When your child or grandchild gets their first “real” job and begins to start their career, it’s an exciting time. For them, the world is at their fingertips and they are thrilled to launch into adulthood. As a parent, your instinct is to protect them. You want them well-prepared to make good decisions for themselves. It is important to make the most of this exciting time. Have discussions with them about what their long-term career objectives are, and use those as a framework in all career decisions.
For example, when evaluating job offers from potential employers, it is important to consider the employee benefits plan as a part of the overall offer. An attractive employee benefits plan, even when combined with a lower salary, can sometimes help build wealth more quickly than a higher-salaried position with minimal benefits. Also, it can add to better overall job satisfaction, having purpose in life, and helping our adult children be excited about getting out of bed each morning. Here are some things beyond salary to consider:
- Is there an opportunity to earn a bonus?
- Do they offer a traditional 401k, a Roth 401k, and a choice to consider splitting contributions between the two? Do they offer a pension plan? What is the 401k match plan?
- Know the specifics of health, dental and vision insurance. What are the premiums, deductibles, co-pays, out of pocket maximum, coverage, etc?
- Do they offer and even contribute to Healthcare Savings Accounts (HSA)? This can be a tremendous savings tool, especially for younger employees.
- If no HSA is available, do they offer a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? FSAs offer pretax benefits but normally need to be used in a calendar year.
- Do they offer corporate wellness programs, on-site fitness center, gym pass reimbursement, smoking cessations programs, etc?
- Disability insurance is coverage that can be very important for a young family or worker. Do they offer and cover the premiums? Do they offer life insurance?
- What is their training and developmental program? Is there a mentor available to them?
- What are their professional development offerings?
- Will they offer tuition reimbursement for MBAs or graduate school? Be aware this may come with strings attached such as staying at the firm for a certain amount of years after completing the program.
- Will they help pay off student loans?
- Know the specifics of vacation time and paid time off. Is there additional paid time off such as maternity leave and family medical leave?
- Will they allow time off for volunteering or community service? Is the work schedule flexible? Is there an opportunity to work from home?
- Are there any parental benefits like child care reimbursement?
- If needed, will they provide relocation assistance?
- Is a company expense account offered?
- Do they offer stock purchase plans or other equity incentives? Many companies reserve this for certain levels, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
As parents we want our children to have a real sense of purpose in their lives, and a career is a big part of this. A strong benefits / perks program can be a big contributor to job satisfaction and thus fulfillment.