For the average worker, the term "benefits package" usually brings to mind cash compensation which may include salary, bonuses and stock options. However, once one ascends to the executive ranks the packages change substantially. Upper level managers, particularly chief executives, are often privy to an exclusive set of non-cash benefits. These perquisites, more commonly referred to as perks, may not be cash, but they can be valuable. Here are some common perks enjoyed by CEOs.

IN PICTURES: A Bigger Salary Or Better Benefits?

Financial Counseling and Tax Preparation
Due to the complex nature of their compensation packages, chief executives are often provided with tax preparation services paid for by their employers. Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) paid over $400,000 in 2008, for professional services to handle CEO Ray Irani's financial issues. (Having a professional do your taxes isn't just for CEOs. Find out more in Choosing A Tax Preparer.)

Security
Many firms recognize that their CEOs need protection, which may come in the form of personal security details and home security monitoring services. The overall trend in spending on CEO security has been downward in recent years. However, one CEO bucking the trend is Howard Schultz. Security for the Starbucks (NYSE:SBX) chief rose 25% in 2009.

Office Space
The executive suite often comes with freedom to select executive décor, and the company foots the bill for each executive's fancy furniture. Former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain made headlines in 2008 for adorning his office with over $1 million worth of pricey furnishings. Thain's indulgence reportedly included an $87,000 area rug and a $1,400 trash can.

Cars and Drivers
Despite media attention paid to corporate jet travel, many CEOs are provided with ground transportation perks including company cars, privileged parking or a car and driver. According to MarketWatch, the tab for car and driver service provided to Macy's Inc. (NYSE:M) CEO Terry Lundgren topped $261,000 in 2009.

Corporate Aircraft
Last month, SEC filings revealed that Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) actually paid CEO Michael Jeffries to limit his personal use of the company jet. Jeffries was due to receive a $4 million lump sum payment for signing the agreement; he will keep the entire sum as long as he stays with the company until February 2014. (If you're a long-time air traveler, you've probably noticed that flying means pulling out your wallet a whole lot more often. Find out what's fallen off the list of airline freebies in 7 Air Travel Perks That Used To Be Free.)

Country Club Fee Reimbursement
Overall, instances of this long-standing perk appear to be dwindling, however some companies still foot the bill for such social and leisurely activities. One commonly provided excuse for footing country club fees is that consorting with fellow executives can help build business and new relationships. In 2008, Mattel (Nasdaq:MAT) paid an estimated $150,000 initiation fee for CEO Robert Eckert.

Gifts for the Road
By way of retirement benefits and pensions, some CEOs manage to collect bigger paychecks after their jobs are done. In 2009, Former Cigna CEO Edward Hanway departed the company with a retirement package reportedly worth over $110 million. Jack Welch, formerly of General Electric (NYSE:GE), made headlines due to the retirement package he negotiated prior to leaving the company. Welch left GE with a plan paying $8 million per year, and maintained access to all of the perks on this list except country club fees.

Welch eventually relinquished the bulk of the perks after details were revealed and met with considerable criticism. (Despite the record losses that occurred in the financial sector, many executives still received huge bonuses. Learn more in When Wall Street Loses, CEOs Still Win.)

It's Good To Be the Boss
Special treatment and privileges are often reserved for high level employees and members of any organization. While the perks in this list may be considered normal in executive circles, members of the general public tend to disagree. While public disdain may have caused some companies to scale back executive compensation in recent years, CEO perks remain in a class of their own.

Feeling uninformed? Read this week's financial news highlights in Water Cooler Finance: Buffett's Armed and Greece Keeps Falling.

Related Articles
  1. Executive Compensation

    How Restricted Stocks and RSUs Are Taxed

    Many firms pay a portion of their employees’ compensation in the form of restricted stock or restricted stock units.
  2. Entrepreneurship

    10 Characteristics Of Successful Entrepreneurs

    Do you have the qualities of a successful entrepreneur? Those who do tend to share these 10 traits.
  3. Investing

    5 Up and Coming Social Media Startups

    Although the days of Facebook's dominance aren't close to being over, here are some new creative platforms gaining traction on the worldwide web.
  4. Personal Finance

    Don't Sign That Non-Compete Without Reading This

    Non-compete contracts aren't just for high-level execs these days. How to protect yourself if your employer – or prospective employer – insists you sign one.
  5. Entrepreneurship

    Are You Really an Entrepeneur? A Reality Check

    If you are going to be an entrepreneur, and you’re doing it on a shoestring, you’ll need more than a good idea. Here are some skills to master.
  6. Entrepreneurship

    Digital Nomads in the Modern Economy

    Digital nomads compose a growing portion of the modern economy.
  7. Career Education & Resources

    Laws & Regulations To Know Before Changing the Name of Your Business

    Discover some of the most important steps you need to take after making a decision to change your legally established business name.
  8. Economics

    Why Enron Collapsed

    Enron’s collapse is a classic example of greed gone wrong.
  9. Entrepreneurship

    What is a Franchise?

    In a franchise, the franchisee acquires access to the proprietary knowledge, processes and trademarks of an established business – the franchisor.
  10. Term

    What Is Seed Capital?

    Seed capital is the money used to start a business.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Can LLCs have employees?

    A limited liability corporation (LLC) can have an unlimited number of employees. An employee is defined as any individual ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do flexible spending accounts (FSA) funds roll over?

    An individual can utilize an employer’s cafeteria plan of employee benefits to establish a flexible spending account (FSA). ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What protections are in place for a whistleblower?

    Whistleblowers can play a critical role in ensuring the compliance, safety, honesty and legal fairness of governments and ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can I buy insurance to reduce unlimited liability in a partnership?

    Partnership insurance is actually quite common. Most of the time, partners buy insurance to safeguard against the possibility ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the benefits of prorating expenses?

    When a person prorates expenses between personal and business expenses, he is able to capture the maximum amount of tax benefits ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the relationship between research and development and innovation?

    Although it's possible to achieve innovation without research and development and it's possible to conduct research and development ... Read Full Answer >>
Trading Center