Schwarz Insurance Blog

December 21, 2015 @ 12:00am

six tips to retiring early

1. Know your number

"Retire early" is a great goal, but what does that really mean? Spend time creating a retirement budget, a realistic and detailed one, and then figure out how much you need to save in order to meet it.

2. Life below your means

Retiring at all, and especially retiring early, requires you to be extremely budget-conscious. Find ways to reduce your current expenses so you can save as much as possible, like eating out less, vacationing nearby and more. Figure out how much you can save monthly, and have that amount automatically transferred into an investment account so you aren't tempted to spend it.

3. Gather 'free money'

Be sure that you are getting the maximum amount of matching dollars that your employer provides and use credit cards that can make cash back deposits into your brokerage account.

4. Maintain a diversified portfolio

The only way today to keep up with inflation and have a chance of your assets remaining in your 80s is to utilize equity mutual fund aggressively.

5. Figure out what to do for health insurance

If you retire early, you won't be able to receive Medicare until you are 65, so it's necessary to find coverage in the meantime. You can stay on COBRA up to 18 months after retiring, but afterwards you'll need an individual policy. For perspective, the average couple spends over $200,000 for health-related expenses in retirement. The Federal Health Insurance Marketplace is also a

December 16, 2015 @ 12:00am

Preparing your business for a disaster

No matter how good of a business owner you are, there are some things you can't prepare for. Weather disasters, like tornadoes. Cyber hacking. Even safety issues at work. Luckily, there are some steps you can take so that if and when something major happens, you're well-equipped:

  • Know what you're at risk for, both in your part of the world and industry-wise. Once you identify potential issues, it's easier to create a plan to offset and potential breaches or losses.
  • If you don't have General Liability Insurance and Property Insurance, obtain some. Most policies cover in-office injuries, weather disasters and more.
  • Review what current insurance policies you do have, and fill any gaps in coverage. It's important that you also completely understand your policies, including deductibles, coverage limits and more.
  • Back up all critical data and programs and keep it off-site. We recommend choosing a location at least fifty miles away.
  • Protect vital business records in a safe that has been tested and certified as being resistant to fire, heat and burglary.
  • Consider Cyber Liability Insurance, especially if your company handles sensitive client information. A lawsuit resulting from a data breach means your business is responsible for paying legal fees, settlements and more. Insurance could cover these expenses.

As always if you'd like to discuss your options when it comes to disaster planning, con

November 23, 2015 @ 12:00am

During the holidays, many of us enjoy decorating and sprucing up the outside and inside of our homes so we can our guests can get into the holiday spirit. This can lead to us going on our roofs, climbing ladders and more, which can put us as risk for injury.

In 2014, over 15,000 people were admitted to the Emergency Room for holiday-related injuries. For the past five years, these number have been steadily climbing.

Having homeowner's insurance will protect you from some of the cost of these injuries, depending on the depth of your coverage. But we'd generally prefer if you didn't injure yourself at all. We've put together a few safety tips that may help prevent you from injury.

When putting up holiday decorations, always use a step stool or ladder to reach high places. Don't stand on chairs, desks or other furniture. If you have to use a step ladder near a doorway, lock the door so no one will open it and knock you off the ladder. When you climb, always face the ladder and grip the rungs to climb, instead of the side rails. Always keep three points of contact on the ladder whether two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand. Wear gloves while decorating with spun glass "angel hair." It can irritate your eyes and skin. Avoid placing breakable tree ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower branches where small children or pets can reach them. Only use indoor lights indoors. Look for the UL label. Check lights for broken or

November 12, 2015 @ 12:00am

You might be in the middle of securing health insurance coverage through the Marketplace, answering questions relating to income, household size, marriage and more. You also might be wondering, "What happens if and when my answers to these questions change?"

Once you have Marketplace coverage, it's important to report what are called "life changes." Life changes include:

  • Changes to income
  • Changes in health coverage, including someone in your household receiving an offer for job-based coverage or public program coverage (like Medicaid, CHIP or Medicare) or someone losing job-based or public program coverage
  • Changes to your household or individual members, like birth or adoption
  • Placing a child for adoption or foster care
  • Becoming pregnant
  • Marriage or divorce
  • A child on your plan turning 26
  • Death
  • Moving to a new permanent address in a different county or state
  • Correction to name, date of birth or Social Security number
  • Changes to disability, tax filing, citizenship/immigration or American Indian/Alaska Native status
  • Incarceration or release from incarceration

If any of the above changes the change needs to be reported to your Schwarz Insurance Agent immediately as it may affect your coverage cost and your premium tax credit.

After you report changes, you'll receive a notice explaining whether you qualify for a Sp

October 26, 2015 @ 12:00am

When it comes to health care and tax season, there are three forms you should concern yourself with the: 1094-B, 1095-A and 8962. Why?

Well, filing them could save you money.

What is the 1094-B? It's a simple form that comes from your insurance carrier if you are insured through you employer. The 1094-B form proves you have minimum essential health care coverage. The Affordable Care Act requires most people to have a basic benefits health care package. Those who do not have this coverage have to pay a penalty when they file their tax returns, although there are some exceptions.

Usually insurance companies are responsible for filing this form, but sometimes it fall on the employer's shoulders. Regardless, people with minimum essential coverage should receive a 1094-B form confirming their coverage in the earlier part of 2016. If you have a subsidized plan through The Health Insurance Marketplace you will receive a 1095-A form to file.

On the other hand, Form 8962 is a Premium Tax Credit form that you file with your tax return. If you purchased through the Marketplace you may be eligible for a credit that helps you pay your health insurance premiums. The form helps you figure out if and how much you're eligible for.

When you enroll for health care coverage, you may be given a choice to send the credit directly to your health insurance company, reducing your monthly payment, or to get the money with your tax return. If you choos

Past Blog Topics