Most companies today offer a lot of perks that go along with the basic salary. Some companies tier these perks in based on compensation level, but others offer many services to all employees for free.
Since I’m a big fan of free, and I don’t like to leave any money on the table, I always try to find and maximize all of my benefits. Some companies make their benefit options easily available, while others don’t. Here are some key things to look into to make sure that you are maximizing your company’s perks.
The first thing to look at is a 401k match. Most companies offer a 401k program, or something similar, and many offer matching contributions to their employees. Not taking advantage of this is essentially taking a pay cut, because the 401k match is your employer giving you free money! Make sure that you are contributing up to the amount your employer matches so that you can take full advantage of this perk! Also, companies are now starting to offer Roth 401ks. If your company does, this may be something you would want to consider.
Health Care Benefits
I’m talking about benefits beyond just traditional health insurance, which most companies will soon be mandated to offer, or you will be able to get it through private insurers. I’m talking about health care benefits such as wellness plans and weight loss plans. Many employers have realized that health employees are better employees, and so they offer incentives like:
- Free wellness counseling
- Free or discounted weight loss programs
- Free or discounted gym memberships
- Free flu shots
- Free counseling or other mental health services
All of these benefits can be beneficial at different times. If you’re looking to get fit, check with your employer first.
Many employers also offer financial planning benefits to their employees. Some companies keep it very basic, with 401k advice and discounts on tax software or using a company like H&R Block. However, other companies offer much more comprehensive financial planning to employees who want it. Before shelling out money for a financial adviser, check with your employer first.
Many companies now offer discounted tickets to employees to various amusement parks and attractions. Some companies even offer discounts to places like the movie theater or other local events. Before planning your next family outing or vacation, check with your employer to see if you can get a hold of some cheap tickets!
Childcare & Education
Finally, employers are offering more and more benefits to families and individuals who want to develop themselves. For childcare, many companies either offer facilities for children at the office, or have partnered with local providers to offer cheap or free child care services. This can be a huge savings, as childcare costs can add up quickly every month.
For education, many employers will pay for employees to develop and get more education. This can be as simple as offering free classes, to offering full tuition reimbursement for advanced degrees. If you want to go back to school to get a degree, see if your company will pay for it!
How else do you maximize your employer’s perks?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.