which outlines how to use it, “Mastering The Rockefeller 
Does financial planning for your employees affect your bottom line? Incredibly, the answer is yes. Personalized financial planning for your employees matters because employees who become financially positioned to purchase a home are generally more stable and productive. This is because employees who are working toward a goal like home ownership are generally more loyal, making it less likely they’ll go through your training and leave shortly after.
It’s not so common today for someone to ask, ‘Have you read a good book lately?’. However, I am now a huge fan of Audible and listen to audiobooks regularly. Maybe we should be asking, ‘Have you listened to a good audiobook lately?’ Although not everyone is an auditory person (myself included), I have found audiobooks to be great background music as well as travel entertainment. My hard-core business geekiness really came out when I yearned to listen to the “Intelligent Entrepreneur” while I was on vacation. Sadly, I could not or did not because I was spending so much time with my family. Funny times. ;p
Recently I have been listening to the Intelligent Entrepreneur, and this is a book I wish I had read or listen to years ago. I have found it very inspiring and educational. Prior to listening to this book, I had said to myself that I really want to study successful multimillionaire business owners so that I could better emulate them. Ironically, “The Intelligent Entrepreneur” chronicles 3 successful Harvard Business School (HBS)graduates and the trial and tribulations they endured while building their successful multi-million dollar businesses. HBS is famous for producing top Fortune 500 CEOs and is considered to be the top business school in North America.
When I was just three years old, my great grandfather passed away suddenly.  My family had just immigrated from rural China and had it not been for my great grandfather, my entire family would still be poor farmers in China.
I have always felt a deep gratitude for my great grandfather as well as a burning desire to give back and make a difference in the world.  Specifically, I have a burning desire to create an incredible legacy for my great grandfather.  I want to make his sacrifices worthwhile and meaningful (my great grandfather immigrated in the early 1900s where racism was rampant and the Chinese community was abused in Vancouver). As you probably know, I have been drawn to make a difference to people and most recently it has been to assist the people of developing nations.
I have set a personal goal to raise $5,000 for Kiva entrepreneurs and was hoping you could assist.  Amazingly, I don’t even need to ask you to give any of your own money to reach this goal.
Kiva is the Kickstarter of Microbanking and assists entrepreneurs in developing nations with microloans that help them escape poverty. As an immigrant from rural China giving back to entrepreneurs in developing nations resonates deeply.
One tool that has made a huge difference in our company was shared with me by one of my business mentors in EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization). This tool is called StrengthsFinder (SF). What we have found is that StrengthsFinder unlocks productive energy at work.
Since giving back is one of our core values here at Abundance Employee Benefits we want to share this value with you.
We ask this question because we have a special ‘Give Back’ program, called Mission of Care, where we will donate $100 to the charity of your choice. We do this when we meet with you for the first time to review your employee benefits package and share with you financial strategies that might improve your situation. No purchase is necessary to receive this gift (otherwise it wouldn’t be a gift).
A review of business expenses will often result in money saved. What expenses are you getting high value for? And which expenses can be reviewed and assessed? It’s time to evaluate and say ‘out with the old, and in with the new’.
One major business expense to review regularly are Employee Benefits. These benefits are typically 2-4% of payroll and reviewing these benefits can result in sizeable savings. Recently we saved a construction company 20% on their rates through our exclusive wholesale rates. For another construction supplier firm, we saved them 14% on their employee benefit expenses. In one exceptional case, we saved a client 36% on their rates! Imagine their surprise when they learned they would save 36% on their rates. It was definitely worth their time to investigate.
Have you ever felt really proud of helping someone achieve their goal? One of my most fulfilling accomplishments is helping my personal friend save her first $10,000. This may not sound like a huge amount of money for some people, however, the truth is, we all have to start somewhere. But the long term benefit is that you alter your self image by hitting a financial milestone.
When my client and I started working together, saving $10,000 was not even in her consciousness. However, as we set the savings plan in place, and gradually increased it as she received raises and promotions, hitting the $10,000 savings mark came much faster than she expected. She was so thrilled to save her first $10,000, all on her own, and this transformed the way she saw herself. She has since bought a house with her savings. (Using the first time home buyers plan and her RRSPs).
Providing tax and regulatory updates and advice is a vital part of the value we provide our clients. This is the strategic aspect of our role, so that our clients may act preemptively. In business we are always competing. Sometimes, everyone is ready to start when the gun goes off. More often than not, the race has already begun and the boats that should be competing are just circling the harbour. We are here to point you to the race that nobody knows has already begun and give you an unfair advantage as you sail out ahead of your competition.
PRPP Legislation is coming to BC and has already been implemented or approved in other Provinces. On June 28, 2012, the federal government made a recommendation to the provincial governments to implement a mandatory employer pension plan (The Pooled Registered Pension Plan Act). This federal recommendation was designed to address the growing retirement deficit most Canadians face. Its intent is to empower Canadians, but unfortunately, employers will be fed yet another challenging business expense.
There are certain government programs that will help a person and their family operate more efficiently. By this I mean tax free grants, incentives, tax credits and so on. Most people do not take the time to look for government programs and tax incentives (doesn’t that just sound soooo exciting). Fortunately, there are people like us who love finding this information and sharing it with those we care about.
One program that most people are unaware of is the registered disability savings plan (RDSP). In a nutshell, for every annual $1,500 contribution by a qualified RDSP applicant, the government will give a grant of $3,500 every year (with a lifetime maximum award of $70,000). In addition, there is an extra $20,000 in bonds available (given out $1,000 per year to qualified recipients). That’s a total of $4,500 of free money each year available to those who need it to assist with their lifelong disabilities (If you didn’t get your government grant last year or for the finer details on the program, please contact us).
Do you know that you can turn your RRSP into a tax free loan? Most people don’t so we want to take this moment to let you know about the full potential of your RRSPs. We find that many people buy an RRSP ‘just because’ they know it is a good thing to do because their parents did it, or they heard it is a good thing to do through the media. But what really is the full potential of your RRSP?
There are two special programs for borrowing from your RRSPs tax-free: the Home Buyer’s Plan (HBP), and the Lifelong Learning Plan. Both of these allow you to take money out of your RRSPs tax-free with a pre-specified repayment plan. Imagine being able to use your RRSPs for a home down payment or tuition and then being able to repay the money back into your RRSPs all without paying tax on the transaction.
Did you know that ,better management of your health and dental expenses will mean better rates for both you and your employer. Here are 3 ways to reduce your health and dental expenses so you can get the most out of your plan.
It is always a good idea to do a financial check-in every 12 months. Without a financial check-in, we leave ourselves vulnerable to the winds of change, drifting aimlessly away from our financial goals. One small change in our situation can have a drastic long term impact on us. In regards to your employee benefits plan, insurance coverage and financial planning, here are 6 important questions to ask yourself each year. If you answer “YES” to any of these questions, please email us back and let us know. For the first four questions you may also want to let your plan administrator know so that you retain the proper level of plan coverage.
Sadly, our industry is riddled with poor client service and this reflects badly on all of us in the field. It is our pet-peeve when we learn that other firms aren’t providing the client service that clients deserve and expect. Recently, we saw a prospective client that still had not received their renewal notice after 3 weeks of requesting for the report. This report is typically a pdf so was really just a quick ‘send’ button away.
In another case, we connected with a prospective client that had their plan automatically renewed with the higher renewal rate. They got an increase without any notice whatsoever. The worst part is that we’ve seen these occurrences before.
Do you like saving money? One thing we’ve observed about people is that regardless of how much a person makes, every one of us likes to save money. Furthermore, we love to get more value out of something for the same price. We love saving our clients money and providing greater value than they received before. One way we do this is by reviewing our clients’ insurance expenses.
One example of this is reviewing bank sold mortgage insurance. You’re probably wondering, ‘What’s wrong with most mortgage insurance sold by the banks?’ Well, by replacing bank sold policies with term insurance, we have saved our clients 25% – 40% on these insurance expenses. In one case, we saved them 66%! The beautiful thing about these sizable savings is that it enables the client to pay off their mortgage faster by allocating the savings to the mortgage payment. And who doesn’t want to pay off their mortgage faster?
Protecting your hearing at work may not be the thing that you think of often. If we don’t the damage is permanent. We came across this fun video on hearing put out by WorkSafe BC. With so many clients in the construction industry we just had to share it with you.
It goes without saying that companies that buy wholesale employee benefits plans benefit from the cost savings. Wholesaling is becoming more and more common in today’s marketplace.  Boutique retailers have a place in marketplace for those one-off type purchases but wholesale is the way to go if you regularly buy a certain product.  In fact, with the popularity of wholesalers such as Costco, more and more traditional higher-end products are now becoming accessible to the wholesale model.  As specialists in Vancouver in employee benefits, we have done the same thing, we have taken a traditionally boutique product and made it available at a wholesale price.
How did we did do it? First, by specialising in Employee benefits to gain clout with the insurers, and then by re-negotiating with the insurers.  We were able to pool many of our accounts to increase our negotiation leverage.  As one of a handful of employee benefits specialist companies in Vancouver, we were able to negotiate with a few select insurers.  In exchange for 
better rates for all of our clients, we committed to buy more insurance from them.  Over time, this model proved very efficient because as we grew in business we were able to negotiate continually better terms for our clients.  As we became a bigger and bigger client of the insurance company, we also demanded and received superior service for ourselves and our clients.  This model proved to be a win-win all around.
ur new brand doesn’t change our commitment to service. Abundance Employee Benefits is committed to improving the lives of our clients and their employees. Companies are built on the hard work of their staff and good management teams understand the importance of showing gratitude for this irreplaceable support.