Life Insurance
Your new job benefits checklist
Mar 20, 2020
woman taking notes
So you got an offer for a new job––well done. The excitement can feel euphoric. It might even cause you to forget about essential things like asking about job benefits. Blink away those dollar signs in your eyes, and use this checklist to ensure that you are covering all of your bases before signing on the dotted (or digital) line.

Moving up the career ladder? These benefits are a must

Direct Compensation

Your new salary will likely be your top priority. If you are negotiating your salary, try to conduct a little research to determine your new position’s current fair market value. If your compensation package includes an annual bonus, be sure to inquire about that, too.

Indirect Compensation

If you are fortunate enough to receive stock options at your company, include those underneath your indirect compensation umbrella. Other indirect compensation options include commission and performance-based bonuses (outside- or instead-of the expected annual bonus).

Healthcare Benefits

Healthcare benefits are a critical part of an offer package. Don’t feel awkward about asking your new employer for clarification if you are unsure about something. If the HR manager struggles with answering your questions, it might be a red flag. Companies that offer quality healthcare packages typically include varying options for different types of individuals and families. Pay attention to the out-of-pocket expenses and the ratio between what you pay and what the employer pays.

Life Insurance

Some companies provide life insurance options for their employees. While it may not be at the top of your list, it should be. If you suddenly pass away while your life insurance coverage is in force, the death benefit your beneficiaries would receive can help them avoid financial crisis during a difficult time. Keep in mind that oftentimes employer-provided life insurance covers only 1-2X your salary. So while it’s a great added benefit, it is usually enough coverage for the typical person. With an affordable term life insurance policy from Ethos, you can pay to take care of your family if the worst comes to pass. Alternatively, most life insurance policies can be paid out to a charity organization of your choosing. Either way, if your new gig offers any sort of life insurance, don’t hesitate to take advantage of this benefit.

401k Or Retirement Package

When you begin your new job, you may also be thinking of how to save for your future while you are young. Many companies offer matching 401k plans, which means that your employer will match your contributions to your retirement account (up to a certain percentage). Not using this benefit is essentially leaving money on the table every month. Try to save the maximum amount allowed for your retirement account each pay period to create a good nest egg for your retirement.

Time-Off Or Vacation Policy

As you settle into your new role, maintaining your work-life balance may be a priority. You may find that taking time off regularly will make you a more productive employee. Before accepting your new job offer, carefully evaluate the company’s policy around paid time off, personal time, and work-from-home hours. Do you need to “earn” days, or are you granted a set amount at the beginning of the year? Two weeks of paid vacation per year is a pretty standard offering, but you may be required to request the time off within a certain period. Many companies these days are happy to negotiate if you have particular needs - such as picking up a child from school or the flexibility to make routine medical appointments, so it never hurts to ask.

Other Considerations

Some companies offer extra perks for their employees. Consider the following before making your final decision:

  • Employee wellness perks (i.e., subsidized gym membership, a wellness credit, etc.)
  • Mobile phone plan
  • Transit reimbursement
  • Remote or work from home flexibility
  • New parent leave
  • Caregiving leave

If you have completed this checklist and notice some holes in your job benefits package, do not panic. Finding the right job takes time and persistence. While some benefits are not up for negotiation, others are more flexible. Our final tip is to vocalize your needs to your employer––the worst they can say is no. You may even be able to reach a compromise.

The information and content provided herein is for informational purposes only, and it is not to be considered legal, tax, investment, or financial advice, recommendation, or endorsement. You should consult with an attorney or other professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs.