It's a problem that many in today's economy have faced: In our earnest eagerness to make that next big career move or transition to a new field, we accepted the first opportunity that dropped in our laps. Now, I'm all about walking through doors that open for you, but before you take that job offer, you should dig into the details. An offer that looks like it comes with a good wage, or even a salary increase, my be far less appealing once you factor in all the details.
Here are seven questions you should research before you say yes to the boss.
7 Money Issues to Understand Before Accepting a New Job
Is the position hourly or salaried? Is there an option for a bonus or the possibility of commission? Understand what portion of your income will be guaranteed and fixed vs. what's variable. Work to create a household spending plan on the fixed portion, or manage your finances on a variable income. It's important that you understand how your new income will affect your spending and goals.
Life happens, and you want to make sure you have time to enjoy it. Find out about the rules on vacation days and paid time off for medical appointments or unexpected events. Some companies combine all of your paid time off into a single time bank. Knowing the benefits package will clarify your understanding of what these events may cost you in terms of time or lost wages. And find out whether that vacation time offer is negotiable: Some companies may be more flexible about it than you'd expect.
Health insurance premiums can eat up a significant chunk of your monthly income. If possible, gauge what the company offers ahead of time and ask about the average cost of coverage for employees to compare to what you're currently paying. Company-provided life insurance or disability coverage can help supplement the coverage you buy for yourself, or cut your expenses for it.
Saving for your future is a priority no matter where you're working. Ask about company retirement plan options, such as a 401(k) and determine if there's a company match. (Free money!) If there isn't a 401(k) option, (or a match), recognize that's money out of your pocket. Then, look outside to setting up your own traditional or Roth Individual Retirement Account. Are there stock options or other company incentives?
Having clarity around expectations for performance and salary reviews will help you to gauge whether you can expect structure and streamlined growth, or if you need to proactively ask for reviews.
Are you in a position that requires you to hold a license and take annual continuing education credits? Will your new employer share or cover the costs for you to maintain these designations? Are there professional development or educational reimbursements for courses that will help you advance your skills within your new position? You'll want to know how much your company invests in its employees.
Corporate culture may not seem like a money-related question, but the price you can pay for a not having a flexible or family-friendly employer is significant. Knowing whether you'll be able to step away for a few hours one afternoon when your child is sick or if you'll need to secure paid care is something you'll need to factor into the family budget. A highly demanding job that will have you away from home or neglecting personal care could factor into higher costs to treat stress. The ability to telecommute from time to time can be a godsend both logistically and financially. So, evaluate how your current employer's culture impacts your lifestyle, and ensure you understand what changes you'd face if you joined your potential new company.