As Figure Skating Coaches, we have the privilege of working in an industry we love and are passionate about. Our careers as coaches bring us much joy, we find ourselves fortunate to have this opportunity. However, an area in which our industry is lacking is the absence of an employee benefits package. Many figure skating coaches are self- employed and as a result do not receive employee benefits. What many of us gain in job satisfaction, we lose in the financial security of having an employee benefits package.
An employee benefits package typically includes: health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance and a retirement plan. These products are important as they provide individuals and their families with financial security and protect against financial hardship. As self-employed individuals, it is up to us to purchase these products on our own and it is important we understand how these products work and the benefits they can provide.
With the passing of the Affordable Care Act, individuals who are not covered by an employer sponsored health plan or public insurance program are mandated to purchase their own individual health plans. Individual health plans can be purchased through the Health Care Exchange, a Health Care Company or an Insurance Agency. In addition to the purchase of health insurance being necessary as it is mandated by federal law, having a health plan is necessary in helping to protect your financial stability. Health Care costs can be extreme and in some cases unmanageable without the protection of a health insurance plan. Some things to consider when purchasing a health plan are: what doctors and hospitals are in your network, what are your out-of-pocket costs, what is your annual deductible and what are the monthly premium payments. There are choices when purchasing health plans and these along with other plan features are important factors to consider when purchasing a plan. As a consumer, you want to find a plan that is suitable to your affordability and to your individual health care needs. Ultimately, you want a plan to help you manage your health care costs and protect you from a catastrophic health event which could be financially devastating.
Disability Insurance is another important product that can aid in protecting against financial loss. Our careers as coaches require us to be physically active, often times on the ice teaching in skates. If we lose that ability due to illness or injury, whether in the short term or long term there is a possibility our income will be affected. Disability Insurance protects an individual from loss of income due to injury or illness based on a percentage of income and for a specified period of time. Purchasing a disability insurance plan is a way to ensure you will receive income even if you are not able to coach due to injury or illness.
Life Insurance is often times the most difficult product to talk about. However, a life insurance policy also tends to provide families the most financial stability and protection against financial hardship in the event of a devastating loss. There are various types of life insurance policies including term life, whole life and universal life. These different types of life insurance products offer various benefits such as income protection, cash reserves and tax free death benefits. Life Insurance is imperative when it comes to protecting families against income loss due to the devastating death of a loved one.
A common area of concern for many figure skating coaches is retirement savings. Many self-employed coaches are without a 401-K or pension plan and are left to provide for their own retirement. A type of product that is used for retirement savings and income is called a Fixed Annuity. Fixed Annuities are used to store and build retirement savings, provide safety against market risk and provide either, a steady stream of income, a lump sum distribution or an immediate payout during retirement years depending on the type of annuity purchased.
There are several insurance products in the marketplace that can aid coaches in implementing their own benefits package. As coaches we want to be assured that we safeguard against financial hardship as well as prepare for our financial futures. If the day comes when coaching is no longer a part of our livelihood, or an unforeseen event occurs we need to be financially prepared.
Chizmark Larson Insurance Agency