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Are you taking full advantage of all your job perks?

Most of us have signed up for health insurance and 401k from our employer but we might be missing some of the other money saving perks offered.  And sometimes employees don’t take full advantage of the benefits they are using.  Taking full advantage of employer offered perks can have many short term and long term benefits for your financial situation.
What is the biggest benefit that is most under-utilized by employees?
The number one benefit that is cited most often not used to its fullest is vacation days.  It’s been reported that nearly 169 million vacation days were unused in 2014 by Americans.  Getting away and unplugging is an important perk that many people fail to utilize completely.
One of the basic benefits is health insurance, how can we get the full advantage of this perk?
Most individuals now have the ability to use health savings accounts.  Unfortunately a lot of people don’t fund it to the maximum which means they have are losing a tax advantaged way to save for future medical expenses. Building the health savings account balance can provide advantages even in retirement years.
What about the 401k plan, how is it not used properly?
The primary issue is not contributing enough to get the full company match. This is basically free money that many people are losing for their retirement savings. Over the course of time not getting the match can have a profound impact on how much someone has at retirement.
Are there other ways that people might be missing out regarding their 401k plan?
The second biggest mistake made with 401k plans is that some people stop at the company match and not utilize the full 401k deduction allowed.   They are missing a great opportunity to invest at a lower cost and potentially have a tax advantage as well.  Getting to at least 10% is a great goal and going farther will only help achieve long term savings goals faster.
What might someone be missing if their company offers life or disability insurance?
For many employees covered under these plans, they might be able to purchase additional coverage at a lower premium cost than going on their own.  The other perk that is often overlooked is that often this coverage can stay with the employee even if they leave the employer.
What are other perks that people should be sure to take advantage of from their company?
Other potential perks that aren’t used enough include free health screenings, financial wellness programs, discounts at retailers and health club discounts. All of these programs are usually not part of the open enrollment sign-up requiring individuals to take initiative on their own at the appropriate time.
Are there perks that people are sometimes hesitant to use?
The number one in this category is the employee assistance program.  EAP’s are not just for stressed individuals.  Some EAP’s provide guidance on dealing with sick parents, new children, weight loss, budgeting and several other topics.  The resources and contacts available through the EAP can be invaluable.

Posted: 9/4/2015 with 0 comments

Categories: Career, Money Matters, Planning

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