SALARIES / JUN. 03, 2016
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4 Other Benefits to Negotiate When the Salary's Low

Congratulations! You’ve just been offered a position at a company that you applied to. This is great news and it’s exciting for you as you’re getting ready to start your career. But, before you quickly scream “yes” and sign the paperwork, there are some things you need to consider first.

Many freshly graduated students are too eager to land their first job once they graduate and quickly accept an offer that’s not always in their best interest. Some companies offer low starting salaries to recent graduates. Since the economic downfall a few years ago, many companies stopped offering as many benefits, as well, and this means that you’re now responsible for paying for things that were once covered by your employer.

While you may want to rush and accept that job offer, take a breath, and let your soon-to-be employer know you need some time to think things over and that you have a few questions to ask before you make a decision. Don’t worry, though; they won’t withdraw their offer because of this.

Below, I will go over four other main benefits you should negotiate with your employer before you accept their offer for employment, especially if the starting salary is low. After all, you do want to have a bright and successful future, right?

See Also: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Negotiating Your Salary

1. 401K Matching

One of the first things you want to ask about is whether or not there’s a 401K matching program in place. Some companies do offer this program and it is one that will help you save for retirement.

The 401k-match program can range in the level of involvement that a company has in your 401K. For example, some employers may match dollar for dollar and others may match 50% of your monthly contributions. It’s entirely up to the employer to decide how much they will match, but something is better than nothing.

The program is simple and it works like this: If your employer matches 50 cents on every dollar that you contribute, then after one month, if you’ve contributed $300 to your 401K, your employer will have contributed a further $150 to your 401K, totaling $450 for that month.

You must pay attention to the conditions and fine print, though, because some employers will only match that amount up to six percent of your salary and others may only start contributing once you’ve worked at their company for a certain number of years.

Starting to save early on in your career can prove extremely beneficial in the long run. Because the money you save will earn interest, the amount will continually grow over time. The sooner you start, the more interest will compound, and the more your total balance of saved money.

2. Gym Benefits

While the world is starting to take a bigger interest in healthy eating and getting into shape, more and more companies are starting to offer gym benefits to their employees, and you should ask your potential employer if there are any gym membership benefits.

The way this program typically works is that your employer will provide you with a gym membership for free or you’ll be able to join in on the group plan for a discounted rate and attend the gym whenever you want.

It is not uncommon for some smaller businesses to offer in-house yoga classes, gym meet-ups, and similar for their employees. In addition, some companies will offer incentives for employees who set and meet weight loss goals month after month.

Not only does this benefit help employees financially and health-wise, it is also valuable to the employer. When employees have access to a gym, they are typically healthier. This greater health results in less sickness and, therefore, less days calling out of work, better mental health, and an increased bonding time for employees (if they go to the same gym).

If you’re interested in a program like this, you should talk to your employer to find out what options are available to you.

3. Pet Insurance

Another benefit you should ask about is pet insurance. Some employers do offer pet insurance to their employees and it is a great option, especially if you have a pet or plan to adopt or purchase one. The program is designed to provide employees with discounted service rates when they need to take their cat, dog, or other animal to the vet’s office.

One of the major benefits of this insurance program is that you pay a simple deductible for services and the rest is covered for most services. In addition, you are able to choose the vet that you want to visit. Most basic services such as preventative medications, shots, and checkups are either included with the plan or available at a minimal cost to you.

Though this benefit may seem a little out there, it surely is attractive to those who love animals and are willing to spend lots of money to keep them healthy and happy!

4. Student Loan Repayment Benefit

One of the best new trends in employee benefits is student loan repayment and you should inquire with your potential new employer if they have a program for this. The way this program works is once you have spent a certain number of years with the company and performed satisfactory work, the company will pay off some of your outstanding student loan debt.

The amount of money that the employer pays off is up to the employer, and most programs require that the employee has worked at the company with favorable reviews for at least three to five years. The program is beneficial for graduates who do have outstanding student loan debt, and the company will also benefit from this program as employees will work harder for the company and generate more sales in return.

Since the average graduate now leaves campus with an average $37,000 in debt, a student loan assistance plan is a very attractive benefit that many companies are starting to employ to attract young talent. Some employers may even be able to cover the cost of an entire monthly payment!

See Also: 4 Reasons Why You Should Negotiate Your First Job Offer

If you find out that the company you have been offered a job from does not offer some of or any of these benefits, ask them if they would consider implementing any of them in the future. A company that takes care of its employees will have employees who want to work for them and who are driven to help the company succeed.

Before you go ahead and accept your job offer, look over four benefits we mentioned above and ask about whether or not the company offers these programs. If your company does offer all of these programs, you should participate in them, as they are a great opportunity for you to get healthy, keep your pet healthy, reduce your debt, and even save for retirement. When it comes down to it, you need to make sure that you protect your future and you do all that you can to make sure your student loan debt can be paid off without causing you to live paycheck to paycheck in the interim.

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