What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Advice for Employees

August 16, 2012, 12:00 AM

What's the Big Idea?

When it comes to making choices about benefits, keep it simple, says Bruce Finley, Senior Partner and the Director of Global Workplace Communication at Mercer -- and calculate, calculate, calculate. If we're willing to do the math and put the time in to making informed decisions about the big stuff, the little things become less important and less time-consuming.  

Watch the interview:  

What's the Significance?

The choices we make about benefits are personal and emotional. They force us to ask uncomfortable questions, and sometimes, to face uncomfortable truths. (Can I really afford to retire this year, or should I postpone it until next year?) As an employee, you should be willing to ask your employer for help understanding the full implications of your options in a rational way. A good employer will lay out all the options clearly, simply, and empathetically, says Finley.  

Before making any decision about benefits, ask yourself these three questions:

1. Should you participate or not -- and up to what level? 

The answer is usually yes -- get involved, and save as much as you can possibly afford to. Many employers will offer to match whatever contribution you make to your retirement savings plan, for instance. Take them up on it.

2. How much does this cost you?

Sit down and calculate the monthly cost of your benefits -- how much do you need to be putting away each month for retirement? How much do you pay for medical care? "Often people over-insure themselves," says Finley. "They get a plan that’s maybe got too rich benefits compared to how much they’re using..." Consider whether a more streamlined plan would be a better value for you. T

3. What's the right way to participate?

Put your investments in a balanced program, says Finley. You can do that by choosing a retirement fund that's target-based and self-invest for you. When it comes to your healthcare coverage, research how to get the best reimbursement for the conditions that you're going to be involved in. Again, take the time to calculate which plan is right for you, rather than just guessing -- you could end up saving yourself a significant amount of money. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Yuri Arcurs


Advice for Employees

Newsletter: Share: