Many people, when searching for a job, look for a big salary or high hourly rate. Some look for incredible benefits and can settle on pay. But a job that is all money and no benefits means you'll have to pay for private insurance, your own retirement plan, and all the other things a job with benefits would take from your paycheck in the first place. On the flip side, a job that's all benefits and no pay won't pay your utilities, rent and grocery bill.

So what's more important, then, pay or benefits?

An elusive balance

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If there's one thing you should find a balance in, it is pay versus benefits.

We won't lie, this balance is difficult to find, especially since jobs are not general concepts like work-life balance. They are specific to industries, work experience and education. Companies vary on their ability to afford benefit packages or competitive salaries. That's why, in this case, all you can do is your best. Evaluate the entire package.

Besides the salary, is the company offering you any medical, dental, or vision insurance? What benefits can you go without for the time being? Can you cover your living expenses with the pay the company offers you? Does the company offer overtime? Look at your needs and then look at what the job will give you. If you can make it work, then it's a viable option.

Benefits may over pay

Though we just touted the importance of balance, if we were to pick one, we'd say benefits are the more important aspect of a job. At the bare minimum, having work-based insurance will effectively change the way you live. After paying your deductible, you won't have to worry about not being able to afford doctor or ER visits. You can get your teeth cleaned and your vision checked. Your health is essentially protected.

Employers, as mentioned before, will be able to attract more applicants for a job. It encourages employees to stay in a job longer, especially if there's a retirement plan involved. Benefits make the job -- even if it's a stressful job -- worth it for many people.

Types of benefits companies offer

Here are the benefits you should look out for when searching for a job or starting a benefits package for employees.

Health insurance benefits

Health insurance is the most fundamental and valuable job benefit. Although it is impossible to prepare adequately for health problems that may come up, it helps to have, at least, some form of cushion that can settle the more significant chunk of your healthcare bill.

Some companies offer a defined contribution plan instead of a healthcare insurance plan. It is usually the cheaper option. Instead of taking blanket health insurance coverage, employees receive a fixed amount of money and choose the suitable health coverage themselves.

Retirement benefits

Many permanent jobs in America offer a retirement benefits program, like 401(k) plans, as a part of your compensation. If there is no retirement plan, see if the salary is enough to live comfortably on and contribute to a private retirement plan.

Vision and dental health insurance

Vision and dental insurance are important because they help employees and their families receive regular eye and dental care.

Wellness program

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A good workplace has programs to help employees stay healthy. Some wellness initiatives include gym memberships, health screenings, nutrition education, smoking cessation programs and stress reduction programs. The programs help ensure that the employees are well enough to perform their work and care for themselves and their families.

Time off

Nearly every job is guaranteed to have paid time off, except self-employed work and hospitality. These kinds of businesses may or may not offer it depending on the owner, your work status (part-time or full-time) and the business' financial standing.

When it comes to paternity and maternity leave, nothing is ever guaranteed. If these provisions are essential for you, inquire about what the company is willing to offer. It may not be worth choosing a workplace that causes you to ignore important areas of your life.

Final words

Overall, offering benefits to employees is quite expensive for companies. But, they are a sign that the company puts real effort into ensuring that its employees are taken care of. If a company goes out of its way to care for others, you'll probably have a good experience working there, too.