How many of us will don our cap and gown this April without knowing what a 401k really is? How many of us will run to the bathroom during our new hire orientation and text our dad about which insurance to pick? Overwhelmed, we will likely glaze over all the benefit options and pick the one that is simply most decipherable to our finite understanding.
From my HR coursework, I have realized that when we live in ignorance about these topics, we are shooting ourselves in the financial foot. However, entering our careers with a basic understanding of them will enable us to walk, not crawl, toward financial freedom.
Perhaps a surprising truth is that companies want you to take advantage of all the benefits they offer. Stock options, HSAs, pensions, and employee matches— these are all fair game once we leave the realm of $8.50 an hour. The majority of companies offer 16 investment options or more in their 401k plans. It is in your best interest, as well as theirs, to be educated on the choices.
So don’t wait until you are your dad’s age to take full advantage of your company’s benefits. Stop stalling and start saving.
La Canada, Calif.