Sure, you may be taking advantage of your company-sponsored healthcare plan and 401(k), but there’s a good chance your employer offers other perks that you’re either not aware of or not taking advantage of. In this day and age, where every economic incentive counts, you can’t afford to miss out on any benefits your employer is offering.
At Rock House Financial, our team has years of experience helping families create a more confident financial future. Real life financial planning can be complex and complicated. Being aware of all opportunities afforded to you is step one. Discussing these options so you understand how they can work for you should be step two.
Below are 7 company perks you should know about, especially right now, and take full advantage of if your employer offers them. (Business owners have different needs. Click here for our breakdown of what financial planning looks like for entrepreneurs.)
Although this is probably a company perk of which you are already aware and taking advantage of, it’s important to know all your options, as well as any additional benefits you may be entitled to under the healthcare umbrella. For example, many health insurance policies offer free wellness counseling, flu shots and mental health services, as well as reimbursement for gym memberships and weight-loss programs, or bonuses for participating in wellness initiatives. Some employers even have on-site fitness facilities that employees can use for free or low-cost.
Another healthcare perk is good prescription medication coverage, one that really helps lower the out-of-pocket costs employees incur for their prescription drugs.
High-quality employer-sponsored group-health insurance policy premiums are usually considerably more affordable than paying for your own private or public insurance coverage, which is why employees often value really good healthcare benefits over raises or bonuses.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are another option that has garnered more interest in recent years. These unique healthcare plans have pros and cons you may want to discuss with your HR representative as well as your financial advisor.
You’re probably also aware if your employer offers performance bonuses as a company perk, but are you using them wisely?
It’s easy to view a bonus as extra disposable income, but your bonus could go farther and have more impact if you put it toward paying off consumer debt, invest it or add it your emergency fund. If we’ve learned anything from the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s how important having extra savings can be. Having enough set aside for times like today can prevent you from having to take a loan from your retirement accounts, open up new credit cards or re-evaluate your assets. Just read our recent blog posts:
3. Matches to Retirement Contributions
Although the IRS doesn’t require employers to match a portion of an employee’s 401(k) contributions, many do as a company perk. If your employer offers a 401(k) contribution matching program, make sure you know exactly what you need to do to take advantage of it. Understand the contribution level tiers, if the matching program has them. For example, your employer might only match 100 percent of the first 4 percent of your contributions, and 50 percent of the remaining 2 percent, up to a total of 6 percent matching.
Find out the maximum percentage the employer will match, and contribute at least that much to your retirement plans if you can to effectively double your investment power. Not taking full advantage of an employer matching program is like throwing away free money – and no one wants to do that.
If possible, take advantage of any training and development programs your company is offering, sponsoring or willing to pay for. You may be able to improve your skills and experience in any number of areas, such as communications, safety, ethics, computer skills, customer service, quality control, and so on. This will not only benefit your workplace and your employer, but can help you and your résumé as well. As the pandemic has shown us, it’s wise to keep yourself relevant in the event your employment status or role changes.
The same goes for professional development programs, which can help you get on the fast track to promotions and higher wages.
5. Tuition Reimbursement
More and more companies are offering some kind of tuition assistance for undergraduate programs as well as graduate programs. Your employer might cover or chip in toward your educational expenses. The cost of a good education is only increasing, so any opportunity to help pay off debt should be welcomed.
6. Stock Options or Company Ownership
Offering employees stocks and equity in the business is one way employers make workers feel valued, and it gives them a vested interest in the success of the company. It can also be viewed as compensation in the form of a bonus.
At Rock House Financial, we help clients understand their stock options and how this works into their financial plans. If you have questions about these benefits, contact us to see how we can help.
7. Employee Rewards and Discounts
If your company makes a product or service, you may be entitled to get them for free or at a discount.
Larger employers also often have discount or rewards programs they offer to their employees, from savings on concert tickets and theme park passes, to free online courses, dealer discounts on new cars and travel benefits.
Some companies even offer motivational rewards to recognize outstanding employees, in the form of points that can be earned and converted into gift cards, merchandise, experiences and travel.
Some companies make it easy to learn about all of the benefits and perks they offer, and they may have laid it all out for you when you got the job. With other employers, it might not be as obvious, and you’ll have to do some legwork to find out about them.
In addition, things may change or new programs might be added over time. If you have a human resources department, contact them to find out what kind of company perks are available to you. Then talk to your financial advisor about how you can maximize these as part of your total compensation and financial plan.
As the country starts to reopen – and rehire – in many industries, now is the time to review your benefits to see what you have available to you. Real life financial planning is more than just your income.
Schedule a meeting with the Rock House Financial Team and get the conversation started.