Total Compensation




I was going back through old paperwork in my career folder recently and found a “Total Compensation & Retirement Plan Projection Statement”. It was sent to all employees back in 2009 when the whole country seemed to be either laying off staff or cutting staff pay in exchange of keeping their job. Many of us took this as a “hey, it’s better than nothing” sort of approach.

What the?

At first glance, I remember being a little upset. But after taking a moment to really absorb the information, I realized that this was actually a pretty cool way to see the full package that I was getting. I had no idea. And I think that is the case for many folks out there. We tend to focus on salary rather than the total compensation we receive.

Take Note

So when you are looking at your current job or contemplating a job offer for a new one, make sure to take note if your company:

  • Contributes funds toward your 401k
  • Offers an EAP program
  • Reimburses a portion of your tuition
  • Provides short-term and long-term disability insurance, group term life and AD&D insurance

Think about it like this

Think about what they are contributing to your medical and dental plan above and beyond what you are paying out of each paycheck. I don’t know about you, but I’ve checked out what it would cost for medical through the state and federal exchanges and it isn’t pretty.

Try considering:

  • How much paid time you get
  • If you have a flexible work schedule
  • If your employer offers childcare, commuter benefits or a gym reimbursement

How to figure your total comp

You’ll want to add all these things up to figure out your total compensation. has a great tool for figuring out what an employer will typically pay out for a person by salary and industry. It takes into consideration the industry average for social security, 401K, disability, healthcare, pension and time off. This is number you want to use for negotiating a salary at a new job. Keep in mind though the other benefits that each company offers. You might be surprised that those are worth more than a high salary.

Back to me

When I saw the number at the bottom of the statement, I realized that I was making $8,000 more than my base salary. And that was just fine to me.

Enough about me. How about you? Have you figured out what your total compensation package is?