Sometimes we forget that our jobs come with a number of perks that might not involve a larger paycheck. I’m a freelance writer, so I don’t get health benefits from a job, and my “paid vacation” is bringing the laptop along to do a couple things in the morning before we head out for fun. But there are perks associated with my job that makes up for some of the drawbacks:

  • I get to work from home, and spend more time with my family.
  • I can sleep in any day I want to.
  • I arrange my schedule to my convenience.
  • I have amazing flexibility in my work attire.
  • If I don’t want a work assignment, I don’t have to accept it.

These are all items that have very little to do with my “salary“, but that I consider compensation for the work I do. Those who work in more traditional jobs also receive various forms of compensation that may not directly show up in a paycheck.

Many full time jobs come with paid vacation, opportunities for unpaid leave, a certain amount of security, and the ability to rely on a set amount of money most paychecks. In the U.S., many jobs also come with the ability to get access to discounted health care plans. Additionally, there are employers that offer discounted childcare, discounted gym memberships and other perks. By the time these benefits packages are added up, it is clear that the compensation that comes with many jobs is far more than what is paid in a salary.

Would You Rather Have More Money or More Perks?

When it comes right down to it, your compensation should be viewed as whole. Instead of narrowly viewing your compensation as the amount of money in your paycheck, it is a good idea to consider the perks and benefits that come with a job, and to consider whether the kind of value those perks and benefits add to your quality of life. While such things can’t always be quantified, you can glean a great deal of insight into your own priorities if you take a few minutes to consider your entire compensation.

The next step in your contemplation of your compensation package, of course, deals with whether or not you would rather just have more money. Would you give up five or six days of paid vacation for a few thousand dollars more per year? Or would you rather have the option to take a week of unpaid leave in addition to your standard vacation time, even if it means you lose out on a few hundred dollars?

Everyone’s answers will vary, according to what matters most to them at the time. Personally, I would rather have a little more time for relaxation than a little more money. Of course, if you aren’t making enough money to meet your needs, then compensation of the non-monetary kind doesn’t really help much. In order for non-monetary compensation to add to your quality of life, it helps to have enough actually pay to meet your needs.

Where are you at? Would you rather have more money? Or other forms of compensation?



Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.