Research of the Week: Employees Undervalue Workplace Benefits
Not understanding financial benefits could leave money on the table.
Each week, Consolidated Credit searches for financial research that can help you deal with your debt and budget. This week…
The interesting study
The employer benefit experts at Mass Mutual released the 2015 Generations@Work Study to see which workplace benefits are valued the most by employees and how those workers use their benefits to improve their everyday financial lives.
The big result
Most employees prefer better work-life balance in the form of more vacation days than they would financial advantages, such as better higher 401(k) match percentages or paying no healthcare premiums.
The fascinating details
Basically over 1,500 employees were asked what the top benefits provided by employers were, and the top response with 47 percent of the vote was for more vacation days. Better 401(k) matches came in second at 44 percent and no healthcare premiums took third with 40 percent of the vote. Expanded healthcare benefits and a flexible work schedule rounded out the top five responses.
Demographically, men were typically more likely to respond positively to financial benefits than women, who opted more for life benefits. So 47 percent of men wanted better 401(k) matches compared to 41 percent of women. Men responded 43 percent of the time to no healthcare premiums, while women only opted for this 36 percent. Meanwhile, women were more like to ask for a flexible work schedule (41 percent versus 33 percent for men) and other life benefits like a free gym membership and education/tuition reimbursement.
The most fascinating detail of the survey however, didn’t really have to do with benefits. Instead, it focused on the amount of time people concern themselves with things like finances and employer benefits reviews in a given week. So the average respondent spends 10.7 hours each week watching TV and 4.8 hours chatting with co-workers. Meanwhile, we only spend 3.4 reviewing personal finances and only 1.6 hours placing any focus on workplace benefits.
What you can do
“It can be difficult to do when you work full time and have a packed schedule besides that in the rest of your life, but you have to take time to focus on your finances if you ever want to reach your goals,” says Gary Herman, President of Consolidated Credit. “Setting aside an hour each day can go a long way to improving your bottom line.”
Of course, this begs the question of exactly what you should be looking at and doing during this time. To this, the experts at Consolidated Credit have five great ideas for tasks you can focus on a little bit each day in order to build a better financial outlook overall.
- Take control of your credit card debt. Review your statements to see exactly how much you owe, what the interest rates on each of your cards with a balance is, when introductory rates expire, and how you can pay back what you’ve charged in the most efficient way possible.
- Find discounts on insurance. Insurance costs are consistently draining money out of your budget, but people rarely review their policies, talk to their agents and look for ways to find better rates. Take time to talk to your agent and comparison shop with other providers.
- Review your retirement accounts. See how much money you’re contributing out of your paychecks to your 401(k) to ensure you’re maximizing the money you can receive from match programs. Look at your IRA account and other investments, and review your mutual fund spreads.
- Make a home repair / renovation budget for the year. Check around the house to see what’s on its last legs and what you want to do next to improve your property. Start pricing out replacements, contractors and materials so you can budget for home maintenance this year.
- Check your credit reports. If you haven’t done so in the last twelve months, go to com to download a free copy of your credit report from each of the three main credit bureaus. Review your reports to identify negative items and to ensure your report is error-free.