Ping-pong table in the office? Free massages at your desk? Gourmet drink making classes on the clock? Some workplaces have really stepped up their game. While these "extras" can seem great, it's important to make sure you are taking advantage of the important stuff. Check out some of the work benefits you may need to make sure you're taking full advantage of.
1. Retirement Savings
Many employers provide some sort of retirement plan, like a 401(k), 403(b), 457 or pension. In addition to Social Security that is taken out of your paycheck, you can often have money put directly into your retirement account, with some companies even make matching contributions. Even with these efforts in place, you may want to consider opening your own individual retirement account or Roth IRA for additional savings. It can be a good idea to look at what you are currently saving and whether it will be enough to reach your retirement goal.
If you don't have enough money, look for other places you can make cuts in your budget. For example, if you have debt, improving your credit score can help you refinance into a lower interest rate and free up more cash for retirement savings. You can check your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see where you stand and make a plan to improve.
2. Life Insurance
Company-sponsored life insurance is usually cheap or free and doesn't require a medical exam. This makes it a great option, but it may not provide enough coverage if something were to happen to you. It's a good idea to really think about and calculate just how much life insurance you need. If you have a mortgage to pay and dependents to worry about, you may need to consider purchasing supplemental life insurance. You can do this by asking the insurance company that provides your employee policy about purchasing additional coverage through them, or by turning to the open market.
3. Health Coverage
Like life insurance, health coverage is often cheaper when purchased as part of a group. You may get medical treatment for free or at a discounted rate through your employer. But what about dental, vision and other extras? It's a good idea to at least look at the options and see if you need to purchase an additional coverage option. Or maybe you want to consider contributing pre-tax money to a flexible spending account to use on medical expenses. This money can be used for over-the-counter medicine and for doctor co-pays.
Employer benefits can be a big factor when deciding where to work, but it's a good idea to regularly evaluate if you are getting everything you need. Sometimes you may find you need to actively sign up during an open enrollment plan for additional benefits and sometimes you may have to look outside of what your employer offers.