Getting the Most Out of Your Job Benefits at Work
Many jobs offer benefits to employees that can make a huge impact on your financial situation like paid vacation, health insurance, child care, and other provisions. These benefits are meant to make your life easier, but sometimes employers don't do a great job explaining what's available, or how different options can affect your pay or work expectations. Let's take a look at some of the most important things to consider when choosing job benefits.
Paid to Move
If your job is in a city or region that you don't currently live in, many employers will offer to help pay some or all of your moving expenses. If you're considering a new job that requires relocation, Idealist Careers recommends asking up front if the employer is willing to pay for the cost of moving expenses or offer a flat payout intended to partially compensate.
Many employers will offer health care as a benefit that covers some or all of your medical expenses. Good Call says it's important to carefully review the types of plans offered, as they will likely have different deductibles, premiums, and prescription coverage that can impact how much of your paycheck you get to take home each month. Employers might even offer dental or vision coverage, with different costs associated with each, as add-ons to basic health care coverage.
Build Your 401k
Saving for retirement is essential no matter what job you have, and many employers are happy to help you out in this endeavor by offering to match contributions you make to your own 401k plan. To ensure you're getting the most bang for your buck, College Grad reminds us that many employers will have a maximum cap on the amount they will match your contribution each year, and some even cap how much you can contribute yourself. Be sure to ask HR about these policies when planning how to allocate you pay each month.
We all need a break now and then, but employee vacation benefits can be riddled with restrictions and caveats according to Idealist Careers. Some employers may require a minimum number of months worked before vacation time becomes available or may restrict certain times of year from being used for vacations. Carefully check the rules for vacation time so you don't miss your flight to Cancun next summer!
Life and Disability Insurance
Having life insurance provided through your employer can make a huge difference to the lives of your family if something were to happen to you on the job, so it's important to consider if you have people depending on your income. Investopedia notes that disability insurance is important for you personally whether you have dependents or not, as it can supplement your income in the event you become disabled and can no longer work.
Pay for Education
Some employers want to invest in your success and may offer a tuition reimbursement plan if you choose to go back to school when you're not at work. College Grad warns that it's important to fully understand these types of agreements before signing up for classes, as employers may only pay the full amount if you perform at your best and could choose to lower their share of payment if, for example, you bring home a few Bs instead of straight As.
Sock Away Stocks
Find out right away if your employer offers stock options to employees, because they are a great way to increase your wealth over the long term. The Balance Careers explains that many companies will sell stock to employees for less than their market value and designate a waiting period before you are allowed to sell. In many cases it's better to hold onto these stocks well beyond the waiting period, because if the company does well, they can continue to increase in value without you needing to do extra work.
Employee benefits come in many shapes and sizes, but they're all designed to help you be a happier, more productive worker. Use this guide as a starting point for considering your benefits when you start a new job and be sure to ask your HR professionals about any unique benefits they might offer. If there are any, take care to review them carefully to you can maximize your benefits and your peace of mind.