How Much Do You Really Make? Calculate the Value of Your Benefits
When you get a job offer, you’re probably focused on salary, title and growth potential, which are important things to evaluate. But are you taking the time to understand the value of your new benefits package and any additional company “perks”?
If your main concern is the amount of money you’ll see in your paycheck, take a step back — think about how much a comprehensive benefits package is really worth.
A 401(k) Plan
If you have access to a 401(k) retirement plan through your employer, you’ll be able to contribute a certain percentage of your income to this fund each year, tax free. Your new company may offer to match your 401(k) contribution up to a certain percentage, or dollar for dollar.
Say you contribute $10,000 from your salary to your 401(k) next year, and your company matches your contribution — this means your company is also contributing $10,000 to your retirement fund.
The tax savings on your contributions is a great monetary benefit, and a dollar for dollar match from your employer could nearly double your retirement savings.
Many companies offer their employees group health, vision and dental insurance. When you review your new company’s insurance plans, find out how much your out of pocket costs may be for monthly premiums, copays and deductibles. Your new employer might cover a percentage of your health insurance premiums, or give you access to a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA), which let you set aside money from your paycheck to use toward qualified healthcare costs.
Your new company may also offer voluntary benefit options that you can opt into for additional coverage and financial protection, including life insurance, disability insurance, accident insurance, or even a pre-paid legal plan. These employee-paid options are often available at group rates and can help to round out your financial safety net. For example, if you have an unexpected legal issue, or you need help drafting documents for home ownership or a will, a legal services plan can help decrease the financial burden of hiring a lawyer.
If you’re thinking about starting a family, or if you already have a young family, find out if the company offers any additional childcare benefits.
Some companies may even offer onsite childcare centers. According to a 2015 survey by Care.com, parents typically spend more than $20,000 annually on childcare, so any work sponsored childcare benefits could help you save more.
Paid Time Off (PTO)
Companies offer paid time off in various ways. Some assign holidays, sick time or personal days separately, while others combine all paid time off into one pool. Many companies now offer unlimited paid time off, creating more flexibility among their employees.
A company with a great time off policy values your personal time, and empowers you to prioritize personal wellness. You’ll be able to plan time off that is restorative, which can improve your overall work performance.
Meals and Snacks
Does your company supply free coffee, tea or snacks around the office, or free breakfast or lunch? If not, you could be spending anywhere between $50 and $100 a week outside of the office, depending on where you live. Think about how this adds up in a year’s time. If your company does provide these perks, you could potentially move this expense from your weekly budget directly into your savings account.
Health and wellness should be a top priority for any company you decide to work for. If your new company offers a discounted gym membership or an on-campus health and fitness center, this is great perk that can save you money and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
Gym membership fees can range from $50 to over $100 per month. If your company offers a free gym membership, this is a great incentive to prioritize health and fitness, and a huge cost savings each year.
Find out if your company offers a commuting stipend or a commuter benefits program. Some commuter benefits programs may actually save you money, as the amount you set aside to pay for your monthly commute can be automatically deducted from your paycheck — it won’t count as income, so you won’t be taxed on it.
When you’re deciding whether or not to take the job, review your comprehensive benefits package in detail — it can make your offer a lot more competitive. These benefits and perks show how much your employer cares about your well-being, which can be just as meaningful as the job offer itself.
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