IBM Latin America Executive Shares How She Developed Skills That Led Her To Success
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The Inspirational Executive Series consists of interviews with our executive IBMers to demonstrate how you can successfully build an executive career in this increasingly demanding market. Juggling work, life, and family commitments is a daunting challenge, but this series reveals how, with careful time management, flexible leadership, and a willingness to embrace challenge, IBM can support successful executives to succeed in every aspect of their careers.

Ana Paula has a 20-year international experience in the IT industry, and has devoted her career to strategic business development, operational excellence, change management of large and multicultural organizations and innovative leadership. Since joining IBM in 1996, Ana has held a series of leadership positions such as Services Director for Financial Services Industry for IBM Latin America, Vice President Software Group for IBM Brazil, and Vice President Software for IBM Greater China Group.

In 2017, she returned to Latin America as General Manager for the regional technology services organization. In July of the same year, Ana was appointed General Manager for IBM Latin America responsible for all the operations of the company in the major countries across South America and Mexico.

What skills and experience have you developed over your career to lead you to this position?

I started my career as a Sales Rep in IBM and have since done a number of roles which have enabled me to build on my skills and experience. Then I moved on to bigger accounts in the Financial Services Industry in our large office in São Paulo. I went from sales rep to business unit manager and after 10 years, I had an international assignment in the US as the Chief of Staff for our General Manager for the Americas. It was a great opportunity to see the company from a strategic perspective, develop relationships and a network that would help in in future roles and see how a senior executive of the company operates in their day-to-day.

15 months later, as the assignment finished, I returned to Latin America to our Services organization (Global Technology Services) running Strategic Outsourcing. This was my first job managing a full P&L with the mission to identify and develop new businesses, grow existing clients, approve investments, optimize cost structures. Certainly a very fascinating role given the breadth and complexity as well as the opportunity to manage a business end-to-end.

After that, I ran Software Group for Brazil with responsibility for all the software brands and services which opened the door for another assignment – Software in Greater China Group. Experiencing a whole different culture in a country so different from my own allowed me to significantly broaden my perspective, both professionally and personally. It expanded my horizons and made myself more resilient but also allowed me to develop something I have never experienced before…being vulnerable. Needing other people to accomplish the most basic things (like going to the bank), makes you humble and teaches you how to ask for help. I returned back to Latin America last year, first running GTS Latin America for a few months and then taking up the General Management role for the whole region.

What is your favorite thing about being an IBMer?

I love being part of a company that has had such an impact on the development and progress of humankind. IBM never stops doing amazing things, it is constantly evolving and defining the future.

Can you tell us about the work you do outside of your role as GM LA at IBM, for example the work with JA Americas?

I am a member of the board of JA Americas—a non-profit organization focused on the professional development of young students—which a very rewarding role I thoroughly enjoy. It is great to see the students develop as a result of our mentoring and advice which covers a range of topics such as the skills of the future and talent.

Continue onto IBM to read the complete article.

See the Best Cities to Live In for LGBTQ+ People
LinkedIn
A girl jumping in the air in a field, holding a LGBT pride flag

Whether it’s time to start a new career opportunity, find a place to retire, or change up your current environment, finding the right place to move to can be difficult. For LGBTQ+ people, this can be especially difficult, as there are still many areas that are not as progressive and accepting of the LGBTQ+ community as others.

Many of the big cities that are known to embrace the community, such as San Francisco and New York City, are great options, but are not at the pace that all people are looking for when it comes to settling down. Here is a list some of the best progressive and LGBTQ+ cities to live in, which you may not have considered yet.

Portland, Oregon

Gaining recent popularity, Portland has fast become a place of diversity and culture. The city is known for its great weather, growing college community, hipster businesses and the delight of having no state income tax. But most importantly, Oregon was voted as one of the United States’ most LGBTQ+ friendly cities by the Human Rights Campaign, achieving low rates of hate crimes and discrimination and high rates of safety, acceptance and relationship recognition.

Orlando, Florida

Not only is Orlando the home to a tremendous amount of activities, mainly being a tourist town, but has become the home to many progressive neighborhoods and a well-established gay community. The town maintains the same level of “things to do” as bigger cities, but also has low taxes and has a lower cost of living, making it a more intriguing place to settle.

Bloomington, Indiana

Bloomington is an especially unique city for the LGBTQ+ community. Being a more relaxed town, Bloomington has many recreational opportunities from exploring Brown County State Park in the beautiful Indiana weather to engaging with the cultural life created by the presence of Bloomington’s Indiana University. Best of all, Bloomington received a perfect score on Municipal Equality Index, meaning that they have some of the most inclusive policies and laws for LGBTQ+ people.

Yellow Springs, Ohio

Yellow Springs is another progressive, nature driven town, known for its progressive behavior since the 1960s. Although it is a small town, Yellow Springs has an intriguing downtown area where visitors can come enjoy an array of artistic galleries and publicly supportive of the LGBTQ+ shops. This is also the perfect destination for people who cold weather, as Ohio is known to get into low temperatures and receive quite a bit of snow.

Moab, Utah

Though small in size, Moab has served as one of the most supportive and engaging LGBTQ+ communities in recent years. Moab has its own Pride Parade, Visibility March, and Gay Adventure Week, all of which are quite popular among the town’s 5000-person population. The little town is more of an isolated destination about over 200 miles from Salt Lake City, but it is an outdoor lover’s paradise as it is close to the natural park and ideal for white water rafting.

Studies Show 1 in 4 Americans are Seeking Type of Advisor During the Pandemic
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While health concerns continue to be top of mind surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, other aspects of day-to-day life contribute to the anxieties due to these uncertain times. One significant additional concern is the future of financial sustainability.

To truly understand the concerns of the public, Nationwide surveyed over 2,000 Americans, including 600 investors, to see how the pandemic has changed their financial concerns. John Carter, the president and COO of Nationwide, stated of the survey, “People are struggling, they are making sacrifices, and we firmly believe that their health and safety should be everyone’s top priority right now. We are also committed to helping Americans protect their financial health for the long term. Our latest research identifies areas where they are challenged and looking for guidance.”

According to Nationwide’s study, 70% of respondents testified to feeling either cautious or uncertain for the future of their personal finances, including 69% of the surveyed investors. This data doesn’t come as a surprise to Nationwide’s additional data that stated nearly 1 in 4 of those surveyed testified to having reached out to a financial advisor for the first time because of the pandemic, including 26% of the investors asked. Only 31% of all surveyed had previously used a financial advisor, with only 58% of the investor subset being included in that tally.

Financial concerns among those who responded to the survey stated their two biggest concerns over the effects of the virus were the inability to pay bills and the fear of losing their life savings. Other concerns included the fear of losing their jobs, affording healthcare, and not being able to retire.

Kristi Rodriguez, the leader of the Nationwide Retirement Institute, stated, “Americans feel a lack of control and a need for more guidance. Even if they do all the right things to manage their finances and investments, the vast majority of Americans, including 80% of all respondents and 85% of investors, agree they can still be blindsided by outside events.”

But just because there are fears surrounding finances during this time, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Nationwide is dedicated to helping those concerned with their financial situation through their various resources. To find out more about what Nationwide has to offer and see more of the survey’s results, check out Nationwide’s full press release here

5 Ways to Keep Your Finances in Check When Between Jobs
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Ashaunda Davis, Financial Advisor with Northwestern Mutual

It’s likely at some point in time you will find yourself between jobs. Whether you were laid off or you willingly left your previous job, this is not an easy time for anyone. But know you are not alone – about four percent of the U.S. population is unemployed at any time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statics.

While you are gainfully employed, prepare for the unexpected. My mother always said, “There is nothing new under the sun, so be prepared when life throws you a curve ball.” Control what you can during employment including your mindset, spending and savings while keeping your resume updated.

When you find yourself between jobs, this period may be overwhelming. You can minimize and prevent future stress by following these recommendations I offer my clients.

1. Create a spending plan and stick to it
Spend some time figuring out how long you can go without an income by taking a look at where your finances currently stand. Budget monthly bills that you cannot forego like rent or a mortgage, utilities and car payments. Then, set a weekly allowance for necessities like groceries and gas, and stick to it.

2. Identify expenses you can cut
Separating wants from needs can help make sticking to a budget possible. Try cutting out luxury expenses like daily coffee runs, eating out and monthly subscriptions. Buying generic products, using coupons and rethinking how you spend time with friends and family can also help eliminate expenses. Although it’s important to maintain a social life and continue to do the things you enjoy, staying frugal now can help avoid putting yourself in debt.

3. Apply for unemployment
While filing for unemployment can be time consuming and tricky, unemployment checks can help make the time between jobs less stressful. If you were fired from your previous job under circumstances that were beyond your control, like a layoff, and you meet the state’s requirements for time worked, then you may be eligible to file for unemployment. Requirements vary from state to state, so be sure to check your state’s Department of Workforce website for all information.

4. Manage your own health insurance
Private health care plans can be expensive, but it’s important to be covered at all times because unexpected hospital visits are even more pricey than paying a monthly premium. Before leaving your job, talk to the HR department about how long you will be covered under your current health insurance plan. Some companies offer a grace period to allow time to find a new plan. If you have a spouse, look into joining his or her plan. Or, consider enrolling in the Affordable Care Act platform. Some states offer a special enrollment period for situations like this, so you don’t have to worry about waiting until the health insurance marketplace opens at the end of the year.

5. Consider a part-time job
Two words: side hustle. Do you have a talent or interest you have wanted to practice, but didn’t have time before? Now is a perfect time to freelance, work a part-time job in retail or sell your artwork or vintage cloths online. Not only can a part-time job provide a sense of purpose during the transition, but the extra cash will help prevent draining your bank account.

Four essential financial planning tips for female entrepreneurs
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Abigail Vazquez, Financial Representative with Northwestern Mutual

Today, women make up 61% of the participating Hispanic labor force, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. The number of higher education degrees awarded to Latino students more than tripled since 2016, with Hispanic women earning 60% of those degrees.

These statistics are painting a bigger picture in which more and more Latinas are setting higher expectations for themselves, achieving career goals and gaining the confidence to create their own path to success.

To some, success means taking the entrepreneurial leap. A recent study shows that about 1 out of every 7 businesses is run by a Hispanic American entrepreneur. More specifically, Latina-majority owned businesses totalled nearly 1.5 million in 2017, representing an 87% growth since 2015.

According to a study from Northwestern Mutual, women are motivated to start their own businesses in order to achieve a better work and family balance. Although there has been a shift in how Latinas choose to live their lives, traditionally Latinas are more likely to be married, have children and have larger families, according to the study. Latinas also self-identified as creative, willing to take risks and open to new ideas – unleashing the idea of becoming an entrepreneur and aiming to achieve the American Dream.

Taking the leap to become your own boss in order to create the career you’ve dreamed about is possible with the right resources, support team and dedicated work ethic.

Whether you are just getting comfortable with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur, or if you’re a seasoned business owner – here are four essential financial planning tips for the modern day entrepreneur. ¡Ahora, échale ganas!

1. Develop or review your business plan: If you’re new to the entrepreneurial world, developing a business plan can seem daunting. Focus on developing simple, straightforward strategies such as outlining your ideas, and setting short-term goals like finding your personal business niche or visualizing your ideal career. As you begin to develop your business, your plan should develop as well. After all, this plan will be the roadmap you follow to achieve your goals.

If you’re ready to dive into a more formal business plan, prepare to write a document that includes an executive summary, business description, market research, organization and management structure, service or product lines, marketing and sales strategy, funding approach and financial projections. This comprehensive plan will help you as you begin or continue to present your business to potential investors.

2. Build your team: No matter how much experience you have in owning a business, you will always need a support system and business team to rely on. Sit down and make a list of potential tasks that could be assigned to others. Talk with your family and friends, business partners and members of your community to seek out skills and traits that may be useful for your growing business. Reach out to other female-led businesses or entrepreneurs for advice and to learn how they “get it done.” Financial experts can also help you navigate and understand the funding needed to build your team, in addition to providing you with quarterly or annual support that can have positive long-term effects on your business.

Having a group of volunteers or employees with assigned jobs or small duties can jump-start the momentum you need to launch your business or keep it growing.

3. Open a business account: If this step wasn’t included in your initial business plan, add it in – you’ll thank me later! When starting a business, you may not be focused on making money quickly, but it does happen. And for busy business owners or new entrepreneurs, the personal and professional often get blurred – including money. Mixing family and business finances can get messy fast, especially if you’re a mamá trying to take care of business and get the grocery shopping done at the same time. That’s why it’s crucial to keep personal finances and business finances separate as much as possible. Talk with your financial advisor to discuss your options for opening a business account. Having separate accounts from the very beginning will help you keep your balance sheets and mind organized.

4. Reduce or pay off your debt: Debt is scary and looking at one large number can feel overwhelming. Assess that large number and break it down piece by piece to help you determine what is possible to pay off. Then, develop a reasonable payment plan and timeline to help you pay off the entire debt. Although not required, reducing or paying off your debt can result in significant benefits for your business. Reducing your personal liability can make you and your business more appealing to investors, increasing your chance of receiving funding and lower interest rates. Don’t tackle this alone. Connect with your financial advisor to discuss payment plans, consolidation and other available options.

3 easy ways to meet your 2020 money goals
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latina woman sitting at desk with checkbook and paperwork

Chances are your goals for 2020 will include everything from becoming more physically fit and sleeping better to achieving new career ambitions and becoming financially healthier.

So how do we avoid these goals turning into empty promises? And when it comes to your money, what is actually realistic? There is no one-size-fits-all model for financial wellness. Instead, it’s about starting where you are, setting goals that drive behavior change, and ultimately following through.

Here are three things that you can do today to improve your financial future.

Cut unnecessary spending

Most of us have unnecessary expenses that we can cut. The trick here is to find a few expenses that you can live without that don’t negatively impact your happiness. For example, I need to be well-caffeinated during the day, and I enjoy a nice glass of wine after work, so obviously I’m not going to cut my coffee or alcohol budget. My friends, colleagues, and husband can thank me later.

That said, I enjoy running outside, and I have used my gym membership exactly once in three months. It’s time for that membership to go. In that vein, think of all of your expenses that are well-intentioned, but you’re not using. Or identify a free alternative, such as using audiobook subscription services or library apps instead of buying books. There are great services out there that identify your recurring payments. First, check with your bank to see if they do it, and make a goal to cut a few of those if you can.

And it’s not just the small stuff. The neighborhood you live in, public versus private school for kids, and whether you can cook (as opposed to eating prepackaged or takeout food) all have a significant impact on your finances.

Consider a side hustle

It’s never been easier to take on a side hustle. Getting started can be as easy as decluttering your closet and selling items you no longer use on eBay, driving for ride-share services such as Uber or Lyft, or putting your skills to work as a freelancer. While I don’t recommend it, dumpster divers are even seeing success selling stuff on Amazon.

The beauty of a side hustle is you can spend as much–or as little–time and money as you have. What matters is that you pick something that works with your schedule, skills, and maybe even a passion that you’ve ignored for too long. The key here is to be intentional. Use the extra money to accelerate debt reduction, or save for a down payment on a home to get out of the rental cycle.

Another often-overlooked side hustle is getting more money from your current employer. If you haven’t received a raise in a while or are killing it in your current role, consider asking for more money. Just make sure you are asking the right way.

Automate where you can and commit to cash

Good financial hygiene is crucial to your financial health, and this means avoiding late fees, overdraft charges, and other penalties. Where possible, automate any and all recurring monthly expenses, such as your mortgage, utilities, and cell phone expenses. Late fees add up and impact more than just your bottom line.

And although it may seem crazy, try committing to cash. Studies have shown that when we have to pull out cash to pay for groceries or other daily expenses, we’re more careful about how much we spend. Set yourself a challenge. Commit to using cash for a short period of time and see how it feels. You may be surprised by how much less you spend.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

For Latinos the Definition of What Makes a Family is Broader and More Likely to Include Very Close Friends
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A new nationwide survey conducted by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) concludes that for Latinos love is the top word that sparks the meaning of family and almost the majority (72%) include close friends in their definition of family.

This study examines how has the definition of family evolved over the years. Surprisingly, there were more similarities than differences regardless of age, parental status, ethnicity, race, gender identity, orientation or sibling status.

“Usually when you span such a broad consumer group, you find more differences than similarities,” said Lorie Valle-Yanez, head of diversity and inclusion, MassMutual. “But when it comes to the topic of one’s family, while everyone is different, at the root of it, it’s about the people we love.”

Key Findings:

  • Nontraditional is the new traditional. Their most trusted individual is someone not related by blood, adoption or marriage, said 77% of Latinos.
  • Tell someone you trust. From passwords to insurance policies to financial accounts, almost half of Latinos (41%) trust their spouse, partner or significant other with information about the whereabouts of their most important documents.  Furthermore, 33% of Latinos believe their spouse, partner or significant other will take care of them when they are older.
  • Leave your mark. Nearly half of Latinos (48%) occasionally think about their legacy or how they want to be remembered.
  • Dream big. For most (62%), future hopes and dreams was the most talked about topic at home when growing up, beating out discussions about going to college, financial situation and challenges, and physical, emotional and spiritual health and wellness.
  • Got my mind on my money and my money on my mind. Money matters is the top distraction (53%), concern or stressor Latinos face while working, followed by medical care, personal relationships and daily household management.

To find a local financial advisor near you, visit www.MassMutual.com.

Methodology

The MassMutual Chosen Family Consumer Poll was conducted by PSB Research in June 2019 via an online survey which revealed American’s evolving definition of family.  The survey comprised 3,000 interviews and polled 478 Americans who identified themselves as Latinos.

About MassMutual

MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. MassMutual offers a wide range of financial products and services, including life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, annuities, retirement plans and other employee benefits. For more information, visit www.massmutual.com.

Does a Career in Finance Pay Off?
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Often requiring long hours and grueling days at the office, finance remains one of the highest-paying sectors in the U.S. economy.

Those who stick with it are rewarded with high pay and typically shorter hours as they move up the ranks in the industry.

If you’re looking for a high-paying career, browse through the following list:

Finance Jobs with the Highest Salaries

Investment Banker–
$81,000–$183,000
Investment bankers have a wide range of responsibilities that touch many areas of the financial industry. In general, investment bankers raise money for their clients by issuing debt or selling equity in companies for their clients. They also advise clients on investment opportunities and strategies, as well as assist with mergers and acquisitions. Typically requiring long hours and a strong work ethic, aspiring investment bankers must be tenacious in their approach to the job.

Equity Analyst–
$64,000–$164,000
Equity analysts are typically employed by brokerages or financial firms to analyze the value of a company’s stock and make financial predictions about a company. This type of research is accomplished through numerical and qualitative analysis of financial data, public records of companies, recent news and other information sources.

Financial Analyst–
$49,000–$89,000
Like equity analysts, financial analysts use quantitative and qualitative methods to study the performance of investments, such as stocks, bonds and commodities to provide investment guidance to businesses and individuals. Financial analysts also may advise companies on their financial strategy decisions.

Credit Risk Manager–
$67,000–$134,000
Credit risk managers develop, implement and maintain policies and protocols that help to reduce the credit risk of financial institutions. Their duties include building financial models that predict credit risk exposure as well as monitoring and reporting on credit risk to the organizations they are employed by. A highly quantitative job, becoming a credit risk manager often requires an area-specific master’s degree.

Director of Financial Planning and Analysis–
$113,000–$175,000
The director of financial planning and analysis is typically in charge of creating and overseeing budgets, long-term financial plans, analyses and predictions for a financial organization or team. This role often requires an MBA or degree in accounting or finance, and sometimes it is required that employees in this role are certified as an accountant.

Financial Freedom for Millennials: A Bucket List
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By Molly Barnes, Digital Nomad Life

The 2007 movie “The Bucket List” told the story of two terminally ill men seeking to finish out all the things they’ve always wanted to do but never completed. The duo set out on their adventure with the intention to fulfill all their dreams before they “kicked the bucket.”

While most people associate bucket lists with experiences, you can apply the same concept to personal finance matters, as well. Essentially, you list all the things you need to accomplish in your financial life and then start making moves to get them done. According to financial experts, people should start to tick off money-matter items on their lists while they are still in their 20s and 30s. With this strategy, they’ll achieve financial freedom sooner than later because they’ve set themselves up for a less stressful future as they reach retirement age.

At this point, retirement probably seems a million years away, but now is the time to start thinking wisely when it comes to money. Check out our financial bucket list for millennials.

1. Live with roommates

Most millennials want to move out of their parents’ home but can’t always afford to do it. Why forego and miss out on the pleasures of autonomy you can enjoy living on your own? Get some roommates instead to help share housing costs.

When seeking roommates, always be smart and keep safety in mind during the selection process. Everyone, especially women, should stay away from listings on Craigslist and other platforms that don’t fully vet the people out who post these listings.

Once you’ve got your roommates in the house, aside from the financial savings you’ll enjoy by splitting the rent, you can make some great memories — or at least accumulate a few great stories to someday tell your family and friends.

2. Move to an affordable city

Sure, New York is the city that never sleeps, and Los Angeles sees a lot of action, too —but these cities are incredibly expensive to live in. Instead of struggling (even with the help of roommates) in an expensive city, consider relocating to a more affordable city with a lower cost of living. Kansas City, for example, is not only affordable, but it also offers plenty of great job opportunities and even boasts some of the shortest commuting times in the country.

3. Downsize and sell some stuff

We live at a time minimizing is en vogue, especially for millennials. Aside from being a trendy thing to do, selling off possessions you no longer need or want can net you some serious cash. Try selling clothes, unused gift cards, old electronics and gadgets, pretty much anything.

If you have old toys, video games, or other nostalgic items you don’t necessarily want to hang onto anymore, try selling these too. You’d be surprised at how well nostalgia sells! Set up an account on eBay (or another preferred platform) and get selling. Then take that money and save it or invest it so it grows.

4. Learn thrifty shopping habits

Even if you’re aiming to downsize, there will still be stuff you need. Instead of paying full price for new items, learn the art of thrifting by shopping at places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity resale stores. You can find great deals on everything for the home from kitchen necessities to furniture, along with personal items, too, such as clothing and accessories.

Other ways to save on shopping are to watch for sales, try extreme couponing, and follow discount sites such as Groupon for deals on things you want to buy. Also check out Craigslist and Freecycle to find freebies in your neighborhood.

5. Make a few investments

While making habitual changes can go a long way toward achieving financial freedom, you’ll want to find other ways to increase your bank account. Why not try purchasing some stocks and seeing what happens? Some online brokerage sites let users start buying with as little as $100 and make trades for $5. You can buy small amounts and see if you can aggressively make them grow. “Playing the market” is a unique experience that not everybody gets in their lifetime — and watching your stock’s values go up is a thrill.

6. Launch a business

Even if you’re holding down a full-time job, you can launch a business on the side to generate some extra cash and help build your financial future. It could be something as straightforward as buying a property to use as a vacation rental. Or you can build a brand in your spare time, you can market your business by creating a presence on social media and cultivating helpful business relationships. Sign yourself up to attend some trade shows to help establish a name for yourself.

Depending on your line of work, you may need to obtain a license, insurance, or meet other local legal requirements. Be sure to have your ducks in a row and do everything legally. Also, remember that you’ll need to file taxes as a business. An online calculator can help you make the necessary tax calculations.

Achieving financial freedom is a wonderful feeling! The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be that much closer to your ultimate money goals … and then you’ll be able to afford the things on your “other” bucket list.

Understanding Insurance Benefits
LinkedIn
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No matter where you are in life, whether you’re just starting your career or nearing retirement, it’s important to understand the voluntary benefits available to you that can complement traditional health insurance.

While health insurance can help cover medical costs in the event of injury or illness, sometimes there are additional expenses your health care plan doesn’t cover. Voluntary benefits, such as life insurance, disability insurance and dental insurance offered by your employer or as portable options through a company like Colonial Life can help bridge the gap should an unexpected event occur.

“Even if an employee has to pay a nominal sum for a voluntary benefit like disability insurance or dental coverage, it can be well worth it,” said Sharlyn Lauby, president of ITM Group Inc., creator of the HR Bartender blog and contributor to Colonial Life’s WorkLife blog. “Think of voluntary benefits as those specialized, personalized extras that make your overall benefits package exactly what you’d like it to be.”

Benefits can be complex, but with the right information about the options available, you can make choices that best fit your lifestyle and budget. Consider these common voluntary options.

Life Insurance

While almost nine out of ten Americans agree most people need life insurance, just 60 percent said they have it, according to LIMRA’s Trends in Life Insurance Ownership study. With benefits typically paid tax free to your beneficiary, life insurance can provide peace of mind and help loved ones pay for funeral costs, cover living expenses, pay off debt, finance future needs and protect retirement plans. Policies are often available through employers, but you may lose the coverage if you change jobs. However, portable policies are also available that allow you to maintain coverage even if you change jobs or retire. To learn how much life insurance protection your family needs, visit worklife.coloniallife.com/calculator.

Disability Insurance

No one usually expects to get sick or injured, however, disability insurance can help protect your income and maintain your lifestyle if a physician determines you’re unable to work due to a covered accident or illness. Common conditions, such as pregnancy and childbirth, heart attacks, strokes, cancer and accidents, make up the majority of disabilities that lead to an inability to work. With short-term disability benefits, you receive financial support for a predetermined amount of time to cover expenses like a mortgage or rent, car payments, utilities and more, so you can focus on recovery.

Dental Insurance

Daily brushing and flossing can help keep your mouth healthy, but that’s not always enough as dental problems can lead to other health problems if left unattended. When you see a dentist for routine appointments and necessary procedures, dental insurance can help reduce the out-of-pocket expense. In fact, among insurance benefits typically provided to employees, 61 percent of workers view dental benefits as important, ranking second after medical insurance, according to LIMRA. Dental insurance provides coverage for regular cleanings and more extensive procedures like fillings, crowns, dentures and tooth removal. Some plans even offer allowances for orthodontic work like braces and retainers.

Accident Insurance

When an accident happens, one of the last things many people want to think about is how they’re going to pay the bills. You can prepare for the unexpected with accident insurance, which provides a lump-sum benefit—based on the injury suffered and treatment received—that can be used to help pay for expenses following an accidental injury, such as doctor bills, co-pays, emergency room fees, transportation, lodging and follow-up care.

Critical Illness Insurance

No matter your age or health status, a sudden illness could significantly impact your financial well-being, and health insurance may not cover everything. When a critical illness such as a heart attack, stroke or major organ failure occurs, major expenses often follow, and critical illness insurance can help off-set costs. In addition to your day-to-day bills, the lump-sum benefit can be used to pay for treatment- and recovery-related expenses including deductibles and co-pays, child care, travel and lodging, gym memberships and out-of-network treatment facilities and procedures.

Source: Family Features Editorial Syndicate

ALPFA’s Damian Rivera: The Power of Your Origin Story
LinkedIn
headshot of Damian Rivera, CEO of ALPHA

The journey from Spanish Harlem to the boardroom has been magical. I have the benefit of being able to look back at my 20+ years as a consultant for Accenture, along with my life growing up, to identify all of the “hard times” as a kid, which have made me successful in the boardroom.

As a Latino managing director in a global Fortune 500 company, I have always given back to my community, from serving on the board of non-profits to leading up Accenture’s Hispanic American ERG for six years. With all the experience I have gained, it is my mission to help others achieve their dreams.

With the opportunity of stepping into the role of CEO of ALPFA, I am honored and humbled to continue the legacy built by our members, countless volunteers, leadership teams from our professional and student chapters, and corporate partners that have made ALPFA what it is today. As I think back to my childhood growing up in Wagner Projects in Spanish Harlem, New York, in the 1980s, I can’t believe that in the same way the Latinx community helped give me opportunities in life, I am now in a position to do the same for others. What makes it even more exciting is I am not alone—I have an extended family of 80,000+ members focused on the same mission.

Everyone has an origin story, but the ability to really understand how your story gives you power is critical for Latinos as we strive to elevate in the corporate world. Hearing stories helps inspire, but knowing how your story gives you strength translates inspiration to action.

So, the question I usually get next is, “How can we learn to better understand our story?” There are four components/activities that I tell people to focus on: (1) Journey Line (2) Value Tree (3) Value Mantra (4) Purpose Framework. I’ll focus on the Journey Line and Value Tree here because they are the most critical. I recommend everyone develop their journey line, which is a drawing of your life, starting at any point going to present day. Your level of happiness is on the y-axis, and time is on the x-axis. As you think back on your life, you will plot out the highs and lows, and it’s in these moments that we learn our lessons of life. The high of highs and low of lows are where we build our character and grow the most. When people take time to develop the line, they start to see all they have accomplished and all they have persevered through to achieve success. Once you have done that, you begin to see the strength you have on paper. This is your origin story; it’s no different than a Marvel comic superhero. Once you have documented your journey line, you realize just as Superman had his hero’s journey, so did you. You may not be able to fly, but you definitely have developed your own version of superpowers in finance, accounting, or blockchain. When people work through this, they often have more confidence because it removes the impostor syndrome issues they encounter. They see their story and realize: I belong in the boardroom!

The second key piece is knowing your values. My values are legacy, opportunity, diversity, justice, courage, fortitude, energy, and industriousness. When people talk about being their authentic self at work, I believe that means sticking to your values. Through a person’s journey he or she will change. Everyone should be evolving as a person, and if you stay true to your value system, then you are being authentic as a leader. Know your origin story, enjoy your hero’s journey, and remember to help others along the way.

HNM BLM

 
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