Not all wealth generating techniques are complicated. In fact, one of the simplest is using the benefits provided by your company. As a Googler, you have access to a comprehensive benefit package that can help you grow your wealth exponentially.
Here are our top six strategies for optimizing your Google benefits.
1. Contribute to Your Google 401(k)—and Qualify for the Employer Match
The Google 401(k) offers an attractive employer match equal to 100% of employee contributions, up to 50% of the IRS annual limit. In 2024, the IRS salary deferral limit is $23,000 for employees under age 50. That means if you contribute $23,000 to your 401(k), Google will put in an additional $11,500.
Simply by contributing to a retirement plan, Google employees earn employer contributions that will help generate wealth through compound growth.
2. Employ the Mega Backdoor Roth Strategy
Your Google 401(k) also allows you to make after-tax contributions, which can be automatically converted to Roth.
Googlers are among the lucky few who can take advantage of the “Mega Backdoor Roth” strategy: Contribute after-tax earnings, have them automatically converted to Roth, and enjoy tax benefits, including the ability to withdraw those contributions and any earnings tax-free in retirement.
Here’s an example of how this strategy works using 2024 limits for a Googler under age 50:
|Employee Pre-Tax Contribution
|Employer Matching Contribution
|Employee After-Tax Contribution
|Annual Dollar Limit
This hypothetical Google employee contributes $23,000 pre-tax, plus an additional $34,500 after-tax, and then elects to automatically convert the after-tax money to Roth. A Googler over age 50 can contribute an additional $7,500 pre-tax in catch-up contributions, for a total annual contribution of $76,500.
If cash flow allows, we recommend the following contribution priority: Max out your pre-tax contribution, then fill up the after-tax contribution bucket. If your bonus is more than the 401(k) contribution limit, we generally recommend using as much of the bonus as possible to fund the pre-tax and after-tax 401(k) contributions at once. This way, your contributions are invested early in the year, and they have more time to grow.
Keep an eye on your wage statements to ensure you’ve fully contributed and have received the full company match. Also, check your Vanguard account to ensure after-tax contributions have been converted to a Roth.
3. Strategize Your Google Stock Units (GSUs) and Lock in Your Wealth
As rewarding as GSUs can be, many Googlers are reluctant to sell their Google shares. Some strongly believe in the company and expect the stock price to continue rising, while others experience analysis paralysis about selling shares and incurring a large capital gain.
However, having a concentrated position in a single company, especially if you also depend on that company for your livelihood, exposes you to risk. Plus, as you remain with the company, you’ll continue to receive refresher grants and vest in more shares. That’s why we recommend selling Google shares as they vest and locking in your wealth as it’s earned.
You can utilize Google’s Employee Trading Plan (ETP) or a 10b5-1 plan to avoid blackout windows and sell shares upon vest. Doing so will allow you to more quickly invest the vested GSU proceeds in a globally diversified portfolio aligned with your risk tolerance and long-term goals. For those charitably inclined, appreciated Google shares are an excellent way to donate to important causes through a donor-advised fund.
4. Take Advantage of Group Term Life Insurance Coverage
Google offers group term life insurance up to three times your base salary, at no additional cost. It is generally a good idea to take advantage of free coverage, especially if you have a mortgage or other large loans, or family members dependent on your income.
Google also provides a survivor income benefit at no additional cost.
Both benefits will help you protect your family in the event of an unforeseen tragedy.
5. Consider Disability Benefits
An often-overlooked risk to long-term wealth generation is developing a disability during your peak earning years. Research from the Social Security Administration suggests that American workers are 1.5 times more likely to become disabled than die before retirement age.
The good news is that Google’s long-term disability coverage may help protect you and your family from the financial risks associated with disability. Unlike the life insurance benefit, long-term disability coverage may require you to set up paycheck deductions upon enrollment.
6. Contribute to a Health Savings Account
Google employees enrolled in a high-deductible health plan are eligible to contribute to a Health Savings Account. If you have the cash flow to make HSA contributions, this wealth-generating strategy offers triple tax savings in the form of:
- Tax-deductible contributions up to $4,150 for individual coverage, or $8,300 for family coverage in 2024
- Tax-free earnings
- Tax-free withdrawals, if used to pay for qualified medical expenses
If you’re able to pay out-of-pocket for your medical expenses, the funds contributed can be left to grow until you reach age 65. At that point, you can make withdrawals from the HSA for any purpose and be taxed at your ordinary income rate (withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are always still tax-free). This setup allows you to defer income to your retirement years when you’ll likely be in a lower tax bracket. And Google offers HSA matching contributions.
An HSA allows you to reduce your overall cost of care by using untaxed dollars to pay deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and other qualified medical expenses. Plus, you’ll get the benefit of compound interest if you chose to invest the contributions.
Do You Have Questions About Your Google Employee Benefit Package?
At JLFranklin Wealth Planning, we help Googlers achieve financial independence through creative wealth management, personalized financial planning, and proactive tax mitigation. We’ll walk you through these strategies and more to optimize both your employee benefits and your overall financial situation.
Want to learn more? Find out if we’re a good fit.