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Take the “Free” Benefits of Employment

Posted By Jim On 03/19/2005 @ 4:08 pm In Investing,Personal Finance,Retirement | 1 Comment

Whether it’s medical benefits or free cash via a retirement account, I think many people underutilize the benefits they receive from work. I know I don’t think of using my free checkups/physicals until I have to re-enroll for the next year (coming up soon in July). Not only have you already paid for these benefits, it’ll help you live a healthier and fuller life!

Every medical plan includes a routine examination and physical every single year at usually no cost to you. Ever hear of those stories where the doctor caught something that could’ve been much worse in a routine physical? All you have to do is schedule an appointment, go in, and get yourself checked out. As you grow older, other preventative maintenance examinations are also included. If they don’t find anything out of the ordinary, that’s great. If they do? Then they’ll have caught it as early as realistically possibly, every year. In addition to these, your plan may include chiropractor’s visits or other sorts of doctor’s visits you wouldn’t even have thought of. Take a look at your plans and see what you can get for free.

Again, a free dental cleaning every year. You may absolutely hate going to the dentist but if you go every year then small cavities are caught before their large cavities and anything else that could be problematic can be detected early. Plus, if your teeth are cleaned infrequently then it’ll take a much harder scrubbing to get them clean.

If you’re enrolled in a vision plan, typically a yearly exam is also included for free. Get those eyes checked and be able to see correctly. Some plans also include a free pair of glasses or a number of pairs of contacts each year for free (think of it really as paying up front).

I didn’t want to leave “free” benefits without talking about the free company match contribution to a 401k. As much as it’s been brought to the forefront by mainstream media, lots of people still don’t contribute to their retirement plans! My company will fully match the first 2% and 50% of the next 2% of your contribution. At my company, that contribution is fully vested immediately (some plans require a longer time period, 5 years seems to be typical) so it’s worth it even if I intended to leave tomorrow.

Have I missed any? Let me know!

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