Job Hunting? Look For These 5 Valuable Benefits and Perks

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This Article was Reviewed by The Chief Editor, Godfrey

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Many job candidates focus on a job’s salary. However, that paycheck is just one piece of the puzzle. The benefits package is also a substantial part of your compensation. The average benefits package can be worth around 30% of your salary, according to Zippia.

A lower salary with excellent benefits can sometimes outweigh a higher salary with poor benefits. With that in mind, this article examines five benefits to watch for when you’re job hunting.

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1. Employer-provided life insurance

These days, some employers include group life insurance in your benefits package,      offering you an excellent way to get some life insurance coverage for free or at low rates. However, the IRS may tax any death benefit amount over $50,000 in group life insurance coverage. As a result, employers don’t often provide more than $50,000, which may be insufficient to help your loved ones replace your income and pay off debts.

Therefore, you might want to buy life insurance outside of work. Term life insurance typically lasts      10 to 30 years, meaning you can outlive the policy, but premiums are inexpensive. If you need maximum coverage per dollar and don’t need coverage for life, consider a term life insurance policy.

On the other hand, permanent life insurance offers lifelong coverage for higher premiums. These policies also build wealth in a cash value growth component. Part of each premium goes into your cash value and grows tax-deferred at a certain rate based on the policy type.

You can tap into your cash value via borrowing or withdrawing when it’s large enough. Some cash value life insurance policies, like universal life insurance, also let you pay premiums when you have enough cash value. Surrendering your policy if you no longer need it lets you get your cash value minus surrender charges.

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2. Employer-provided health benefits

Health insurance is an essential benefit to look for. It helps you get the coverage you need for lower premiums since the employer saves money by getting a larger plan and covers some of the cost. Plus, you can have premiums deducted from your paycheck automatically to make payments easier.

However, you should also look out for dental and vision insurance. These generally aren’t included in traditional health insurance. Getting these policies through work alongside your health benefits helps you save on your dental checkups and vision exams.

That said, some employers offer to cover 100% of your health, dental, or vision premiums, saving you hundreds of dollars and providing you with excellent coverage, so keep an eye out for these companies.

3. Retirement account matching bonus

Employers that offer you a workplace, tax-advantaged retirement plan may match some of your contributions. This is free money, so it’s almost always worth it to reach the matching bonus limit. According to Forbes, the most common match is $0.50 for every dollar you contribute, up to 6% of your salary.

For example, imagine you earn $60,000 per year, and your employer offers this matching arrangement. If you contribute 6% of your salary — $3,600 — your employer will contribute $1,800 since that is half of $3,600. Contributing any more in that year will not earn additional matching funds. All that said, employers may vary in amounts and percentages. Some companies offer dollar-for-dollar matches, which can be twice as valuable if the salary percentage is the same.

4. Tuition reimbursement

Going back to school can equip you with skills and knowledge valuable to your employer and your career. However, tuition isn’t cheap. The Education Data Initiative reported that the average public, four-year university charges $390 per credit hour. Since many college courses are three credit hours, you could easily pay over $1,000 for one class.

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Fortunately, many employers see your continuing education as an investment. As a result, they often provide tuition reimbursement in your benefits package, paying back some of your tuition costs when you complete a class.

The classes you take should be relevant to your current or future role in the company. Furthermore, you generally have to meet minimum grade requirements to qualify for reimbursement. Check with your HR or benefits department for more information on these matters.

5. Profit-sharing benefits

Some businesses offer profit-sharing benefits to incentivize employees to work hard and stay with the company for a long time. With this benefit, you can potentially earn a share of your employer’s profits — paid as either cash or company stock — in a pre-tax retirement account. If you receive cash, you may be able to invest it in various securities within the account.

The amount of profit share you receive depends on your salary and the formula your employer uses to calculate profit sharing amounts. Furthermore, there are often restrictions around when and how you can take funds out of your profit-sharing account penalty-free. 

The bottom line

Benefits are often overlooked because there’s no hard dollar amount, but the right benefits package can sometimes make a lower salary worth it. Insurance policies are an essential piece of your benefits. Life insurance helps you cover your loved ones if you pass away, although you should also consider getting an individual life insurance policy to get more coverage. Meanwhile, health, dental, and vision insurance help you cover all your medical costs for less.

On the retirement side of things, look for employers that match retirement contributions. These can accelerate your retirement savings. A profit-sharing plan could help you potentially enjoy even more wealth if your company grows over time.

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Lastly, keep an eye out for tuition reimbursement if you need to return to school to advance your career. This can save you thousands on learning valuable skills to land higher-paying work. Benefits are a key piece of your compensation, so it’s important to look for them as you search for a new job.

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About the Chief Editor

Godfrey Ogbo, the Chief Editor and CEO of AtlanticRide, merges his environmental management expertise with extensive business experience, including in real estate. With a master's degree and a knack for engaging writing, he adeptly covers complex growth and business topics. His analytical approach and business insights enrich the blog, making it a go-to source for readers seeking thoughtful and informed content.

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