23 Oct

5 Ways to Use your Employee Benefits
for the Next Downturn

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After the devastating 2008 crisis and the meltdown of our stock market, the mere mention of the word “recession” is enough to bring nightmares to anyone. Now, with most major global economies facing challenges, American manufacturing slowing down and plummeting business confidence, it is vital to be prepared for the worst. And don’t let the daily stock market records fool you.

So what can you do? According to Forbes, with cash compensation constituting 70% of total compensation and 30% coming from benefits, most employees only make use of the 70%.  They undervalue and underutilize the other 30% of their compensation. As we know, many companies including some of our great clients like Workday, Upwork, and Slack offer fantastic benefits that could save employees money on every day expenses and situations. Make sure you are not underutilizing your benefits and check to see if your company offers some of these benefits:

 

1. Claim your overtime!

Even if you are a salaried employee, many companies do reward their employers for their overtime with extra vacation days or an additional bonus. If your company does offer this perk, make sure to take advantage of it and report your overtime. Don’t let this one slip by you.

 

2. Take advantage of that Health Savings Account…now!

Although it might seem counter-intuitive, consider opting for a high deductible health care plan and an HSA account if your company provides that option. Many companies will match part of the money you put into your HSA. The money you put into this account is taken out of your paycheck pre-taxes, so you are reducing your taxable income at the same time. If you do not have many health expenses, a lower deductible plan will save you money on premiums and through the HSA account. Whatever you don’t use, will be rolled over and can eventually be used for retirement. Its’s a win, win, win!

 

3. Free gym? I’m in!

Many companies offer professional services such as a free gym membership or discounted magazine subscriptions. Discounted phone plans are also sometimes available. If your company offers any of these, it might be a good idea to switch things around and save through your company. Don’t spend $200 a month on an expensive gym membership or give too much money to the Save AT&T fund.

 

4. “Hello…this is Dr. Murray, how may I help you?”

If your company offers telemedicine, make sure to sign up and use it. It could save you hundreds of dollars on medical checkups and emergencies. If you ever develop a sudden rash, catch a cough or have a general question about your health, telemedicine is a great alternative. It will save you time, money, and potentially, a trip to the infirmary or emergency room

 

5. SOS: HR…Help me!

Go to your HR department and ask them for help on how to maximize aid from your benefits. Many companies go as far as providing professional, unbiased help to their employees in order to guide them. Some companies offer Advocacy, in which you can receive help with claims, finding doctors with the most reasonable copays, and any problems like this.

 

So sit back and let the economy play itself out. Whatever happens, take advantage of your benefits and save money. Whether a good economy or a bad one, that’s always the smart move.