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Switching jobs for better benefits

Is it a smart strategy to focus less on salary?

When offered a new position, consider the totality

When offered a new position, consider the totality of the benefits package and not just salary, experts say.    Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStock/AndreyPopov

Employees will play musical chairs next year.  In a new survey by the American Institute of CPAs, nearly 30 percent of more than 1,100 people polled said they want to switch jobs.

What are they seeking? Eighty percent of them said they would prefer a job that offers high-quality benefits over one that pays 30 percent more salary but no benefits.

So for many workers, it’s not about the money chase but the best benefits. That’s a surprise.

“People are moving from the gig economy that was more prevalent since 2009 to more traditional work. They wanted stability, and benefits, and are finally getting it,” says Michael Spelman, a partner at Myrmidon Private Capital in Bay Shore.

But is it a smart strategy to  focus on benefits more than salary?

When it makes sense to go with benefits: “The short answer is most should consider this option," says Jacob Dayan, chief executive of Community Tax, a provider of tax services in Chicago.

"If the benefits really are good — a hefty employer match in your 401k, a pension plan, health insurance, discounted gyms, child care center, a great company culture, and more — this could pay off in the long run” Dayan says.

Putting salary over the most basic of benefits like health insurance could be catastrophic, says Chelsea Hudson, a personal finance expert for TopCashback.com.

“A sudden health problem can bankrupt someone even making a six-figure salary," she says.  "Paying out-of-pocket for your own health insurance could be more than your after-tax annual pay raise.”

When to go for the money: Says Dayan, “If you’re young, healthy, and don’t plan to stay long at the job that offers a 30 percent bump in salary, then this is definitely something to consider.”

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