When I was fresh out of school and beginning to look for jobs, I didn't always know what to look for in a prospective company. Well, experience is a great teacher. I now know that a few "little" benefits can make a big difference in both your financial outlook and morale.
For instance, if you choose a company that offers a fitness benefit to encourage employees to exercise, you can get $150 towards a health club membership. What about a job that has a generous sick day policy, or offers free disability insurance? Other things to look for include employee discounts, on-site fitness facilities, a good healthcare plan with low co-pays (if you see a doctor regularly or experience one major illness, this can make a huge difference), flexible hours, and referral bonuses if the company hires people you refer.
Imagine this scenario. The prospective company offers a fitness benefit worth $150 savings per year. The co-pays are $10 to $20 cheaper than your last company, which is a $100 saving over the course of a year. They offer a discounted car insurance that provides a $150 savings. Their free disability insurance has a $200 value. And their referral bonus (imagine you refer one friend) is $500. A reimbursement for Weight Watchers membership is $150. If they provide three weeks of vacation instead of the standard two, you can include one week's worth of salary to your benefits. If they provide free checking, you'll save $144 if you previously paid for checking. Your estimated savings per year could be $1394 and one week's worth of salary.
The thing that I have learned is that companies with poor benefits tend to gloss over their benefit plan during the hiring process, whereas companies with excellent plans tend to explicitly outline all of the benefits available. Not only do these benefits have a dollar value that can benefit your bottom line, they also boost morale and make you feel like a valued employee, which is something I have found to be incredibly important. I highly recommend taking these things into consideration when you're looking for a job. It also pays to read about salary and benefit negotiations, because often you can get more than is initially offered. Remember that you are a valuable employee and you should be treated that way!
"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it by mailto:MyStory@stretcher.com
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