by guest writer Vielka Burey-Jacas
A lot of people – especially those who are early in their careers and also those who are first and second generation immigrants – are not be aware of all the benefits a potential employer may offer.
Unfortunately, this means they may be missing out on some key resources for their own finances.
This lack of awareness among Latinos can happen for several reasons. In the case of first generation immigrants, there may be a language barrier. Some may learn enough English to survive, but may not master the advanced reading comprehension skills that may be needed to understand the intricacies of their finances. Some may be unaware of the tools and resources that are available to them.
Second generation immigrants have an advantage with English as their primary language, but in some instances they may not know what kind of benefits to expect when looking for a job.
Larger companies tend to inform employees about benefits during an “Orientation Day” or through a human resources department. Small businesses tend to either be less involved or they only offer limited benefits or none at all.
To help new job seekers of all backgrounds know what kind of benefits to expect before accepting a job offer, I’ve created the following “Benefit Awareness” list.
BENEFIT AWARENESS LIST
- If the company offers a 401k and offers to match yourcontributions, the match is usually up to 3 percent. Remember: matchedmoney is free money so this is a great benefit to look for!
- Sign up as soon as you are eligible — sometimes you may have tobe employed for a year to participate.
- Your contribution is tax deductible.
- You can roll your money into a new 401k with a new employer orroll into an IRA should you become unemployed.
- At most large companies, it’s generally free for you to enroll in the company’s health insurance program. At smaller companies, the employee sometimes has to pay a percentage.
- Look for reasonable rates to insure your dependents.
- Employer health insurance programs are usually much cheaper than independent plans.
- Dependents can be covered under the employee’s insurance until the age of 26 if they are full-time students.
- A life Insurance policy will generally provide about two times your salary to beneficiaries.
- Disability plans are very important as you get older and can be very helpful when an unexpected illness comes up. Disability insurance is also excellent to have when an illness like cancer, diabetes or heart disease is prevalent in your family.
- Many companies pay up to certain amount of tuition for continued education on a yearly basis. The average reimbursement is usually around $2,000.
- In general, you must study something in a field that’s related to your job.
- Reimbursement is based on your grades. An “A” will get you a full refund, a “C” will get you 50 percent. There is generally no refund if you drop the class.
- This benefit can help tremendously to keep you from acquiring more debt while earning a degree.
- This benefit can help you move up within your company.
- Can be used to contribute an extra amount to your retirement plan
- Can be helpful to pay off debts, pay bills or plan vacations
- Paid Vacations/Sick days
- Enjoy the free time without incurring more debt
- Get paid while on vacation
- If the company is publicly traded, employees are usually offer stock at a discounted price
- Stock ownership is another way to shore up savings
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vielka Burey Jacas is a Certified Financial Planner and a volunteer expert at LifeTuner. Vielka has a passion for helping family, students, homeowners, businesspersons, employees and other Latino community members expand their opportunities through improved financial literacy, and has extensive experience in the private banking and investment planning sector, having spent many years with both domestic and international banks.