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If you were offered a raise at work simply for being there and requiring no additional tasks, would you accept it? Of course you would. With no downside risk, most people would jump at the chance for additional compensation, but the reality is the raise was there all along. You just didn’t realize it. Many people forfeit a generous raise by not fully taking advantage of the benefits packages provided by their employer. Employers provide an additional 30% or more in benefits above and beyond salaries listed on a W-2. Many people even choose between prospective employers specifically for better benefits packages but after their new hire paperwork is filled out and the core benefits are chosen, maximizing that extra 30% in compensation falls by the wayside. Performing in the new job is top of mind.
Forfeiting additional compensation is one thing, but the consequences of doing so are high. Neglecting to fund a retirement plan or forgoing an employee stock purchase plan could have catastrophic results in losses of hundreds of thousands of dollars and delaying retirement for many years. Not using a Health Savings Account or taking advantage of a company legal benefit could result in unnecessarily high out-of-pocket expenses for yourself and your family. There are also many free perks that could add value or enjoyment in life that are often simply overlooked.
There are reasons for this. HR Departments can’t give personalized advice to employees on benefits, but they can provide education, communication, and tools for employees to use, but that is the extent of it. The financial planning field doesn’t always incorporate employee benefits such as health insurance into financial plans, or does so at a minimal level. Their expertise lies in the insurance and retirement products they sell or provide to their clients, not in the ones provided...