5 Tips for Setting Up Your Employee Benefits


1
Ask About Other Free or Subsidized Benefits
Some employers offer counseling as a free or subsidized benefit.
Some employers offer counseling as a free or subsidized benefit.
David Buffington/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Have you ever bought a book or a DVD only to return home and find out that you already have it? It's frustrating, but at least you can return it. Now imagine spending thousands of dollars on an expense or service that you later discover your employer would have paid for. Unfortunately, many an employee makes this wallet-wrenching discovery because they never really combed through their benefits packages.

Employers offer all kinds of free or subsidized benefits to try to lure good employees to their organizations -- tuition assistance, student loan repayment, legal and financial services, counseling, daycare, adoption services and moving expenses. Some companies even offer luxuries like paid workouts and employee concierge to their workers. While the last two examples aren't exactly commonplace, you'll never know what you could bank in on unless you ask HR for a list detailing all employee benefits. Find the ones that are both valuable and useful, and take advantage of them.

Author's Note: 5 Tips for Setting Up Your Employee Benefits

I've set up employee benefits for two different jobs. The first go around I was pretty clueless and mostly just signed up for whatever the HR representative recommended. The second time I was a little more prepared, but still managed to make one little mistake. OK, it was kind of a big mistake. When I started the job, I knew that I would be incurring some pretty significant medical expenses over the coming year. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take advantage of the flexible spending account that my employer offered. If I had, I'd probably be about $500 richer than I am right now. Oh well. You live, you learn, right? I hope this article teaches you what my experience has taught me: Give your employee benefits the consideration they deserve and you can avoid making mistakes that might become costly down the road.

Related Articles

Sources

  • Alabama's 13 Staff. "Scott Cole on Maximizing Your Employee Benefits in 'Money Matters.'" Alabamas13.com. March 7, 2012. (March 9, 2012) http://www2.alabamas13.com/news/2012/mar/07/scott-cole-maximizing-your-employee-benefits-money-ar-3369419/
  • Anderson, Nancy. "Why Most Employees Make Up to 30% Less Than They Should -- Is It Happening to You?" Forbes. March 8, 2012. (March 9, 2012) http://www.forbes.com/sites/financialfinesse/2012/03/08/why-most-employees-make-up-to-30-less-than-they-should-is-it-happening-to-you/
  • AOL Jobs. "How to Maximize Your Employee Benefits." 2011. (March 9, 2012) http://video.aoljobs.com/how-to-maximize-your-employee-benefits-516947955/
  • Ballman, Donna. "Top Nine Things You Need to Know About Your Employee Benefits." AOL Jobs. July 11, 2011. (March 9, 2012) http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2011/07/11/top-9-things-you-need-to-know-about-your-employee-benefits/
  • Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service. "Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans." Jan. 11, 2011. (March 9, 2012) http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p969.pdf
  • CNN Money. "Retirement: Virtues of the 401k." Nov. 23, 2011. (March 9, 2012) http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/money101/lesson13/index4.htm
  • Harding, Alison. "Company Wellness Programs Improve Health, Cut Costs." CNN Health. Sept. 1, 2009. (March 15, 2012) http://articles.cnn.com/2009-09-01/health/hcif.healthy.living_1_wellness-programs-health-care-costs-luann-heinen?_s=PM:HEALTH
  • Konrad, Walecia. "Open Enrollment: Maximize Your Benefits." CNN Money. Sept. 26, 2011. (March 9, 2012) http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/26/pf/open_enrollment.moneymag/index.htm
  • McManus, Melanie Radzicki. "5 Unbelievable Employee Benefits that Really Exist." HowStuffWorks.com. Feb. 22, 2012. (March 10, 2012) https://money.howstuffworks.com/business/starting-a-job/5-unbelievable-employee-benefits.htm
  • Reinhardt, Uwe E. "The Trouble with (In)flexible Spending Accounts." The New York Times. May 29, 2009. (March 15, 2012) http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/29/the-trouble-with-flexible-spending-accounts/
  • Society for Human Resource Management. "2011 Employee Benefits: Examining Employee Benefits Amidst Uncertainty." 2011. (March 9, 2012) http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Documents/2011_Emp_Benefits_Report.pdf
  • Towers Watson. "The Road Ahead: Shaping Health Care Strategy in a Post-Reform Environment." 2011. (March 9, 2011) http://www.towerswatson.com/assets/pdf/3946/TowersWatson-NBGH-2011-NA-2010-18560.pdf
  • United States Department of Labor. "Retirement Plans, Benefits & Savings: Types of Retirement Plans." 2012. (March 9, 2012) http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/retirement/typesofplans.htm
  • U.S. News Money. "Planning to Retire: The 10 Most Common Retirement Benefits." July 7, 2010. (March 9, 2012) http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire/2010/07/07/the-10-most-common-retirement-benefits

UP NEXT

How to Create an Action Plan for a New Job

How to Create an Action Plan for a New Job

How to Create an Action Plan for a New Job


More to Explore