Are Employee Benefits a Deal Breaker For Your New Job?

Starting a new job or getting a promotion is very exciting.  It means you’re moving up the career ladder and hopefully getting one step closer to landing your dream job.  So often people only negotiate their salary when starting a new job, but your total employee benefits package includes so much more than just money.

Employers want to retain the best talent and now with the YOLO mentality of millennials they know potential employees are looking at more than just their paycheck.  Your total employee benefits package includes other monetary factors such as a 401k plan for retirement savings, health, dental and vision insurance as well as paid time off.  It can also include other benefits such as a gym membership, company paid cell phone and public transit pass.

Not to brag, but I know a thing or two about starting a new job.  Since the market crash in 2008 I’ve had three promotions because the need for content has taken over the internet in the financial services industry.  The fact that I’m also a Certified Financial Planner gives me a leg up on other candidates – or at least I think so.

If you are looking for a new job, ask yourself what would make you choose one offer over another.  Is it the workplace culture?  Maybe.  Is it the flexibility to work from home?  That helps.  Or is it the total value of your employee benefits including base salary, bonus and other perks?  Yes, that’s probably it.

Are you taking advantage of all your employee benefits?

Employer matching 401k plan

You may love your job, but let’s be honest, we all want to retire someday.  Maybe not today, maybe not until 30 years from now, but eventually that day will come for all of us.  As a CFP I can tell you that retirement isn’t magic.  It takes planning and savings.  Hopefully your employer will help you do it.

Ask your employer about a retirement savings plan.  Very often employers offer a matching contribution plan i.e. for every $1 you contribute your employer contributes $0.50 or even $1.  These contributions are usually deducted from your paycheck before it’s deposited into your bank account and therefore you won’t miss the money. 

Getting a matching contribution from your employer is free money in your pocket, you’d be crazy not to take advantage of it.

Health, dental, vision and life insurance

Life is expensive.  When you add in the cost of doctor’s visits, trips to the dentist, monthly prescriptions and the cost of prescription eye glasses annual medical expenses can quickly add up.  Employer sponsored health care plans can help cover some or all of these expenses. 

Group insurance rates are cheaper than if you were going to buy coverage on your own from a third party, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of a health care plan if it’s offered says personal financial planning service LearnVest.  Not all employers offer health insurance coverage so if you’re one of the lucky ones then your only question should be “where do I sign?”

Vacation time

Money is important, but it’s not everything.  Paid time off can be more important.  If an employer is not willing to negotiate the salary you want ask for the equivalent in vacation time. 

Sometimes it’s worth it to take an extra week or two of vacation instead of more cash in your pocket (especially after tax).  Besides there’s  no point in making big bucks if you don’t have the time off to spend it.

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One thought on “Are Employee Benefits a Deal Breaker For Your New Job?

  • Benefits are truly a dealbreaker. I’ve had 4 weeks of vacation for the past 11 years… I couldn’t imagine working for a place that had less than that. Even something so small as whether you have access to vacation upfront vs. needing to accrue it throughout the year. My wife’s job requires her to accrue, whereas every job I’ve had for the past 16 years has provided the vacation allowance up front. It makes vacation planning more cumbersome for us.

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