You’re Hired! Understanding Job Benefits

About three million college graduates will be churned out in 2013 and nearly all of them will be eager to find a job in their profession. Actually securing a job is an achievement in itself, but the finer points of employment can be both a blessing and a curse, particularly when it comes to job benefits. Not every job in today’s economy offers benefits, but if you luck out and land a benefits package, you’ll face a lot of decisions early on in the process. To find out what benefits are eligible for each position, suggests you apply online with your ideal company. Look for Choosing insurance packages, funding a 401(k), and accepting or declining other benefits options is an important step that will affect your earnings, your security and your long-term financial situation. But since many college grads are facing these decisions for the first time, the right choice isn’t always clear. Follow these guidelines to navigate the paperwork that follows a job acceptance.

Choosing a Health Insurance Plan

Health insurance is a standard feature in most employer benefits packages. The security and savings of a good insurance policy can save you enormous sums of money every year, which is what makes them so attractive to job applicants. According to Consumer Reports, there are three key variables that need to be considered when picking out a health insurance policy: coverage, cost and whether your local health care provider accepts that insurance.

Not all insurance plans are created equal. Some cover prescriptions, while others don’t. Some will pay for mental health services, while others will refuse. Consider your own health circumstances and find insurance that covers the needs most essential to you. The more comprehensive the coverage, the better, but not every employee can afford the best insurance possible — and some simply won’t feel that premium coverage is necessary.

Once you have an idea of which insurance plans you want, you can weigh the costs to see which best suits you. Don’t just consider the premium cost, take the deductible into account, as well as your frequency of doctor visits. It’s tough to know what might happen in the future, but take the worst-case scenario into consideration and make sure you can handle the costs.

Making Life Insurance Decisions

Life insurance coverage can be a complex matter. For one, there are several types of life insurance you can purchase, each offering advantages and drawbacks. And determining the proper amount for your policy requires the consideration of many different factors, including your current income, projected earnings increases, the number of years to plan to work until retirement and the projected returns on your investments.

Analyzing your situation can be a complex matter best handled by agents who understand the implications of various life insurance policies and how you stand to benefit. The State Farm life insurance site explains the implications of various policies while guiding you to the best policy for your situation.

Managing Your 401(k)

A 401(k) is a great asset in any benefits package, and many employees get to choose their 401(k) provider when they are hired. To set yourself up for success, Forbes recommends that employees be wary of common traps. For one, avoid funds that demonstrate a bias in their investments — some funds build their own investments and products into fund packages, instead of providing investors with the best investment package possible.

You should also find out the expenses that you’ll be expected to cover. Many of these are administrative and take a bite out of your annual earnings, so consider costs when evaluating a fund’s potential returns. Some funds will try to hide their fees from employees and then cash in once the 401(k) is chosen. But these companies are required to disclose their fees up front, so get a hold of the numbers and do your homework before settling on a single fund.

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Photo by Flickr user: Victor1558


Gary Knickerbocker

Gary majored in finance, and he dreams of working in the CIA. In the meantime, he is happy writing about the world of finance whenever he can.



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