Which voluntary workplace benefits should you consider?

Hopefully your employer offers you benefits, and hopefully, you are taking full advantage of these benefits. Most corporations who offer benefits have a pretty solid core offering, but there are usually add-on or voluntary benefits you can choose from . As you can probably guess workplace benefits aren’t my area, but they are Paul Ashley’s from First Person Advisors. They’re all he thinks about, I would assume. Listen to Paul’s thoughts on the four most common voluntary benefits on The Pete the Planner Radio Show on WIBC:

I’ve written and spoken about disability insurance in other places, but I don’t think it’s made it to the blog yet. Here it is: You need disability insurance!!! Many employers offer disability, but it’s worth looking at the fine print. You may find the policy only covers you after you’ve been away from work for 90 to 180 days and/or it will only give you around 60% of your income… that’s before income taxes. My opinion, which if you’re reading this blog you obviously care about, is this isn’t enough insurance. If your employer offers supplemental disability, seriously consider it. Insurance is planning for the worst, so get over any excuses like “it’ll never happen to me”. Yeah, well, ask anyone who has ever filed a claim if they thought it would ever happen to them. They didn’t. So be prepared.

Paul informed me some employers offer prepaid legal services. Meaning, for a certain amount each month or paycheck you’ll have access to legal help. I’m instantly skeptical of this. I use several lawyers, but that’s the nature of my job, I can’t imagine you as an accountant/developer/nurse would need a lawyer very often. But Paul explained the legal service can do will preparation, document review, and even help if you are taken to small claims court. I’m still skeptical, but it’s worth investigating. Just be an informed consumer. Do your research before committing to anything.

I’ve talked about life insurance a lot. You’ve got to have it and you’ve got to have a lot of it. But most people just settle for whatever their employer provides. It’s definitely better than nothing, but it probably isn’t enough for your needs. The best thing about workplace life insurance is how cheap it is, but don’t stop there. My rule is you need 10 times your current income. If you can get that amount from work great. If not, supplement from somewhere else.

Then there’s the Accidental Death & Dismemberment policy. This policy is often confused with disability insurance. They are not the same. I’m not a fan of this insurance because it only pays out for very, very specific occurrences, but it’s worth evaluating against your own circumstances.

It’s extremely easy to just take whatever your employer gives you and consider yourself good-to-go, but don’t. Being proactive about your own life is a hard skill to kickstart, but once you do you’ll be unstoppable. Research your options and make the best decisions you can.

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