Having a job certainly helps you financially by providing you with a paycheck. However, there are many other possible perks too that can leave more cash in your pocket. Ask your human resources department whether or not your workplace offers the following financial perks:
1. Tuition reimbursement. Many workplaces will reimburse all or at least a portion of your educational costs if your employer deems your education as beneficial to your job. This is of benefit to all concerned since it advances your career without having you incur student loan debt. While only certain programs or degrees may qualify for tuition reimbursement, it still pays to look into your workplace's tuition reimbursement program.
2. Student loan repayment. Some workplaces will help you repay your student loans. Legal professions typically offer some manner of a Loan Repayment Assistance Program. Teachers and other public service workers also often qualify for either loan repayment or loan forgiveness.
3. Hiring bonuses. Most corporations offer hiring bonuses to their employees for referring others for job openings. If you know of a friend or relative who is particularly qualified to do some sort of job at your company, don't delay: refer him or her immediately. If that person is hired, you will have some extra cash coming your way.
4. Relocation compensation. If you are looking for a job in a different city that's far away, research whether or not your potential new employer offers reimbursement for moving expenses. Even if the job is listed without mention of relocation benefits, the employer may still provide compensation for your troubles.
5. Retirement benefits. Most employers offer some form of retirement planning and benefits (e.g., 401(k)), and many employers will do a partial or even a full match of your retirement contributions. It's like getting free money from your employer. Be sure to ask what retirement plans and benefits are available to you.
6. Flexible spending accounts. Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) allow employees to set aside discrete sums of pre-tax dollars for medical and/or dental bills. Since most employees lose about a third of their income to taxes, setting aside money in advance for health care costs can significantly boost your bottom line; as an example, setting aside $2,000 in an FSA will end up saving you over $600 of your own money. As an additional benefit, you are not taxed on this money.
7. Health care plans. More and more employers are taking advantage of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) or consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs). These health plans help reduce monthly premiums. They also often offer the option of saving money in a health savings account (HSA). HSAs are much like FSAs, allowing you to invest your pre-tax dollars in an account that can later be used to pay for medical bills.
8. Transport reimbursement. Many employers offer public transit passes at reduced prices. Other employers offer financial incentives for bicycling or car-pooling to work. Such incentives could delay your purchase of a car, saving you significant capital.
9. Financial advice. Last but not least, many employers have a cooperative agreement with employee assistance plans (EAPs) and their associated financial advisers to help employees that are in debt get back on track. Other companies offer financial planning seminars and programs. Check with your company's human resources department for more information.