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How to Maximize Your Benefits at a Most Valuable Employer for Military Company

by Ashley Feinstein, Contributing Writer

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Article Sponsored by: CCSD

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“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” - Stephen R. Covey

When a company has talented, motivated and happy employees, they are at a huge advantage over their competition. In today’s competitive job market, a great compensation package is not enough to attract and retain employees. That’s why more and more companies are now offering creative benefits and fostering company culture to increase employee satisfaction and success.

As an employee, you don’t want to let these great company benefits go to waste because you will be essentially leaving free money on the table. Maximizing these benefits can help you make great progress toward your goals while increasing your overall wellness.

401(k) Matching Program

401(k) matching is a very important retirement benefit that can be offered to employees. For example, if your company offers up to 3% 401(k) matching, they will match your 401(k) contributions dollar for dollar up to 3% of your salary. In this scenario, if you are contributing anything less than 3% to your 401(k), you are missing out on free money - literally. I urge people to think of 401(k) matching programs as part of their overall compensation. While the money is going to retirement, it can help you reach your retirement goals faster or even decrease the amount you have to contribute out of pocket to reach those goals.

Health Savings Account

Health savings accounts offer employees the opportunity to fund medical expenses from pre-tax dollars. If you utilize these accounts, it’s as if you are getting all of your medical expenses on sale. It’s important to understand which expenses qualify for your health savings account ( so that you can plan for the year accordingly. There is now no time limit on when the funds have to be used. They roll over year after year, so if you have money in your account that you don’t use, it will not go to waste. You can use that money in the coming year.

Life and Disability Insurance

Life insurance provides protection against the loss of income that would result for your family if you passed away. Many times, employers don’t offer as much total insurance as you would want, but it can be a great supplement to your total coverage. Disability insurance provides income protection in the case that you are physically or mentally unable to work for a short or long period of time. While we often don’t think this could happen to us, one in four people will not be able to work over the course of their lifetime. This is an extremely important benefit that you can receive simply by opting in via your company benefits.

Transit and Commuter Benefits

Similar to a health savings account, many companies also offer transit and commuter benefits out of pre-tax dollars. Typically, there are various options, so you can select the benefit that makes the most sense with your lifestyle and commute.

Wellness Benefits

In addition to health insurance and the health savings account, some companies also offer wellness reimbursement as well as rewards for investing in your fitness and wellbeing. You may be able to get a certain amount of money reimbursed for gym memberships, fitness classes and even sports leagues that you may participate in. Some companies offer prizes and rewards for working out, attending certain events or achieving specific milestones. You may also find intercompany sports leagues that are a complimentary way to stay fit, have fun and get to know your colleagues.

Discount Stock Purchase Plan

If you work for a publicly traded company, you might have the opportunity to participate in an employee stock purchase plan. Companies offer this type of benefit to allow employees to share in the success of the firm. Employees are often offered the stock at a discount from the market price, and in many cases you can have this purchase deducted directly from your paycheck, before the money hits your account. Purchasing investments at a discount can be a tremendous perk!

Other Perks

There are many other creative benefits that companies provide. Depending on the industry and position, you might be offered flexible work hours or the ability to work remotely. There can be various discounts offered to companies on anything from your cell phone service to education to department stores. If you have access to a corporate card, some companies are allowing their employees access to use their points and miles. This can provide free travel, upgrades and cash back opportunities. Some companies extend benefits associated with having a family in the form of daycare, emergency day care and college coaches.

While many companies are offering an array of benefits to their employees,you’d be surprised by how many people aren’t actually using their benefits. If you are unfamiliar with what your company offers, check out the humanresources section of your company website or reach out to a human resources or benefits professional. These benefits are there for the taking, and you work hard to have these perks! Make sure to maximize them.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley is a money coach demystifying the world of money and personal finance. Get her exclusive how-to guide “30 Days to Financial Bliss” ( - free for Military Transition News readers.

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