In our twenties, we are quick to jump into new jobs for the hope of a larger paycheck. It drives us to move to new cities or complain about how a friend makes more than we do at a similar job. Today I want to teach you how to look differently at your job offer. If you’re looking at a new job offer, take a step back and move past the salary that you’ll be receiving. Instead, think of the offer as a whole package, not just dollar signs.
When it comes to money at a new job, the question to ask is not what your salary will be, but instead how much more or less disposable income will you have at this new job?
A salary of $40,000 a year may mean you actually have $15,000 MORE to spend each year than a salary of $50,000 a year! It’s not just what your paycheck is each month…but think of the bigger picture and look at how much disposable income (how much money you’ll have in your pocket) at the new job.
If you feel you need a raise at your existing job and your employer can’t give you a raise but they can pay for your gym membership or public transportation card that costs you $80 per month. That is the same to you as a $1,200 raise (this is assuming you pay 20% in taxes on the $100 a month more they would be paying you). Consider looking past what you’ll be receiving each pay period and look at the additional items that may be offered that increase or decrease your overall disposable income.
Here are a few more things to consider when you’re looking at a job offer:
What is vacation worth to you? If you don’t travel or you already live in the same place that your family lives, vacation may not be as important. You may not need extra days to travel over the holiday. But if you love to travel or have a family/side business that really needs a flexible schedule, vacation time may be more important than your salary in some respects.
2. Cost of living
If your apartment or house costs double in a new city or state, consider that when you’re looking at moving for a job. We have a reasonable $700 1 bedroom apartment that would likely cost $1,500 in a bigger city. Moving for a $3,000 raise wouldn’t be a raise at all if our costs increased that much.
3. Insurance Benefits
Are you getting health insurance through work? What is that worth to you? It’s worth a little to me and my husband, but probably worth a lot to a mom with 2 kids and one more on the way. You may hear that health insurance is worth a lower paycheck, and it may be…sometimes. But, if one spouse already has great health insurance, it may not matter to you!
Other things to evaluate are if you are thinking of having a baby? Will you get maternity leave or disability benefits? How about life insurance?
How far will your office be from home? Will it be a 10 minute commute or an hour? What is that time worth to you?
Some people enjoy time in the car to relax at the end of the day. I see time as money as I’m often wasting daylight hours where I could be booking photo sessions for my side hustle on my drive home. Will you have to buy a more reliable car for your commute or pay for parking? Do you have to pay for an extra hour of daycare expenses because of your commute?
Flexibility in a job is almost priceless to me…almost. My flexibility allows me to work my 2nd job more easily. I can schedule lunch photo sessions, leave work early for a wedding, all of which make me extra money. Early in my career I was paid less than many of my attorney peers, but it allowed me to keep up my photography business which doubled my salary in 2015. Flexibility may mean you don’t have to pay for daycare, can share cars, or work from home and cut your gas expense.
6. 401(K) Match
Say it with me FREE MONEY!! A 401(k) match is straight up money in your pocket…if you actually use it…and you all should!! Figure out what they will match and add it with the money you’re getting from your paycheck. It’s worth every dime.
7. Additional Benefits/Fringe Benefits
Are there other benefits that the job offers that may be worth extra to you? Likely these are small but can be a few thousand depending on what they offer. For example: student loan forgiveness or tuition reimbursement, daycare, additional memberships (gym, zoo, Costco) or use of a company car?
Does the company have a history of giving out a sizable Christmas bonus? Or how about the opportunity to make a commission? Don’t count on it (don’t buy a pool like Clark Griswold assuming you’ll get one) but keep it in mind that there may be an additional monetary perk at the new job that wasn’t offered at your old one.
Will moving further from your family mean you’re spending $500 per person to go home for the holidays? Will you do it once or twice a year? Moving may mean more costs that you might not otherwise consider.
10. Future Income
Is the new job a $10,000 pay raise but will your job cap off at a certain amount? For example, if you’re in a large corporation it may be policy that the max you can earn in that position is X, whereas if you go somewhere else the opportunity to move up or make lots more may be much higher. Look at your potential earning capacity at a new company as well as your career goals long term.
There are hundreds of other things to consider when you’re looking at a job offer: Do you like your boss? Will you like the work? Will you have a corner office or stuck in a cubical? What I’m looking at above are more of the things you can quantify in terms of your overall disposable income when considering a job offer.
What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!