How Young Workers Can Optimize Employee Benefits
(NewsUSA) - Young adults who are new to the workforce have a lot to think about. But when it comes to compensation, there are many ways to make your salary and benefits work for you. Taking full advantage of opportunities for saving and investing now will pay off later.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to save for retirement is through an employer-sponsored plan. Many employers offer a 401(k), which allows you to invest part of each paycheck directly into the plan. That helps make saving automatic, and pre-tax 401(k) contributions reduce your taxable income.
Make a Match
Some employers will match a percentage of what you contribute to your 401(k) up to a certain limit. The amount of the match varies, and some employers may not offer this option. But if you have this option, be sure to contribute enough to take advantage of the match. For example, an employer may match 100% of what you contribute to your plan up to 3% of your salary, then 50% of the next 2%. If your annual salary is $60,000 and you are able to contribute a total of 5% ($3,000) to your 401(k), the company match in this example adds another $2,400 to your retirement fund courtesy of your employer.
Health Insurance Helpers
Make the most of your employer-sponsored health insurance by learning the details and choosing a plan that best meets your needs. You may have choices between a health maintenance organization (HMO) plan, which usually costs less per month but may limit the network of health care providers you can visit, or a preferred provider organization (PPO), which usually costs more but may allow more flexibility for the provider network. Either way, invest in your health by scheduling regular checkups: Most plans will cover preventive/wellness visits at 100% or with a minimal copayment.
Consider Additional Insurance
Some employers provide their workforce with a life insurance benefit. Additional life insurance, while less important if you are young and single, may be worth considering if you have family members to support. Also, don’t discount disability insurance, which can provide needed income if you are ill or disabled and can’t work.
Make sure to learn about other benefits that can boost your finances, such as tuition reimbursement, health savings accounts or employee stock purchase plans.
The information can seem overwhelming. Although you may feel comfortable making decisions about employee benefits on your own, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional may be helpful as a sounding board for your ideas and to discuss how current benefits decisions fit into your larger financial planning picture.
Visit LetsMakeAPlan.org to find a financial planner who can help you navigate employee benefits and other financial aspects of your new job.