How employee benefits can help give you a financially secure future
We all want financial security. That’s why we work and try to set aside some of what we take home.
But many of us overlook an easy way to achieve that security. And the answer is right where you work: the employee benefits offered by your company. If you’re not taking advantage of them, here are some reasons why you should.
It’s extra financial compensation and protection that’s easy to get
While earning a paycheck is important, there are other services and products your company may offer to put more money in your pocket to spend today, reserve for unforeseen expenses, or sock away for retirement. These include:
- Retirement plans (401(k), 403(b) and/or pensions)
Putting money away for your retirement should always be a priority, regardless of your age. With company retirement plans, your employer may match all or part of what you contribute as well. That’s basically free money. You may also get tax credits from the IRS for the money you contribute.
- Performance bonuses
If you’re rewarded with a bonus, congratulations! You may be tempted to use it for a splurge. But a more practical approach would be to use at least some of it to pay down credit card debt or apply it to your mortgage.
- Tuition reimbursement and training
Companies realize the value of more educated employees. Many will actually pay to send you to school and cover some or all of the cost of business-related courses you take. The dollar value to you could range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars in tuition costs. Take advantage of these learning opportunities from your employer to keep yourself sharp.
- Wellness programs
Imagine your company paying you to stay healthy. Many companies now do. They offer financial incentives to encourage your wellness — things like quitting smoking, joining a weight-loss program, even playing on the company softball team.
Another key employee benefit: insurance
Many of us take our income for granted and assume we’ll have enough to cover monthly bills and basic day-to-day expenses. But what happens if a serious medical condition arises? No matter how well you plan, your entire paycheck - and potentially your savings - could be at serious risk. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re protected. Insurance products offered by your employer can contribute to your financial security, as well as to your physical and emotional wellness:
- Medical Insurance – basic protection everyone should have to cover - and encourage - regular checkups and preventive care
- Dental Insurance – provides coverage for the full range of dental services, from routine checkups, X-rays, cleanings, and fillings to dental implants
- Vision Insurance – helps cover the expense of regular eye exams, and eyewear, and may even provide discounts on corrective laser surgery
Protect your income and way of life
It's not easy to think about, but what if you weren’t able to work, or worse? Then what? You can help give yourself and your family more financial security with:
Don’t overlook supplemental health insurance products
These insurance plans can help you pay for high out-of-pocket medical costs and other expenses (like transportation, child care or housekeeping) that may not covered by traditional insurance. These plan include:
- Accident Insurance - pays you a cash benefit for every covered expense, from X-rays to ambulance service, regardless of what is paid by your medical insurance
- Critical Illness Insurance - pays a benefit on a covered diagnosis, such as heart attack or stroke
- Hospital Indemnity Insurance - helps pay the costs of a covered hospital stay
- Cancer Insurance - provides lump-sum payments for certain procedures, screenings, and treatments, regardless of your medical coverage
You’ll pay less - often a lot less - getting insurance through work
You know the expression "strength in numbers"? That’s what you’ll enjoy when you get coverage through your company. You’ll get a group rate your employer has arranged, and your employer may pay for part of your coverage. But even if you have to cover the cost yourself, you’ll still be getting a good deal. Another added plus is knowing that your employer has done the research for you to find a good deal on quality plans.
You can’t beat the convenience
You can sign up at work in just a few minutes. Chances are you won’t need a medical exam, which you would if you applied as an individual. And once you’re enrolled, most employers will let you pay with automatic payroll deductions. So you won’t have to worry about missing a payment. That’s one more way to reduce financial stress.
So which employee benefits and how much coverage should you choose?
That depends on how old you are and your life situation. Single, married, kids, house — they all come into play. But it’s not like having to figure out some incredibly complicated math problem. There are guides that can help you make a smart decision. Of course the smartest one is deciding you’re going to make the most of your employee benefits to help protect yourself and the ones you love. Ready?