Looking for a Job? Don’t Forget the Benefits!

by Miranda Marquit · 2 comments

getting a job
Job hunters often fixate on salary when looking for a job. After all, income is a very important piece of your financial puzzle.

However, the reality is that salary isn’t everything. Sometimes good benefits are worth a little bit of a salary cut.

I recently signed on for a “real” job with Student Loan Hero — my first such job in more than a decade.

Before I made the leap back into the world of salaried employment, though, I looked at the benefits and perks.

Does it mean a slight pay cut for me to do this job? The answer was yes, but the benefits far outweigh what I’m giving up in income.

Help with Healthcare is a BIG Deal

One of the biggest benefits you receive when “working for the man” is healthcare, as many employers offer subsidized healthcare. This means your company pays for some of your monthly premium, reducing what you pay out of pocket. The year I had benefits through my now-ex’s work was amazing. We paid half what we used to, and it came out of the paycheck, so it felt like it wasn’t even there.

My new job doesn’t have a health plan, but there is a wellness stipend. This wellness stipend covers my health insurance cost and my gym membership. That’s a nice perk and amounts to free money.

Retirement Account

Your company’s retirement plan can be worth a lot over time too. If your employer offers a 401(k) match, that’s free money. Not only is it free money, but it’s money that grows at a tax-advantaged rate over time. This gives you a bigger benefit down the road. Work for a company with a solid match policy, and your returns over time can more than make up for whatever you’re missing in terms of annual salary.

Telecommuting

I consider this a major perk for any job. One of the reasons I decided to accept a job with a salary is that this is all remote work. I don’t have a commute. Honestly, my lifestyle has barely changed at all since starting work. While I do have to plan to attend video conferencing meetings a couple times a week, and make time for other items, the reality is that there is still a lot of flexibility in my schedule and that matters.

If you can find a job that lets you telecommute two or three times a week, that’s a major benefit that could help your situation. Can you use that time to save on childcare? Save money in other ways? Have a better schedule? Those improve your life that money may not be able to buy.

Other Perks

Think about other benefits and perks that might come with your job. Do you get a company car or smartphone? Perhaps there is on-site daycare. Maybe you can get healthy meals in the cafeteria. Some companies offer stipends for continued learning or tuition reimbursement. Another benefit that is becoming increasing popular is student loan repayment help. These perks can be a big deal for some people who can use them.

Take a look at the benefits offered by your new job. Can they help your lifestyle better than a mere salary bump? If so, take that into consideration when deciding between job offers.

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  • Help with healthcare is definitely a pretty big deal. Many don’t realize how much some companies subsidize on their behalf for health insurance until they become responsible for all of it.

  • Nick Vail says:

    Great points! I often find that people don’t grasp how much workplace benefits are really worth. I can tell you as a self-employed individual, health care is EXTREMELY expensive.

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