Career Services

Managing Life After Clark

When comparing job offers, consider factors in addition to salary such as opportunities for advancement, level of responsibility, skills you will learn, contacts you will make, and exposure to a variety of clients. Sometimes it is smarter in the long-run to take a job with slightly lower pay because it will serve as a better starting point for your future career.

Gross vs. Net Income

First, the bad news: more than 1/3 of your gross income will go to taxes and insurance so your take-home pay will be significantly less than your initial salary would indicate. When determining your tax withholdings, at first it is best to have more money deducted from your paycheck than not enough. If you are single with no children, claim zero dependents on the withholding forms your employer has you complete. This won't change the amount of tax you pay but it will increase your chances of getting some money back in the form of a tax refund at the end of the year (as opposed to having to make a tax payment when you have no funds to do that).

Retirement Plans

Most companies offer something like a 401K plan that allows you to put pre-tax (gross income) dollars into an investment fund managed by the company. In many cases employers will match your contribution. If this is available to you, begin contributing as soon as you can. You probably won't miss the money that is taken out, but it will grow to a substantial amount over the years. If you change jobs you can take your retirement money with you. If your employer doesn't offer a 401K plan you can set up an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to which you may contribute up to $2000 pre-tax each year.

Savings Plans

Likewise, if your employer offers automatic withdrawal into a savings account or credit union, commit to having as much as you can afford taken out of your check and put into savings each pay period.

Tuition Reimbursement

Many employers will pay for all or part of your future study, particularly if it is related to the business of the company. In some cases they will require that you work for the company for a certain length of time after completing a degree for which the employer paid the tuition.

Flextime

The company may offer you the opportunity to work varied hours rather than strictly 9 to 5 which may be appealing now or in the future.

Employee Assistance Programs

Many employers provide counseling resources to help employees address problems such as substance abuse, relationship issues, legal problems, or anything that may affect job performance.

Insurance

Employers will offer several insurance plans for which they pay a certain percentage and the rest is deducted from your paycheck. You should choose the insurance plan with the most comprehensive coverage for you. If it costs a little more it will pay for itself if you use it once. Take advantage of the benefits for regular check-ups and teeth cleanings. Investigate Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) by talking to co-workers, neighbors, friends.

COBRA

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act requires that if you leave a job for any reason (including getting fired) your employer must allow you to continue your insurance coverage under their health plan for up to 18 months. You will have to pay for it, but employers may offer it to you at their cost. (If you are not yet employed, your best bet is to try to remain on your parent's insurance, which is usually an option until age 23. Or, if that is not possible, many large insurance companies offer short-term transition insurance policies that cover you for one to six months and can be renewed for an additional period.)