When people compare job offers, they often focus on how much money they can earn each year. Your work, however, should give you more than a paycheck. Most full-time jobs also come with benefits that can significantly affect your lifestyle and how much money you can make over your life.
The average American doesn’t have enough money to retire by age 65. Some of the most recent data show that the average person between 56 and 61 has $17,000 in retirement savings. That number includes 401(k) accounts, IRAs, and Keogh plans. More likely than not, you will run out of money within the first year of your retirement.
Taking a job with exceptional retirement benefits can make it much easier for you to reach your savings goals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 56% of civilian employers offer some kind of retirement benefit.
Don’t assume that all benefits will give you the same results, though.
For instance, some employers will match a percentage of your 401(k) investment. The amount that companies will match tends to fall between 3% and 7%. A 4% difference can turn into a huge amount of money over your career. A quick look at the numbers will show you why you need to pay attention to retirement benefits.
If you earn an average of $65,000 per year during a 35-year career and invest 10% of your income in a 401(k), you can expect to have about $493,000. The rate of return will vary from year to year, but let’s assume that you get 4%, which is typical.
You will make an additional $73,400 if your employer matches 50% of your contributions up to 3% of your salary. If your employer matches 50% of your contributions up to 7% of your salary, your 401(k) will have a value of about $664,000 after 30 years. That’s $171,000 more than you would have without any employer contributions and $98,000 more than you would have if your employer only matched your contributions up to 3% of your salary.
By choosing the better retirement benefit, you make up to $170,000 during your career. If you earn more than $65,000, then your retirement savings will grow even more.
Health insurance stands out as the benefit that employees want most. Everyone knows that the cost of health insurance has gotten out of control. The average insurance policy for an individual costs about $6,435. Family plans cost an average of $18,142.
Health care costs have also grown tremendously over the last few decades. In 1997, a person could expect to spend $4,147 on medical services. In 2017, the average annual price reached $10,739 per person.
Healthcare benefits will vary between companies. Some employers pay the entire premiums on individual or family policies. Others pay a portion of your health insurance costs.
If you feel that you get better overall benefits from a company that only offers a high-deductible insurance plan, find out whether the employer will contribute to a health savings account (HSA) that helps you pay for doctor’s visits, ER care, and medications.
Compared to most modern countries, the U.S. doesn’t put much emphasis on work-life balance. Over 11% of Americans work 50 hours or more every week. About 66% of full-time employees say that they work on weekends or holidays. Given these statistics, it’s not surprising that 66% of full-time employees say that they don’t have a good balance between life and work.
The above statistics also help explain why so many Millennials want to work for companies that give them benefits such as vacation time, flexible hours, and work-from-home opportunities.
Benefits that help you strike a healthier work-life balance may not earn you more money, but they can keep you happier and healthier. As a result, you may find that you become more productive during the hours that you work. Instead of hating the hours you spend at the office, you may look forward to reaching your professional goals.
Over time, increased happiness at work can lead to financial benefits. Feeling satisfied may mean that you impress your managers more, which means you might get chosen for raises, promotions, and special projects.
Even if you don’t make more money from benefits that help you maintain a work-life balance, you get to spend more time with family and friends. Many employees find those benefits invaluable.
The next time you interview for a position, make sure that you ask about benefits as well as your salary. An excellent benefits package could potentially double your overall compensation while giving you the time needed to build a happy, fulfilling life.
Once you have details about compensation packages from a few companies, you should compare your options to find the one that suits your needs best. Depending on your priorities, you may choose the option that helps you make more money or the package that gives your life more flexibility. Regardless, you need to understand your options before you can make an informed decision.