Employee Benefit Plans

While it is an expense, the cost of not providing enough benefits can be high; it may mean trained staff move on to companies, possibly your competitors, where they may feel more secure. Especially for small firms, this presents a very high potential cost.

In reality, most any size company can provide a benefit plan, you just need one that fits your needs and budget. At Cornerstone Financial Group, we’re specialists in helping you design and implement quality benefit programs that are affordable and attractive. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, we can design programs that specifically fit your needs.

As your company grows, we can expand the employee benefit plans, too.

Benefit Plans that Work for Everyone

It is a well-known phenomenon that employee benefits engender more loyalty than additional financial compensation. Furthermore, the government provides tax breaks to encourage companies to provide fringe benefits.

Especially for small firms with limited budgets, the key is to provide the right kind of benefits. Our specialists work with you to design a plan that meets the specific needs of your company and your workforce.

Services Tailored to Your Company’s Needs

At Cornerstone Financial Group, we’re here to provide you the help that you need. We can help you create a whole new employee benefit plan or retirement plan. Or, maybe you have a plan but it could be better, or more efficient to manage. In that case, we can help you adjust it so it is better suited to your staff and your business.
The plans our specialists recommend can include a wide array of elements including:
We will help you design a combination of benefits that will help keep your employees happy. We can also help you with communications to your employees so they can easily understand the plan offerings.

Why Choose Us for your Employee Benefits?

You have many choices when it comes to financial advisors for employee benefits. Here’s why we’re different:

Things You Should Know about Retirement Plans and Benefits

There are laws and regulations that employers must adhere to when planning or administering employee benefits.

First, there are several basic benefits that you as an employer must provide by law. These mandated benefits include social security and Medicare, worker’s compensation, unemployment insurance, family and medical leave and COBRA health care benefits.

Also, you might be subject to a requirement to provide health care depending upon the number of employees on your payroll. (Talk to a professional to determine any additional requirements that may apply to you.)

Beyond those, most benefits are optional.

Retirement Plans and Small Business

Retirement plans are an extremely effective tool to help you retain employees. Many small firms have realized that so now have a retirement plan. However, it is critical to understand that having a retirement plan brings the responsibility to manage employee money very carefully. But as a busy business owner, it’s not always easy to find the time to do this right.

Recently this has become even more important. There has been a growing trend toward litigation against retirement plans. Originally, the lawsuits were mostly against large plans. Over the past few years, however, plans of all sizes, including small ones, have been targeted as well.

When you risk getting sued for a misstep, it’s critical to get experienced, professional help to ensure you do it right. Plan administration must be handled according to regulation or you can risk potential liability. Plans that include profit-sharing are even more complex, and present even more opportunity for error.

Keeping Your Company Compliant

At Cornerstone Financial Group, we’re specialists in employee benefits, pension plans, and retirement plans, so we help make sure you get and stay compliant. We stay up to date with all the applicable regulations including the Department of Labor and Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Our goal is to keep you compliant so you can minimize any potential liability going forward.

Types of Retirement Plans

When you’re ready to add a retirement plan to your benefits package, you will have several options to choose from. Each offers a different set of benefits and features. Here are the two general types of retirement plans.

Traditional Defined Benefit Pension Plans.

The defined benefit plan used to be common, but now is not used often. This plan is entirely employer-funded and provides your staff with a fixed dollar benefit each month at retirement. The company assumes all of the risk and employees are not required to contribute to the plan.

Defined Contribution Plans.

With people living longer, defined benefit pension plans quickly became unaffordable for employers. That ushered in a different type of retirement plan, the “defined contribution plan”. Here employees set aside a portion of their salary on a regular basis to save for their retirement. These funds are held in a retirement account where they are allowed to grow in value without being taxed.
Within those categories, here are the most common retirement plans in use by employers today:

401(k) Plan.

The 401(k) retirement plan has become the most common alternative to the traditional pension plan. Employees make tax-deductible contributions up to a maximum limit each year. Contributions grow on a tax-deferred basis. Commonly, the employer will provide a partial to full match of the employee contribution. The employer may also add a profit-sharing component. Employees then manage their individual accounts within the 401(k) plan. These plans usually have vesting requirements where employer match money becomes the participant’s property only after a certain number of years.

Roth 401(k) Plan.

The “Roth” version of the 401(k) retirement plan offers some of the benefits of the original 401(k) plan, but with some adjustments. Instead of taking the immediate tax deduction, contributions are made on an after-tax basis. However, all withdrawals from the plan are tax-free in retirement, as long as all rules are followed.

403(b) Plan.

The 403(b) retirement plan is a variation of the 401(k) plan intended to be used by nonprofit organizations such as public schools, tax-exempt organizations, and certain religious organizations. Participants can include teachers, school staff, professors, government employees, and medical personnel. These plans can invest in either annuities or mutual funds. Many features of the 403(b) are similar to those found in the 401(k) plan.

457 Plan.

The 457 plan is another variation of the 401(k) plan, but is intended for state and local government employees. In addition, a 457 plan can be used for highly compensated employees of certain nonprofit organizations. Otherwise, the features are very similar to the 401(k).

Simple Plan.

For the smallest employers, there is yet another option: the Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees of Small Employers (SIMPLE). This is a type of tax-deferred retirement account that may be established by employers or self-employed people. The employer gets a tax deduction for contributions made to a SIMPLE account. Employees also may make tax-deductible contributions.

Things You Should Know About Health Insurance Benefits

Health care coverage is extremely important to most employees, so it’s worth your while to provide this critical benefit. With high costs and a rapidly changing landscape, however, there’s nothing simple about providing health care benefits anymore.

That’s why getting a specialist’s input when planning is smart.

You’ll need to choose between two different strategies—fully insured and self-insured.

Fully-Insured Health Care Plans
Fully-insured health plans are what most people are familiar with. With these plans, the company will pay a monthly premium to cover its employees. The insurance company collects the premium, then it pays for claims based on the agreed coverage. Your employees remain responsible for any deductibles and co-payments required.
Self-Insured Health Care Plans
For larger companies, a self-insured health care plan allows employers to basically set up and manage their own health care plan. These plans require careful design and planning, where employers assume responsibility for all costs including claim payments and all administration. Stop-loss insurance can be used to limit the maximum risk assumed by the employer.


Find out if we’re a good match for your needs. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to help us get to know each other. We can meet by phone, in-person, or online.