Did you just receive a job offer and you’re not sure what to do next? Congrats on the new gig! Job transitions can be exciting and busy, so it’s important to be thoughtful with your financial decisions during this time. Our clients typically want to maximize their new job opportunities so I’ve compiled a new job checklist based on some of the successes and pitfalls we’ve seen over years.
✓ Time your last day appropriately.
General etiquette is to give two weeks’ notice, but don’t just choose a date arbitrarily. I recommend reviewing all forms of compensation and benefits to determine the right day to quit. If you’ve earned a bonus, company stock, or retirement plan contribution then you may be required to be employed on a certain date to receive these benefits so look before you leap!
✓ Review your new compensation.
Will there be a pay gap due to the timing of your transition? Or will you be moving to a different form of compensation either in frequency or structure? Regardless, it’s important to understand the impact of any compensation changes before your first day.
✓ Analyze your benefits.
Take a look at your new benefits to determine what’s available and when you’re eligible to enroll. If you have a spouse or domestic partner take a look at their benefits. Your new job is considered a life event they’ll be eligible to make mid-year changes. You should also keep an eye out for information regarding continuation of coverage from your former employer. This will be handy if you’re anticipating any gaps in coverage!
Pro tip: use a spreadsheet to do a side by side comparison of all of the benefits available to you help make your decisions. Compare all of the relevant details such as the costs, benefits, and enrollment dates.
✓ Get to know your new cash flow.
Take a look at your household inflows and outflows and begin to make estimates on how the new job is going to impact your overall situation. Do this before you start the new job. I regularly do this with clients by opening up their cash flow assessment and making projections on their new income, tax withholdings, benefit costs, and any other expense changes we can anticipate due to the new job. Like will you be making more money with your new job? If so, then take a look at all of your savings and schedule increases ASAP. It’s best to increase your savings immediately before you get used to the pay increase.
✓ Enroll in your new retirement plan.
Every company is a little different in terms of how they manage the 401(k) so there may be a waiting period. It could be days or even a year so you should ask about this before you start. If it’s a short wait then you should plan to fill out the paperwork and plan to contribute as soon as you’re eligible. If it’s longer, like a year wait, then I recommend determining another savings strategy to get you through your wait.
✓ Decide what to do with your “old” retirement plan.
We’re regularly contacted by successful individuals who have accepted a new job, but aren’t sure what this means for their retirement savings at the employer they’re leaving. Typically you will have several choices: to leave it, roll it over to an IRA, roll it over to your new 401(k), or to cash it out. And in some cases the previous employer will give you a deadline to decide or they’ll decide for you. There are pros and cons to all of the above options, so it’s important to make it your choice, not your former employers.
Starting a new job on the right financial footing could be one easy way to move your finances to the next level. Following my checklist will help you to take an educated look at this transition so that you can decide how to maximize your new job. Want more help with your job transition? CLICK HERE (merinowealth.com/getstarted) to see if we can help!
The views expressed today are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my broker-dealer, The Investment Center, Inc. or my Registered Investment Advisor, IC Advisory Services, Inc. The information contained is derived from sources believed to be accurate. However we do not guarantee its accuracy. The information contained is for general use and it is not intended to cover all aspects of a particular matter. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a representation by us or a solicitation of the purchase or sale of any securities. The information contained is not appropriate, by itself, to guide investment decisions.
All Securities Offered Through The Investment Center, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services Provided Through IC Advisory Services, Inc. – An SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Jessica Merino is a registered representative of The Investment Center, Inc. Merino Wealth Management is not affiliated with The Investment Center, Inc. or IC Advisory Services, Inc.