Perks of the job…

As I walked across the stage and received my college diploma I had dollar signs in my eyes. I was all about trying to earn the largest income possible. Two and a half years later, I’m coming to realize salary is only one piece of the puzzle. A large salary is nice, but awesome benefits really turn me on….puuurrrrr.

Insurance was a foreign concept to me as a college student. I was on my parents health insurance and never really realized how important it was. To date, I have still had no major medical emergencies, but having a job that provides full insurance benefits puts my mind at ease. Since I work for Uncle Sam, I have quite a few insurance options. Competition drives down prices. If I worked for a company that didn’t provide health insurance I could easily be paying twice as much per month, in premiums, for an individual plan.

If you didn’t already know, I work from home. A few of the perks that come with this: I can work in my underwear, no boss breathing down my neck, and my internet bill gets reimbursed. That’s $40 a month automatic savings in my pocket.

I guess I must be kinda important because I’m fortunate enough to have a work vehicle. If I took another job I would most likely have to drive to work each day. Assuming I had a 25 mile (roundtrip) commute for said job, I would be spending roughly $1,000/yr just to get to and from work (and that doesn’t even account for the wear and tear on the vehicle, maintenance, etc). My work vehicle doesn’t only save me gas money, but it also reduces my private auto insurance premium. Since I only put a few thousand miles on my personal vehicle each year, I am able to insure it as a leisure vehicle, which in turn lowers my insurance quote, probably saving me another $20/month.

I know 401K matching is pretty typical in most large companies, but it is not a guaruntee. Especially when the economy suffers and employers need to cut back some of their costs. Fortunately for me I have had 5% of my income matched since the first day I started. At my current income ($50K), The Man is contributing $2,500 towards my future.

So in reality, my salary may only be $50K, but I’m actually receiving about $5,000 in additional (mostly tax free) benefits. Whenever I look in to other job prospects I remind myself that the salary is only a small piece of the overall employment picture. Heck working from home is so epic, I would have to get paid a lot more elsewhere to consider giving up the freedom I have.

Now it’s your turn bloggers. Wont you share some of the benefits you receive from your employer? Do you get free lunch (like google employees)? Maybe discounts at certain retailers? What percent, if any, does your employer match to a 401k? Is the salary what’s important, or is it the benefits?