The Treasures Hidden in Employee Benefits

Gina Deveney
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Are you getting all the employee benefits you could get from your employer? According to financial planner Katie Brewer, people often don't realize when they are missing out. Here are some tips you can use to make the most of your employee benefit entitlements.

Many people have a false sense of security because they assume they signed up for employee benefits, such as disability insurance, when they first started working for their organizations. However, some employees could have major gaps in their coverage, which only become apparent when they need to make a claim.

To make sure you are getting all the employee benefits you are entitled to, look at your benefits summary. If you don't have a copy of this document, get in touch with the human resources department at your organization to find out which benefit programs you are currently enrolled in. Having this information is the first step in making the most of the employee benefits your company offers.

Also, find out what other benefits the company offers. If you don't currently have a retirement plan, look into the options your organization can provide, such as a Roth 401(k) or Roth 403(b). Some organizations allow you to make up for lost time by making employer-matched backdated contributions to a retirement plan.

Disability insurance is also important. If you are diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, and end up unable to work, having disability insurance could result in you receiving around 50 to 60 percent of your usual salary while you are ill. Finding out you don't actually have disability insurance after you get ill could result in a financial crisis — the last thing you need when battling an illness.

It's also important to review your life insurance and health insurance options every so often. The life insurance options you signed up for when you first started a job might not be suitable for you after several years. Similarly, it might not necessarily be best for you and your spouse to be on your own health insurance plans from the same employer; you could save money by being on the same policy. Comparing policy costs and benefits can be tedious for the layperson, but hiring a professional can make the process easier.

You should share all information about your employee benefits with your financial planner. A professional adviser can review all the available benefits and advise you on how to make the most of them.

Employee benefits packages offered by employers often contain hidden treasures, but many employees are missing out. You need to find out which benefits you are currently receiving, and which ones you are missing out on, to start reaping the full benefits that your employment can offer.


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