Finding a job you love and that pays the bills feels like hitting the jackpot. It’s awesome to do rewarding and challenging work and get paid for it.
Many young professionals only focus on the salary aspect of their job. But your income is just one factor in your total compensation.
Be sure you’re taking home more than just your salary: take advantage of the company benefits that come with your job. It’s called a benefit for a reason — it’s a perk or added bonus on top of your base salary.
Here are some benefits you should look into, and ensure you’re using:
Paid Time Off
Your job is where you will be spending the majority of your time, day in and day out. It’s important that you like your job and enjoy what you do.
But even if you love what you do, you’ll want to evaluate your paid time off. This refers to vacation time, sick time, and personal time.
Some companies have lenient paid time off policies, while others have strict you-only-get-five-days-off-the-first-year policies. Think about work-life balance, your family, and your goals and dreams.
Does your paid time off allow you to do the things you want? For example, if you know you need to travel home for Christmas and take a week off, but your company only provides a handful of days off, you need to factor that into your overall compensation.
Various Types of Insurance
Another important thing to factor in to your total compensation is what types of insurance your company provides. Health insurance is a big one.
Health insurance bought independently can be costly, so having a company that pays for a large percentage if not all of your health insurance will increase your overall compensation. Companies can often provide better health insurance than what you may be able to afford independently — a comparable plan purchased independently could run you several hundred dollars per month.go
Aside from looking at your health insurance premium, look at what unique advantages your health plan may offer. Some health plans offer alternative services such as naturopathy, massages, or chiropractic work.
Having access to those services can be a nice perk — but to take advantage of it, you need to know what your plan offers.
While health insurance is a huge factor in your compensation, be sure to look into other insurance plans your employer may offer, such as life insurance and disability insurance too. You will want to know the ins and out of your plans, and know exactly what is covered and what isn’t.
These types of insurance can help protect you and your family — and your finances! Disability insurance can also help protect your most valuable asset, which is your ability to earn an income.
FSAs and HSAs
Aside from insurance, other perks that companies offer may include a flexible spending account and/or a health savings account. Each of these can help lower your overall medical costs.
FSAs allow employees to put a portion of their earnings aside to help cover qualified expenses, such as medical or dependent care. And a bonus: the money that is deducted from your paycheck is not subject to payroll tax.
However, most plans have a “use it or lose it” policy, so it’s best to get your check-ups done and actually benefit from this perk.
HSAsh are similar to FSAs, but are used for only medical expenses. They have a more flexible policy that allows your funds to roll over, in contrast to the use it or lose it policy.
These two plans can save you money on your medical expenses and provide some nice tax perks.
One of the best ways an employer can increase your compensation is through employer-sponsored retirement plans that offer a company match. Essentially, your employer may match your retirement contributions up to a certain point. Hello, free money!
To really evaluate your compensation package, look at what type of employer-sponsored retirement plans your company offers and inquire about a match.
Nontraditional Perks and Other Company Benefits
Aside from traditional company benefits, see if your employer has any non-traditional perks.
Do you work for a hot startup with stock options available? Do you have access to free lunches or generous bonuses? Does your employer provide tuition reimbursement or offer additional training opportunities?
All of these things should be considered when looking at your overall compensation.
Your job is where you will be spending the majority of your time, so it’s important to look at all aspects of compensation. Your compensation is so much more than just your salary — to calculate the real value you’re receiving in exchange for the work you do, you’ll want to look into these added benefits and take advantage of these perks.