Most people focus on their paycheck as the reward for their work. While it is true that this is a significant portion of what you get in exchange for your time and effort, there are often other benefits. Many jobs offer benefits like:
- Health insurance
- Life insurance
- Retirement accounts
- Financial planning services
- Training opportunities
- Tuition reimbursement
- Contribution matching
- Mentoring programs
- Corporate discounts
- Wellness & Fitness programs
Not every job offers every benefit mentioned above, but I’m consistently amazed at how many people have no idea what their company offers. The best way to find out what is available is to get a copy of your employee manual and re-read it every year or so. Some of these programs can add a significant amount to the value you receive for your work.
Here are a few examples from my career:
Early on at my first job, I took advantage of the retirement account and financial advice that were offered through my employer. This planning allowed me to save tens of thousands of dollars in taxes and heavily funded my retirement while I was still young and had a lot of time for it to grow.
The same company offered some training in project management and regulatory changes at their corporate headquarters that I was able to take advantage of and helped make me a much more valuable employee, which in turn allowed me to get some significant raises. Even after I moved on to another job, the training has still benefited me and I’m even using some of in my consulting practice over a decade later.
I once took a 40% cut in pay to go to a company that offered better tuition reimbursement benefits along with a very flexible work schedule for people pursuing additional education. This eventually led to my second master’s degree and the foundation for the skills that let me work as a consultant today.
One employer offered life insurance after two years of employment. I got signed up for it as soon as I could and took the policy with me when I left the company a few years later. I still have the policy today.
If you don’t know exactly what benefits your company offers, you may be allowing a significant amount of value to slip through your fingers.