Finding your first “real” job can be tough. When you’re offered a job with a high salary (or even just a decent one), you may be so excited that you want to say “yes” right away. If you’re lucky enough to have more than one offer, your instinct may be to immediately accept the offer with the higher salary.
While this temptation is understandable, it’s important to consider the entire benefits package rather than making your decision based solely on the salary. You’ve probably thought about the cost of medical and dental insurance, but here are five other benefits you should look at when deciding whether or not to accept a job offer.
5 Things You Should Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer
Your time is valuable, and you don’t want to spend all of it at work! Even if you love your job, it’s healthy to take a break once in a while. Companies often mention during an interview how many days of PTO are offered during the first year, but sometimes the HR person forgets to mention whether or not PTO increases with time.
10 days of PTO in the first year may seem like a lot if it’s your first full-time job and you’ve never had PTO before, but will you still get only 10 days per year even if you stay with the company for 10 or 20 years? This is important to know – many companies offer PTO that increases with the amount of time that you’ve been with the company, but others offer only a flat amount that never increases.
2. 401(k) Employer Match
An employer match on the 401(k) is one of the most important benefits that a company can offer. Let’s say a company matches 100% of contributions up to 6% of salary. If you earn $40,000 per year, that’s $2,400. After only two years, that would nearly $5,000 total. Based on an average rate of return, after 45 years, that would become nearly $180,000.
Keep in mind that companies typically have vesting schedules – after one year, you might only be vested 25%. This means that if you leave the company after a year, you only get to bring 25% of the employer contribution with you. Organizations use vesting schedules as an incentive to keep employees from resigning when they’ve only been with the company for a few years.
3. Short-Term Disability
Of course, you hope you never have to use disability, but it’s best to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Can you afford to go without pay for several weeks if you have an injury or medical condition that prevents you from being able to work?
If you’re planning to have a family in the future, this benefit is particularly important. By law, your employer is required to give you up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child (assuming that you’ve been working with the employer for at least a year and the company has at least 50 employees). Your employer is not required to pay you for this time, but you can use short-term disability to replace a portion of your pay.
Just like disability insurance, companies typically offer basic life insurance at no cost to employees. If you’re young and healthy, you’re probably not going to pass away anytime soon, and thinking about mortality can be uncomfortable. Still, it’s always best to plan ahead. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
If you have children, you don’t want them to be left with nothing if you pass away. Even if you don’t have kids, you don’t want your parents or your spouse to go into debt to pay for your funeral.
5. Employee Discounts & Perks
Many different types of companies offer discounts to employees. A fitness company may offer a free gym membership, an animal shelter might offer discounted pet food, and a salon’s corporate office may offer discounts on haircuts, shampoo, and other haircare products. If you’re currently spending money on any of these things, working for one of these employers could save you quite a bit on these expenses.
A Final Note
If you’re offered a job that seems great, don’t say “yes” right away. Ask some questions about the benefits package and take a little time to think it over. If you have more than one job offer, first of all, congratulations! Secondly, consider the entire benefits package instead of looking solely at salary. A 401(k) employer match, short-term disability, life insurance, PTO, and employee discounts are all important benefits that can help you to save more money.
Jen Hayes is a frugal lifestyle blogger and freelance writer.Jen is passionate about helping millennials to lead healthier lives - financially, physically, and mentally.She writes about her journey toward shedding 50 pounds and $117,000 of student loan debt on her blog Frugal Millennial.
Jen Hayes is a frugal lifestyle blogger and freelance writer. Jen is passionate about helping millennials to lead healthier lives - financially, physically, and mentally. She writes about her journey toward shedding 50 pounds and $117,000 of student loan debt on her blog Frugal Millennial.