Benefits can vary tremendously from industry to industry and company to company, depending on the desires of the employees and the capabilities of the organization. Common inclusions in a benefits package are various insurance programs, retirement packages and paid time off for illness and vacation. Don’t be afraid to negotiate benefits to supplement your salary needs or otherwise improve your work-life balance. Also, don’t forget to revisit your benefit choices when your life circumstances change.
Tips for tailoring your benefits package:
- Find out if there are any monthly or per-pay-period costs for the overall benefits plan, and, if so, whether it is a pre-tax or post-tax deduction.
- Know who is covered (does it only cover you or does it also cover other family members and future family members)
- Know when each component of the benefit begins (some will begin the first day of work, some after thirty days, and some after one year of employment).
- If the benefits are provided cafeteria-style (where you can pick and choose which you will enroll in), find out if you are able to add benefits at a later date and, if so, what restrictions would be involved.
- If you’ll be working remotely, check with your HR department about getting reimbursed for home office expenses like a standing desk, a Wi-Fi extender, a headset, and any ergonomic equipment designed to keep you healthy and productive.
- If you have a child(ren) under age 14 and utilize dependent care services, consider contributing to a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA), which is a tax-free account where funds can be used to pay for dependent care expenses, like daycare and summer day camps.
- Review your monthly budget and ability to contribute to employer-sponsored retirement plans and revisit your investment elections.
- Review your monthly budget and planned contributions to employer-sponsored retirement plans before selecting your fixed contribution to a Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation Plan. Once this election is made, you cannot change it.
- Be sure to designate primary and contingent beneficiaries.
- Before enrolling in a health plan, ask yourself: How much did I pay in premiums this year? How many trips to the doctor, hospital or emergency room did members of my household make? What else did we spend out-of-pocket for health care in 2022? Then, start comparing the features and prices of your options, since they can vary significantly.
- Review the service provider network and make sure your doctors are in-network.
- Are you eligible to contribute to an HSA or Health Care FSA? If yes, summarize your 2022 out-of-pocket expenses and plan to contribute enough to fund similar expenses for 2023.
Life and Disability Insurance:
- Before selecting a plan, talk with your financial advisor or insurance agent about the following:
- Coverage needs – do you have enough private life insurance, or do you need more, not only for you but also for a spouse and child(ren)?
- Should you purchase additional group life insurance or a new private insurance policy?
- Coverage needs – if you have a private disability insurance policy, how does it coordinate with a group disability policy? Do benefits cancel each other?
- Be sure to add primary and contingent beneficiaries to group life insurance policies.