Archive for month: December, 2019

HealthCare Services Team Holidays

Categories: Team Member Spotlight

The Healthcare Services Team gather for the 2019 Holiday to celebrate success!

Favorite Holiday Traditions

  • “Watching Elf on Christmas Eve”
  • “Thanksgiving at my house for 22-30 people, Going shopping Thursday night and 6 am Friday”
  • “Annual holiday vacation with two families (10 years running)”
  • “Making Christmas cookies with my mom and siblings”
  • “When I was a kid, I used to make the rounds to my friends’ homes on Christmas day to see their presents. I would get so envious, since Chanukah is not really a major holiday like Christmas. Now we go to the movies on Christmas day and get Chinese food for dinner”

 Favorite Holiday Memories

  • “Getting one of the GI Joe Destroyers as a kid”
  • “My dad was the community Santa – he came to school dressed as Santa but I never knew it was him – now I own the Santa suit!”
  • “Watching Christmas movies while it’s snowing outside (Chicago)”

 Best Holiday Vacations/Holiday Vacation Plans

  • “Cruise when I was younger, North Captiva Island, FL – no cars allowed on the island, miles of empty beaches”
  • “Enjoying in Atlanta”
  • “Lake Oconee”
  • “Christmas at Gulf Shores – walking on the sand Christmas morning”

 

 

 

3 Reasons to Explore Continuous Insulation

Categories: Articles

An article presented by Scott Zanardo, AIA, President of Zanardo Architects, PC, as originally printed in Architect, Posted on August 16, 2019

It’s time this under-loved energy-saving wonder received the credit it deserves.

Is it a silver bullet in cutting home energy costs? It comes close if it isn’t. Just consider all the ways this sometimes shunned and overlooked building component is changing home design and construction. For example:

  • Chapter 4 of the 2018 International Building Code (2018 IBC R402.1.2) makes clear the code community’s ringing endorsement.
  • Two vast and remarkably different homebuilding markets—California and Canada—have codified it by law into all future building practice.
  • It’s revitalized 2×4 framing by making it once again relevant and practical in a world of net-zero energy standards.
  • Much smaller, far less costly HVAC systems are now routinely spec’d.
  • Alternative energy sources like solar are finally viable because of the R-value punch of exterior wall assemblies.

We’re talking about continuous insulation. Today, continuous insulation is helping differentiate home energy performance across homes of all sizes, types, and budgets. Yet some architects resist the growing weight of evidence. They argue the incremental cost of continuous insulation outweighs all other considerations, including the environment, to which veteran residential energy conservation expert Charlie Devine replies: “Don’t drop a dollar to pick up a dime.”

48% Savings

Devine is the national accounts and energy adviser to OX Engineered Products, a leading U.S. building product manufacturer. Devine believes continuous insulation’s clear advantages are shortchanged by misleading short-term thinking.

“People talk about programmable thermostats, high-efficiency HVAC systems, and LED light bulbs,” Devine says. “Where can we really squeeze energy demand out of a house? Continuous insulation is the answer. In my state of Minnesota, homes built with a single inch of continuous insulation have reduced heating costs by as much as 48 percent.”

2×4 vs. 2×6

That’s just the beginning. Take 2×4 framing. Not so long ago, the framing standard looked like it might fade away with the rise of 2×6 framing. Not so fast, Devine says.

“It’s true the deeper 2×6 cavity and fewer studs helps improve energy performance. CI levels the playing field for 2×4 builders. If it’s cheaper to add an inch of CI than to spec 2×6 framing, you can bet homebuilders are going to do it,” he says.

West Coast Foreshadowing

In California, the net-zero energy focus of Title 24, with its mandated solar photovoltaic panels, is making headlines. Why should that bother architects in Minnesota, Missouri, or Maryland? “California foreshadows things to come everywhere,” Devine says.

“Building a Title 24 house doesn’t make sense without CI. It’s the only affordable way to meet code,” he says. Adding R-6 structural sheathing like OX-IS to the exterior wall still makes standard cladding standard possible, he says.

Why Wait?

Residential designers in the Midwest aren’t. Devine says top builders in Nebraska and Iowa are all-in on CI. They understand the true cost of OSB isn’t the panel. It’s labor, housewrap, and trips around the house. Structural insulated sheathing like OX-IS simplifies in ways no OSB panel can.

Devine believes we’ll soon look back on CI and wonder: “What took them so long?”

To learn more about all the ways CI can help with performance, economy, and quality, visit https://www.oxengineeredproducts.com/product/ox-is/.

 

Business Owners Need Help in Communicating 401k Advantages

Categories: Articles

New research from Nationwide finds employers understand the value of offering 401k plans, but need help to better communicate their benefits to employees

by Brian AndersonNovember 13, 2019

in 401k Client AcquisitionEducation and EnrollmentRetentionYour 401k News

Advisors can help business owners communicate 401k benefits to employees

 

It won’t come as a surprise that business owners view 401ks as advantageous both for their business and their employees. Yet, despite business owners seeing the advantages and value of 401ks, a gap exists in understanding how to effectively communicate 401k benefits to employees, according to a new survey from Nationwide.

And with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting 71% of all U.S. workers have access to retirement benefits (which include defined benefit and defined contribution plans), offering a 401k to employees has become necessary in order to competitively attract and retain talent in today’s strong, steady labor market.

Nationwide’s latest research, which surveyed 400 U.S. business owners with 11-500 employees that offer 401ks, finds business owners agree 401ks offer key benefits including attracting and recruiting top talent (88%); tax advantages for both one’s business and employees (88%); improving employee retention (86%); and employees viewing a 401k as a necessary benefit (84%).

The survey data also found that although nearly nine in 10 business owners report their retirement plan provider offers tools and resources to them to help encourage employees to participate, over half of business owners (53%) still struggle with communicating the benefits and encouraging participation among their employees.

This number increases to 60% when looking at female business owners and 65% for younger business owners (aged 18-34 years old). What’s more, 68% of business owners acknowledge it’s their role/responsibility to encourage employees to participate in a 401k offering.

“Our latest survey shows employers are struggling to communicate the benefits of a 401k and encourage participation among their employees, ultimately putting their business and their employees at a disadvantage,” said Eric Stevenson, president of Nationwide Retirement Plans. “This data illustrates that the industry has an opportunity to help business owners bridge this gap and make a meaningful difference in the retirement security of their employees.”

Business owners agree 401k benefits outweigh challenges

While 401k plans have become a standard of sorts as a retirement benefit, business owners still report the following challenges in offering a 401k to employees:

  • Financial cost: 45%
  • Encouraging and managing employee participation: 41%
  • Administrative headaches (i.e. paperwork for plan administration): 37%
  • Lack of knowledge around starting or maintaining a plan: 27%

Even with the challenges associated with offering a 401k, an overwhelming majority of business owners (92%) agree that the benefits of offering a 401k plan to employees outweigh the challenges. Business owners ages 35-54 years-old are most likely to agree with this perspective, with nearly all in this age group (99%) agreeing. Interestingly, over three in 10 business owners aged 55+ years-old say they don’t believe there are any challenges in offering a 401k plan.

Helping business owners encourage participation

Nationwide’s data shows nearly two-thirds (64%) of business owners feel it is their role/responsibility to provide details on the benefits of participating in a plan with employees, as well as share information on how to enroll (62%).

In order to cut through the jargon and effectively communicate the benefits of participating in a 401k with employees, business owners can look to their plan provider and advisor for additional guidance.

“A workplace retirement plan, such as a 401k, is among the most valuable employment benefits and a top gauge of retirement preparedness,” Stevenson said. “As such, it’s integral that employers feel equipped to effectively have these conversations with their employees. Talking to a financial advisor is a good first step to not only discuss the resources and benefits available to business owners from plan providers, but to also gain insight into how to thoughtfully distribute this information and material to employees.”

More from the research

Beyond details about helping employers communicate the benefits of a 401k to employees, the Nationwide survey of 400 business owners (with 11-500 employees and who offer a 401k plan) contained some additional noteworthy data regarding the SECURE Act and 401k matching contribution rates. From the study:

  • 59% of business owners surveyed believe the SECURE Act would make it easier to offer a 401k plan to employees
  • 77% of business owners think passage of the SECURE Act would allow them to offer a 401k plan that rivals those offered at large corporations

401k Contribution Matching:

  • 8% of business owners don’t match employee contributions at all
  • 31% match 1-3% of contributions
  • 43% match 4-6% of contributions
  • 19% match 7% or more of contributions

Article submitted by Joshua C. Harper, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, RICP®

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