Open Enrollment and Total Compensation

Posted on November 28, 2011

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As open enrollment winds down for many employees, a short article by Chris Taylor reminds us that taking advantage of employer provided benefits can serve to increase one’s total compensation. Or, in Taylor’s words, “to really crank up your compensation, you don’t have to confront your boss with any ultimatums. You just have to crack open your employee handbook.”

Taylor notes that benefits make up roughly one-third of most employees’ total compensation packages, so making sure to maximize the benefits that are available is critical.

One of the easiest places to find “free money” is to contribute to your 401(k) or other workplace savings plan at least enough to get the full employer match. Contributing less means that you’re leaving money on the table – money that can be used to build a nest egg for the future.

Of course, there are other areas to pay attention to – checking carefully to make sure you are choosing the optimum level of health insurance, taking advantage of opportunities to purchase life and disability insurance, etc. The key is remembering that benefits are a significant part of your total compensation package – making sure to choose wisely during open enrollment is an important part of maximizing your total compensation.