When we interview for a job or ask for a promotion, the number one thing most employees think about is the increase in salary. After all, everyone wants to make more money. However, cash isn’t the only benefit you should consider when evaluating a new position.
Here are five big work benefits that can dramatically improve your life. Surprisingly, none of them are related to your actual salary.
1. An Abundance of PTO
The average number of PTO days for employees who’ve completed a year of service is only 10 days. Go on a couple of vacations and attend a wedding or two and you’re completely out of paid time off for the rest of the year. Yikes.
In Denmark, you earn an average of two days of PTO for every month you work, totalling up to about 24 days annually. That’s more than double what we Americans get on average. The country also has the happiest employees in the entire world, as well as the healthiest work-life balance. Coincidence? I think not.
For the sake of your sanity and health, value your PTO days as if they were a monetary gift. Perhaps you didn’t get that five grand raise you were asking for, but can you negotiate for some extra vacation time? That spontaneous trip to Hawaii will probably do more wonders for your psyche than a small raise ever could.
2. Work-From-Home Privileges
Did you know that more than 3.7 million employees work from home at least half the time? If you’re with a fairly flexible company, scoring a few days in which you can work remotely might not be difficult. That means less time spent waiting in traffic and less money spent on tolls and gas while commuting to the office. Don’t discount those financial benefits – they add up.
Additionally, remote workers report being happier than other workers. Ask yourself if you’d be less stressed and more content if you were able to work from home at least part-time. If the answer is yes, then you should value that benefit as much as a raise.
3. A 401K With a Good Company Match
Nearly half of all Americans have yet to begin planning for retirement. If you’re included in that number, then it’s time to get into gear and figure out how you can play catch-up on your 401K. You’ll be 65 before you know it, and you don’t want to wind up stressing about money when you should be enjoying your retirement.
Try to see if you can score a company match at your new job or with your current employer. A match is essentially free money that company contributes to your savings as long as you’re contributing, too. Think about it this way: if a company says they’ll match three percent of your salary, and you make $40K a year, then that’s an extra $1,200 going toward your savings! That might be better than the raise you could potentially snag.
4. Wellness Benefits
Can you find a job that offers a free gym membership? Weekly massages? Catered lunches? Any of these benefits could be considered a part of your “wellness” as an employee, and believe it or not, they’re worth their weight in gold.
In recent years, it’s been found that 80 percent of employees would actually choose additional benefits over a pay raise. This could be attributed to a number of reasons, but personally, I like to think it’s because younger generations are placing an emphasis on health and happiness, not just their careers. You might miss that raise, but if you can benefit personally from the job’s wellness offerings, then it might be a fair trade-off.
5. Savings and Spending Accounts
Many companies offer additional ways to pocked money, including flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, and retirement accounts. We already talked about 401ks, so let’s touch on the other two. A flexible spending account and a health saving account can both help you pay for medical expenses.
Wondering why you need a whole different account to pay for medical expenses? Because you can invest the funds! Consider this: if you set aside $100/month for medical expenses in your HSA, then you could have a nice safety net in case you get sick or injured. Additionally, you could invest the funds while they wait to be used, so you’re actually making money on the funds you have set away. It’s a win-win situation.
When you’re considering a job, don’t just look at the salary. There are many other benefits that could improve your life and financial situation. Some might be even more valuable than a one or two thousand dollar raise, so be flexible in your negotiations and get creative if you have to. Request benefits just as much as you would request money. You’ll thank yourself later.