It’s important to look at the big picture when it comes to compensation in your job.
the main points
- You may be after an increase, either in your current job or a new job.
- Some workplace benefits can help your money more than increase wages.
There are a lot of good reasons for wanting a salary increase. Not only does a higher salary make it possible for you to achieve goals such as building savings or paying down debt, but it can also give you more wiggle room with daily bills.
If you don’t get a raise in 2022, you may be excited about either negotiating one at your current job or looking for a new one that pays better. And given how there were 10.6 million jobs in the US labor market in November, there’s a good chance that if you look outside your current company, you’ll find an opportunity.
But rather than focusing solely on increasing your salary, it is helpful to consider other perks your current employer, or potential employer, may be willing to offer you. Here are three workplace benefits that can actually benefit you more financially than a salary increase.
1. Fully subsidized health insurance
Although many companies subsidize employee health insurance, often you will need to contribute some money to your premiums. But if your employer is willing to subsidize the entire cost of your health coverage, that’s a benefit that could be worth several thousand dollars.
Let’s say your health insurance plan costs $500 per month. If your employer doesn’t ask for a raise this year, but instead agrees to cover that cost in full instead of deducting the $300 per month from your salary you were previously paying, that’s a pretty good deal.
2. A great match for a 401(k) plan
The money that goes into your 401(k) plan cannot be used immediately. Instead, you’ll need to leave it alone until you’re 59 and a half or you’ll be hit by a penalty shootout. But still, getting free money for a 401(k) is an advantage that shouldn’t be overlooked. If a current or future employer offers a generous 401(k) match, that may be enough to make up for a slightly lower salary.
Imagine that you earn $50,000 annually and you were hoping to increase your salary to $51,500 this year, which is a 3% increase. If your employer doesn’t, but instead starts offering a $3,000 match to employees who participate in a 401(k), that’s not a bad deal at all.
3. Unlimited or generous vacation and sick time
In an age when the novel coronavirus is spreading, and the chances of having to isolate due to illness or exposure are higher than usual, having a generous leave policy can be a huge money saver. Imagine you got a job that doesn’t leave you with a higher salary, but gives you four weeks of paid vacation instead of two. This may explain the difference between covering your leave and all sick time versus taking unpaid leave.
In fact, some companies offer unlimited vacation or sick leave. These policies usually operate on a “use it but don’t abuse it” basis, and not only can they save you money, but just as importantly, help you achieve a better work-life balance.
When it comes to your compensation at work, your actual salary is only part of the overall picture. Instead of just focusing on getting a raise, think about the value of the various benefits in the workplace that may be available to you.
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