• Choosing between benefits packages

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How to Compare Benefits Packages

If you’re lucky enough to have two job offers or a new offer while you’re still at your current job, you are in an enviable position! Your hard work has paid off! Now you have the freedom to decide which job is best for you without the pressure of taking a position because it’s your only option. Especially if you’ve weighed the other aspects of the jobs and there isn’t a clear winner, it’s important to compare the benefits packages.

You should compare benefits packages even if one job offers a higher salary than the other. Benefits include things like insurance, retirement plans, and time off options that can actually make a big impact on your wallet and lifestyle over time.

Here’s what to look at when you compare benefits packages.

 

Health, vision and dental insurance: Health benefits can vary greatly from one organization to the other. Carefully compare the plans the employers offer and how much you will have to pay. Deductibles, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket costs, including what you pay toward the premium out of each paycheck, will be different, depending on the employer and plans they offer. What you are required to pay can vary by thousands of dollars from one employer to the other. Pay attention to all the small details because they can add up to big expenses or savings.

Also find out who the insurers are and see if your current healthcare providers, like specialists and primary care doctors, are in-network. How much you will pay to see your doctors depends on whether they are in-network or out-of-network for your health insurer.

Some employers also offer dental and vision insurance separately from health insurance. If either is a concern to you, you should see what the company provides.

 

Retirement savings options: Some employers offer a way for you to save for retirement. Common options that companies offer are 401K or individual retirement accounts (IRA). Each account has its own unique aspects, such as whether money is contributed before or after it’s taxed, what annual contribution limits are, and what you can expect to get out of the account in the long run.

Some companies will match a portion of what you contribute to your retirement account too. If your employer does contribute to any of your retirement savings accounts, you’ll want to take that amount into consideration when you think about what your total compensation package is. 

 

Time off: Many jobs offer paid time off. Some employers might offer this benefit right away while others require you to earn the time over a period of several months. The number of days that you’re able to earn will differ too. Some employers will allow you to take a set number of days off for the first year — maybe a week’s worth — and bump it up to more after you are there for a few years. Find out how your potential employers manage time off. Some break it up into vacation time, sick time and personal days, for example. Others simply offer paid time off, or PTO, that rolls all of your available time off under one umbrella. In that case, you get to decide how you use it. You may prefer one style to the other.

 

Life insurance: Employers also may offer life insurance coverage that’s fairly inexpensive, easy to get and may pay out a year’s salary to your loved ones if something happens to you. Particularly if you have a family, this benefit could be important to you so that they are taken care of if you aren’t there to provide.

 

At Charter College, we’re super proud when our students land that new job. Whether you’re a student, recent graduate or even if you completed your program years ago, we want to hear about your successes. Let us know. And remember, Career Services has great tips on how to conduct your job search and how to make the best decisions once you have an offer—or two. Contact us to find out more or share your good news.