If you already have to spend on child care, healthcare and have are enrolled in a high deductible health plan, you may want to consider whether or not you want to save more money through your employer's benefits. Yes, you read correctly, you can save more money if you are strategic about enrolling into a Flexible Spending Account ("FSA") through your employer.
I'm a true believer that Just know, there is no such thing as bad money, except money that goes to waste. So if you don't want to to waste money by giving more money to Uncle Sam then you have to, keep reading.
For those who don't know the benefit of FSA, FSA allows you to set aside pre-tax money which helps you pay LESS federal taxes. You get your money back when you submit claims e eligible health care and day care expenses and use the reimbursement for anything; including more expenses, Christmas money or vacation money.
Under the law, there are three types of FSAs: A Dependent Care FSA, general purpose Health Care FSA, and a Limited Expense Health Care FSA. A Dependent Care FSA reimburses eligible day care expenses for your children under age 13 and your tax dependents of any age who are incapable of self-care, as well as elder care expenses. The only catch is that reimbursable expenses may be necessary to allow you and your spouse (if married) to work, look for work or attend school full-time. So you don’t even try to get reimbursement for weekend respite care.
A general purpose Health Care FSA (HCFSA) reimburses eligible health care expenses not covered by your employers health plan, dental or vision plan, such as co-payments, co-insurance, deductibles, over-the-counter medicines (with a prescription), medical supplies, prescription drugs, vision and dental care, shipping and handling charges for mail-order prescriptions and eligible over-the-counter items, and much more.
Lastly, A Limited Expense Health Care FSA (LEX HCFSA) is designed for individuals who are enrolled in or covered under a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA). Those who are enrolled in an HDHP must spend HIGH deductibles and group plan covers the remainder. And if you already must pay high deductibles, why not get a reimbursement for it? Just note, when you enroll in a LEX HCFSA and an HSA at the same time, a LEX HCFSA limits reimbursement to only eligible dental and vision expenses.
Hopefully this information will help someone make the right move so that they can have better outcomes with their income. Of course, accountants may know of other loopholes to save you from giving the IRS all of your coins.
Do you have any other suggestions to help individuals use their employer benefits for their benefit? If so, please leave a comment below and let me know. Additionally, please don’t forget to share this post with your friends because every should get a free legal treat every once in a while.
The Boss Builder, Toni Moore, Esquire, is an author, speaker, estate planning attorney and financial coach who is committed to helping women have better relationships with their money so they can live better lives. Twitter/Instagram: @thecoinboss
So many people will avoid making an estate plan as though somehow, someway by avoiding the conversation, they can avoid the sickness or even worse, death. However, no one on this earth knows the exact date and time they could become injured, ill or in a terminal condition that leaves them comatose. And during the times of not knowing, do you really want to leave the decision to a loved one, a family member or worse yet an estranged spouse or significant other?
In light of so many of friends and family getting ill and in effect becoming unable to make their own decisions regarding life and death and the extremity of saving their life, I thought I should share my sentiments about why living wills matter someday. But after Lamar Odom’s healthcare scare unfolding in the public’s eye, I thought perhaps someday is today. And when you feel the urge to do something, you do it, even if it is to give something away for free through October 31, 2015.
Just in case you didn’t know, there are two types of advance directives which is usually combined into 1 form: (a)A living will spells out what types of medical treatment a person wants at the end of life if he’s unable to speak for himself. (b)A health care power of attorney appoints someone to make health care decisions — and not just decisions regarding life-prolonging treatments — on one’s behalf. The appointed health care agent (also called an attorney-in-fact or proxy) becomes the patient’s spokesman and advocate on a range of medical treatments the patient sets out in the durable power of attorney for healthcare.
Now that you know, the following are reasons to consider in deciding whether or not you should have the final decisions on health scares:
1. In the absence of this document, in times of crisis, healthcare providers will seek to find next of kin to decide whether or not you live or die. And this can be tricky because folks come out of anywhere to offer up suggestions, professional advice and unsolicited advice until someone shows up to speak on your behalf; which may cause problems based on family dynamics.
2. Sometimes the one in charge is not necessarily the one you would chooses because of decisions they made that caused you pain in the past…. (I’ll leave that one right there).
3. In the absence of an advanced directive or next of kin stepping forward, healthcare providers who don’t know you, your likes, dislikes, preferences and/or religious beliefs will make a decision for you. Just remember, we are speaking of healthcare professionals who assess what, if any, medical treatment you should receive based on their knowledge, experience and intuition.
4. Things get a little tricky regarding how much someone will fight for your life in the absence of paperwork that en$ures your life is worth trying to save.
5. Lastly, some decisions should be considered only when you are in sound mind and body and fully expecting, hoping and dreaming of living your best life instead of scrambling in desperation to do something.
Please note the information should not be deemed as legal advice, but education information that you might want to consider but not necessarily adhere since we’re talking about your story, your life and your legacy. However, if I’ve convinced you enough to consider drafting downloading the attached Healthcare Directive that meets the Commonwealth of PA’s standards. If you are outside of PA, feel free to visit your state’s Attorney General’s Office or AARP website to compare what you need to tweak to ensure your documents comply with your state law.
Do you have any other suggestion to inspire individuals to plan for their future as though their voice matters? If so, please leave a comment below and let me know. Additionally, please don’t forget to share this post with your friends because every should get a free legal treat every once in a while.
P.S. Here is the Link:
We have so much to do regarding changing our mindset about living a good life on THIS side of heaven. The more I see, the more I realize that there is nothing new under the sun regarding the vicious cycle between victims and abusers. I was in a Domestic Violence CLE this morning and broke down because the thorn in my side of losing 2 of my baby sisters as a result of domestic violence will always be a pain point. I didn't know then what I know now which is that the victim must not only want help, but must also be willing to fight for their rights, possibly lose friendships of those who side with the abuser and be willing to walk away from everything they know. Unfortunately, most don’t want to walk away because we only do what we know and are comfortable with things we are most familiar.
By the way, I once prosecuted and defended against Protection from Abuse Orders in Philadelphia for more than 6 years and commend any person who boldly name, claim and do what they need to do to live the life they love. In the CLE I attended, a representative from AEquitas (based in Washington, D.C), mentioned that an expert, Evan Start, pretty much opined that most victims of domestic violence are entrapped in their personal lives because of the vast majority of domestic violence incidences don’t rise to the level of domestic violence crimes or if they do, they are treated as second class misdemeanors.
Or worse yet, most jurors assume the victim did something to provoke the aggressor to beat her, hurt her, push her, shove her and/or rape her. In effect, without real protection, 17:17 victims recant their testimony or refuse to testify at the hearings. And who can blame victims when they know, their abuser will not get real jail time but more than likely stalk them, hunt them down or hold them hostage in their personal lives?
But God has not given us the spirit of fear, but a strong mind that empowers us to do what we need to do to live a meaningful life instead of living as trapped queens. In memory of my sisters and in light of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, please consider helping a sister out by doing one of the following:
1. Take a friend out who you haven’t seen in a while because she withdrew from family and friends. Get her out the house that she feels trapped in and treat her to a Girl’s Night Out; with or without kids.
2. Speak to your legislators and representatives to make sentencing stronger, including witness coercion.
3. Show children that they deserve to be treated with respect and how to deal with conflict.
4. Help women attain much needed educational and economic resources to become financially independent.
5. Reach out to a resource center that helps abused women and finding a name and number of someone she can speak to; I learned that most victims are more likely to speak to a person more so than calling an information line. Who knew; but now that we know better, let’s do better!
Do you have any other suggestion to empower domestic violence victims get out of their current situation to live a better life? Please leave a comment below and let me know. Additionally, please don’t forget to share this post with your friends because every woman deserves to live freely in their life instead of feeling like a hostage in it.
P.S. Here are a few resources to help you get started:
*Association of Domestic Violence Intervention Program: http://www.battererintervention.org/
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/
Women Against Abuse: http://www.womenagainstabuse.org/index.php/our-services/philadelphia-domestic-violence-hotline
National Resource Center on DV: http://www.nrcdv.org/
Have you ever wondered how some people become successful and some people don't? I'm not talking about people who are born with the silver spoon in their mouth, have been tapped by Oprah Winfrey as the next best thing since chicken and waffles or someone who has a voice that makes angels cringe with jealous. No, I'm talking about regular folk who started from the bottom and took repeated leaps of faith to successful live their dreams.
Throughout my entire life I have been plagued with this question because I didn't grow up on the right side of the tracks. Instead, I grew up as a beneficiary of society who needed the benevolence of others, including the government, for food, clothing, shelter, affection and opportunity. And slowly, but surely I have been able to grow further and further away from the status quo of poverty and draw closer and closer to living my dream of being on stage.
Unfortunately, we don't always give ourselves the same flexibility to become the full expression of ourselves. As children, there was always a right way based on our parents, caregivers, social cues or perceptions. And when we didn't measure up, we were deemed as failures which carried over into our adult lives. While the get in to fit in mentality gives us some success, it causes us to become a mere shadow of who God created us to be.
However, in order to become a better version of yourself, you don't need to change who you are. Instead, you must let go of the archetype, mold and/or blueprint of success that has been passed down and shaken together and allow the essence of who you are to emerge.
Have you ever stopped complaining and comparing yourself long enough to appreciate the center of rejuvenating energy ("CORE") of who you are. Your CORE makes you believe that you have divine strength to fulfill a greater destiny despite your life experiences and circumstances. Your CORE helps you believe in the possibility, not probability, of having love, peace, joy and happiness in your life. Similarly, your CORE empowers your spirit to come allow so that you press through the negativity and show up for yourself even if you're by yourself.
Now that you've identified your CORE, take moments throughout your day to improve upon it by studying, strengthening and protecting it by affirming that you are entitled to love, worthy of happiness and more than enough to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and remain faithful throughout the in between. Will it be easy? No, because the art of letting go is not taught but it can be learned once you fully appreciate that you are not imprisoned to your present. But when commit to learning, unlearning and relearning some things, you become better at letting go more of those things that keep you from living from your CORE. Just know, you were fearlessly and wonderfully made to be great, but only you can activate the greatness God put inside of you. Until next time, remember it's your life, your story and your divine destiny so live it to love it!
I hope you enjoyed this afternoon's BLISS Tip! Toni Moore, Esquire is a Legal Makeover Strategist and Motivational Speaker who leverages all that she is to empower individuals to live the life they love regardless of their life experiences, circumstances and/or realities. #bemore
The other day a friend of mine and I were talking about divine favor, blessings and whether or not women who name and claim that they are blessed and highly favored do so contrary to God’s word. Her reasoning was that Mary was the only woman in the bible deemed by God to be blessed and highly favored. Accordingly, no one else was privileged to say that they were blessed and highly favored.
For so many reasons of my own, I began to think about our conversation and whether or not her perception was right and my perception was wrong. But the more I thought about it, the more I stood firm on my beliefs that those who are blessed and highly favor are those who choose to be.
More specifically, if you truly believe you are blessed and highly favored, your mindset will change. Instead of having a woe is me mentality, or why me mentality, you will have an I can have it all, do it all, and achieve it all mentality. In effect, you will appreciate opportunities are often hidden on roads less traveled, embodied in burdens, and/or hidden amongst the thorny garden of obstacles.
Similarly, if you believe you are blessed and highly favored, your lifestyle changes. You won’t have an insatiable need to get in where you seemingly don’t fit in or try to be loved by anybody and everybody in hopes of finding meaning. Instead, will continually make decisions about who you are and what you want. Additionally, you will feel comfortable enough to standards, boundaries and priorities to nurture and protect what you hold dear, love, peace, joy and a desire to become better. In effect, you will eat better, look better, walk better and think better about your ability to make your hopes and dreams come true.
Lastly, those who choose to be blessed and highly favored become blessed and highly favored. Never forget, you are the author and finisher of your fate based on your faith. The mere act of asking helps a person receive what they need because words change worlds. When you speak negativity, you receive negativity because energy goes where you allow your words to flow. In contrast, when you speak positivity, you attract positivity to ensure your words don’t return void. Similarly, as you speak abundance, you will appreciate more opportunities to ensure you achieve abundance. Never forget, what you sow you see and what you see can be seized.
Much like you, I once heard to succeed in life you must go to school, get good grades and get a good paying job upon graduation. And while many have been given the same advice and either ignored it, adhered to it or is still trying to figure out what, if anything, to do with it, we can all attest that what we once thought was “good” advice no longer applies today.
Throughout my life experience, I have met many individuals who achieved success after attending trade school, college, graduate and/or professional school. But I have also met individuals who became mega successful despite dropping out of high school, barely completed two years of college and seemingly doomed to fail from the very beginning, but continually. And despite being baffled by the seeming contradictions and inconsistencies regarding the “good” advice we have heard, the following is what I learned along the way.
Toni Moore, Esquire, a legal empowerment coach and the Founder of Diva Moment, Inc. whose core belief is that more is possible. To learn more about Toni, please visit www.divamoment.org.
Everyone wants something for nothing in that we want to be handed the finer things in life without working for them. We also want to have a perfect body without working out and we even on our jobs, in our businesses.... and gulp, at church, we want to have more power, more respect and more promotions just for showing up and doing our jobs. Yes, even me because I read the same fairy tales and most and the little girl within me wants to have it all without having to do much work. But in my wiser years, I have learned to appreciate the lessons learned while playing basketball during my youthful years.
1. No pain, no gain. Regardless of common beliefs, you are paid to do your work, but you are recognized and remembered by others based on the sacrifices you make. So regardless of whether you must endure the pain of being laughed at, mocked by others for going the extra mile or watching less qualified colleagues receive promotion after promotion, never forget that gains come after the pain.
2. Know the players. People say many things about their expectations, values and beliefs, but you must learn to appreciate who who you're working with. Whether consciously or unconsciously, people show you who they are based on their actions after they pull off the mask, pull down their neckties and be themselves after business hours. Accordingly, you need to learn the players by spending time with them both in and out of the office.
3. There is no I in team. Life is a competition and in business everything is about the bottom line. And while you may received your job because of the school you attended, who you know or your social, business or political connections, you must go above and beyond your job duties to help the team win. And helping the team win, ultimately helps you.
4. MVPs serve others. Throughout my career, I have helped others shift their focus from work-related problems to the potential of more favorable outcomes. Some are selfish and refuse to shift from complaining to complying, but others eventually realize that whiners, complainers and under-achievers are ignored and eventually walked out the door. But those who continually serve and support others, are remembered and rewarded for being a contributing asset.
5. Your reputation matters. What you do on and off the court matters just as what you do in and out of the office. Integrity and credibility goes hand in hand. If you have shown others that you will cheat, lie and steal, no one will trust you. Similarly, if your activities outside of work goes too far outside the norm, you will jeopardize your opportunities for growth because people will only see your differences instead of your similarities.
6. Success is a moving target. The only thing worse than a person who don't do anything other than the bear minimum is the person who won't do because of their fame from previous performances. Similar to what Janet Jackson said it best in her song, "What Have you Done for Me Lately, ". in the business world of benchmarks, competition and shattering unrealistic expectations, you have to do more in each day than you have ever done before.
7. Work harder everyday. When you know more, you do more and when you do more, you end appreciating who and what you are working with, the issues and problems on the horizon, management's expectations and everything else in between.
So despite what you have heard, learned or done in the past, in order to play big and play for keeps, you must always appreciate what you are working with.
Toni Moore, Esquire is an author, speaker and legal coach who inspires women to redefine their possibilities by embracing their personal power. Feel free to connect with Toni on Twitter/Instagram/Gmail: @ToniDivamoment.
We are who we are because of our past, but we are not limited to it or defined by it. Instead, our past helped us know who we are, what we are made of, what we can do and what we are not meant to do.
It took me a long time to appreciate that I am who I am because of my past. For many years, I lived as a traumatized young woman who once suckled on TANF benefits and lived in shelters for women and/or foster care and I despised every moment of it. While I fully appreciated that my childhood was a temporary phase in my life, I despised my humble beginnings and tried to deny their very existence. Unfortunately, by denying my humble beginnings, I never gave myself a chance to appreciate the strife lessons so I was forced to relive the experiences in so many ways.
There is an African Proverb that says that the best help is self help. Unfortunately, self help from the place of bitterness will only hurt you because you will attract who you are and what you are. More specifically, you will attract negativity in every aspect of your life which will keep you bitter thus causing you to be more bitter which in turn will cause you to attract more bitterness. However, self help from the place of gratefulness will help you appreciate that you must go through hell to appreciate the pieces of heaven in the least expected places such as the hearts that shared, the resources given and that adversity makes you an expert in making progress.
Being grateful throughout the journey also helps you appreciate that you had grown through what you went through because of the light within you. Your inner light enlightens your mind and motivates you to believe in yourself and empowers you to keep moving forward. And as you continually move forward to something more than you have seen before or a dream, you haven't dreamed before, you discover your ability to redefine your possibilities through people you meet along the way. And a newfound tribe of dreamers, divas and visionistas as Business Coach Lynn Bardowski says helps you approach your journey to more from a different viewpoint. This in turn inspires you to seek and tweak along the way so that you can manifest your hopes and dreams.
By trusting more of your God-given gifts, talents and dreams, you become a better version of yourself who seeks more to know more. And as you know more about who you are, your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities and your truth, you become more curious about how the endless possibilities within you can become better, greater and more.
Toni Moore, Esquire is a Legal Strategist and Purposeful Makeover Coach who inspires individuals to reimagine their possibilities despite their life experience and circumstance. Twitter/Instagram: @ToniDivamoment
The other day, my seven year old son told me that he needed to bring a collection of 100 things to his first grade class in celebration of 100 days of school. During the past few years, I have visited Pinterest to help both of my sons create unique school projects in between long work days and fly by night weekends. But this year was different because I had just returned from a week long business trip and was faced with tons of laundry and a huge to do list of simplistic things that seemingly only wanted my attention.
As I looked down in my son's big brown eyes, I pondered whether he would be content with bringing a box of 100 paper clips, a bag of 100 staples or 100 sheets of copy paper to school for his class presentation. But then I recalled my promise that I would give him an experience of a lifetime if I was blessed to conceive him and to give birth to him despite my challenges with fertility. So with less than 20 minutes to spare, we ran off to Target to purchase a collection of 100 things before it closed.
While my son excitedly ran through aisle after aisle hoping to find something fun and creative, I trudged along. We couldn't find anything that caught our eyes that wasn't banned on the school list, such as marbles, colored Pom Pom balls, thumb tacks and collectible cards. After ten minutes or so, I made an executive decision to buy 100 character stickers to place in a hand-drawn maze to depict Maze Runner, a movie we recently watched. But as I waited at the check-out counter to purchase the poster board and stickers, I saw a bag of Dum-Dum lollipops lying next us.
And as I picked up the bag of Dum Dum pops, I began to think of myself, my clients and our competition. Much like Dum-Dum pops, thought leaders, inspirational speakers and transformational coaches have similar wrappings in that we have similar messages, similar platforms, similar pricing and similar promises of making life sweeter for others. But despite what people see on the outside as being the same, what is on the inside makes the difference. Much like the flavors of the Dum-Dum lollipops, our process of becoming was different in that some of us have been cherry picked, some have always been an apple of another's eyes and others have been surprised by life. Similarly, our tastes have been molded and shaped based on our life experiences. In effect, some of us have become a little bitter, a little sweeter, a little more savvy, a little more strategic, a little more spiritual and a little more braver for some, but just right for others.
However, unlike Dum Dum pops none of us are limited to sitting off to the side in hopes that someday we would be discovered, selected and appreciated by others for a fleeting moment. Instead, we can seek, find and connect with those who crave a solution to their problems based on their tastes. We can also offer opportunities to allow others to taste and see that we are good enough to satisfy their cravings for the sweeter, finer and more fulfilling things in life. Lastly, the sweetness within is abundant and everlasting which help us satisfy those who like us, know us and get us throughout our lifetime. And as we continually appreciate our inner sweetness, we inspire others to keep coming back for more!
Toni Moore, Esquire is a legal coach and Purposeful Makeover Strategist who inspires women to embrace their personal power to redefine their possibilities. Feel free to connect with Toni on Twitter/Instagram/Gmail: @ToniDivamoment.
Once upon a time, we women were promised a penny for our thoughts, a nickel for a kiss and a dime to tell others that we loved them. Fast forward to 2014 and some of our sisters showcase their hidden treasures without the pretense of getting anything more than a pat on their cheek. And before you judge me for being a self-respecting woman, believe me when I say I don’t knock any woman’s hussle. In truth, I have plenty of girlfriends who repeatedly showcase their minds, their personality and artistry without disrespecting themselves or denigrating the sisterhood despite wanting more and having less than most. But then there are women who have it all because of their name, fame and willingness to continually push the envelope to attract the masses with their behinds.
Kim Kardashian West, wife, mother, “celebrity,” tried to shock us yet again in an attempt to break the internet. Throughout the day, my male colleagues mentioned the boldness of Kim Kardashian who permitted others to grease her down and display her family jewels in a cartoonish manner. As though seeing her naked behind was not shocking enough, she gave proudly displayed her tools of the trade yet again. When asked why she did what she did, Kardashian who was once a personal shopper to the rich is now worth millions, explained that working with Jean Paul Goude was an honor. Goude on the other hand, honored and respected Kardashian so much so that he depicted her as a caricature of his 1976 piece, Caroline Beumont, which originally starred a black woman.
From Classy to Trashy
While Kardashian did not break the internet, she was also not the first to bear all for the sake of art since a quick internet search, shows that Lady Gaga and Madonna did the same. And although the classier mega stars do not readily strip down to their birthday suits for free, they offer peep shows and tease our minds with explicit sexual connotations of what they could do or would do while on their knees. Well-known mothers, I mean celebrities, such as Beyonce Knowles Carter, Tamar Braxton and Ciara are specific examples of women who were fearfully and wonderfully made to be talented, gifted and graced with opportunities to increase their net worth come to mind, but instead often choose to perpetuate the 'Jungle Bunny' stereotype.
Nothing New Under the Sun
Unfortunately there is nothing new under the sun because what is shocking for us now was once done again and again and again. Much to the chagrin of others, women such as Josephine Baker, Florence Mills and Maya Angelou, dances their way to riches. However, during their era they were hardly multi-millionaires who could use their cross-cultural platform to offer a different perspective by being the change we hope to see. However, with limited choices to pursue their dream, most only do what they know. However, when we know better, we are expected to do better.
However, despite their ability to fulfill themselves while rising to the top, they diminish their value by merely showcasing their “pocketbooks.” And while most celebrities have not gone to the extreme as Kim Kardashian West, they are no better since they are often on center stage, gracing magazine covers and entertaining privately in their leotards and body suits. Instead of titillating our minds, they profiteer from titillating the hearts of some women and the strong muscle that often possess the hearts of men. However, their message of empowerment is conflicted since they speak about girl power with their lips while telling us to “work what our mama’s gave us” with their hips.
I often wonder about the legacy of our destiny and whether we are losing the soul of our soulfulness by denigrating ourselves much like the stripper who winds her body around the poles. And while some literally choose to use what they got to get what they want, it makes it harder for the rest of us role models who are also wives, mothers and business women to be taken seriously while attempting to inspire the next generation of women and girls to expect more, to follow their hearts and pursue their dreams fully clothed.
Toni Moore, Esquire is a Purposeful Makeover Coach and Legal Strategist who empowers women and gToniDivamomentore fabulously by pursuing their dreams. -@ToniDivamoment
Toni Moore, Esq.
Toni is an attorney and business coach who is committed to helping women uplevel their success.
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