First Person: Why Everyone Should Be Unemployed for a Year or Two

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Too often I hear people complaining about the jobs they have. And sure, I've been there myself. A crummy job is no fun…but neither is not having a job.

After six years of struggling to remain self-employed, I have a much greater appreciation for the regular working world and the many benefits that it provides. I think that those people who are complaining about the jobs they have might not be so swift to do so if they'd do without such work for a year or two.

Appreciation for a steady paycheck

It took me several months after leaving full-time regular work to start to really appreciate just how nice the security of a steady paycheck really is. Sure, jumping out into the freelance world is exciting, and the possibility of hitting a big payday invigorating. However, as time went on and those big paydays failed to come in the amounts or frequency with which I'd hoped, my appreciation for that previous bi-weekly paycheck grew.

Reliable income in even just a decent amount can bring significant peace of mind and also makes things like budgeting and financial forecasting much easier. Dealing with the fluctuations and uncertainty of life without regular paydays can add significant pressure to an already stressful situation.

Realizing just how important benefits are

Employer sponsored benefits are something I think many people take for granted until it's too late. Jobs can come with all sorts of great benefits that those who have never gone without might not even consider "benefits" until they are gone.

Such items can include:

  • health insurance
  • retirement/pension plan
  • company stock
  • uniform allowance
  • meal plan
  • parking and transportation discount
  • company outings/events
  • bonuses/awards

A great example of just how valuable such benefits can be is illustrated by our family's health insurance plan. While we pay what we feel is a lot of money for our health benefits, with annual premiums coming in at about $8,000, the employer side of these costs is over $20,000.

Beyond the monetary benefits though, which can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars, there are also intrinsic rewards and career advancement options that can come through networking opportunities that might present themselves in a regular job.

The importance of retirement plans

It's hard to ignore the benefits of an employer-sponsored retirement plan, but even if an employer doesn't contribute in this benefit area or even offer a retirement plan per se, a job can still play an important role in retirement planning.

Even if an employer doesn't provide a standard retirement plan, earning a good salary means that there is more going toward Social Security, something that someone with a reduce income or no income at all won't likely be contributing to. Not only this, but an employer will be making a matching contribution to Social Security, something else that a unemployed or underemployed person might not be reaping the full rewards of.

So before complaining about a job that's not perfect, I think we should all take a moment to reflect upon just how many benefits can come with an employer-based role. Some people such as me, only fully realize these benefits after they are gone.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

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Disclaimer:

The author is not a licensed financial or career planning professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.

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