A career change whether it’s with your existing company or a new one, can be exciting! New opportunities to learn and grow in your career, meeting new people and hopefully making more money! We also know that with that, comes more responsibilities and changes that at times, can feel overwhelming. Whether it’s trying to get acclimated to your new job responsibilities, learning new software and systems or getting adjusted to new company culture and trying to build relationships; we know that alone can be enough to keep you plate full. However, there is a host of other things everyone should be considering during their transition into a new role. The purpose of this post is help you identify what things you should be considering during your transition.
- Do you have a 401(k) or any retirement plan with your previous employer?
If you started a job at a new company entirely, chances are you may have had a retirement plan from your previous employer. What should you do with it? There are several options you have, but we will cover a few below.
- You can leave it there. Most companies outsource their retirement plans to a third party company to be managed on behalf of the employer. In most cases, if you leave the company; the third party can still manage your retirement plan. While this is likely the easiest transitional option, I have found that many people often forget they have an account elsewhere; which could result in having trouble accessing information related to the account in the future. Which could lead to not addressing important factors related to the account, potentially resulting in unnecessary loss in value. In short, it becomes “out of sight out of mind”
- You can move it to your new company. If your new company offers a retirement plan, you may have the option of rolling a previous company plan into your new one. This option could work well if your employer allows this option. This could also arguably be the simplest option in that; you would only have to monitor one account as it relates to your retirement. Sometimes, companies have provisions as to when new employees can contribute to the company sponsored retirement plans. So this could potentially be a factor in determining if this option is viable or at the very least, you’d have to wait until that until the provisional waiting period expires.
- You can roll it over into a new individual retirement account (IRA).
If your employer does not offer the option to roll previous accounts into your new one, then this option may be most suitable for you. You can pretty easily find a Financial Firm to open up an account, and have the funds from your prior companies retirement plan, rolled right into the new one. This can be a good way to jump start investing outside of just your company-sponsored plan to insure you have multiple ways to secure your financial future down the road. This will also likely give you the option to have more access to a larger variety of investment options. Your company sponsored plan likely has a limited amount of choices for employees to invest in, to simply the process of selecting funds. While having more options is great, if you don’t have much experience or confidence in investing, it could lead to indecision. So if you decide this option is right for you, you may want to consider seeking out the help of a financial advisor to assist you. They will also be able to help you better understand how your current company-sponsored plan fits into your long-term investment goals.
- Do I truly understand my company benefits?
If you have full-time employment, there is a good chance your company offers health and medical benefits. These benefits can include but not limited to; dental, medical and vision. While these are a great to have, do you truly understand how they work? How much would you have to pay out of pocket if and when you need to use the benefits? What would be covered if you became hurt or sick? If you could not work for a period of time, how would your pay be impacted? Do the benefits you’re eligible for truly meet the needs of your family and me or are their gaps that need to be addressed? These are all questions you should ask yourself when starting a new job or concerns you should consider if you haven’t already with your existing role. You don’t want to find yourself asking these questions once something has already happened. We cover these questions extensively in Module one of our Money Mastery Academy and it’s a topic we address with all clients who are Legacy and Lifestyle Members.
- More money, what should I do with it?
It’s probably a fair assumption that if you are starting a new role, you are earning more income than you were from your previous employer. While that may not be universally true; starting a new job regardless of how much you’re making, you need to understand the best way to maximize your income. We all pay taxes, and while we look at doing so as simply a requirement, we often times don’t exactly understand the amount we pay and if its accurate. Out of any expense that you have, taxes hands down will likely be at the top of the list, as they will represent 25% or more of your gross income.
Are there ways to reduce the amount of income taxes you pay so that you realize more money back in your paycheck? As a matter of fact, there is! One way to do this is buy increasing your amount of withholdings that are taken out of your check for taxes. Ever wondered why you get a tax refund? Well this is because you overpaid in taxes throughout the year, so the government has to reimburse you for your interest-free loan you gave them. Instead of giving the government control over money that you are entitled to; why not take back your money so that you can do more with it throughout the year?
Now you’re probably wondering, how exactly do I do this? The IRS website has a withholdings calculator that you can use to determine what you are projected to overpay, which would result in a refund and you will also be able to see if your projected to owe them based on how your current withholdings are setup. You can adjust your withholdings until your results indicate that you would not owe any taxes or would be eligible for a slight refund. I don’t recommend adjusting your withholdings to the point where you would owe taxes at year end, unless you are really responsible with managing your money and have a plan on what you would do with the additional funds throughout the year that would allow you pay what you would owe; while possibly earning a return off of the additional income you received. Talking with an advisor and a tax professional may be beneficial if this is something you are interested in.
The other more seemingly obvious, practical but often overlooked consideration is that you are now earning more income, regardless of what adjustments you make to your withholdings. The question is, what should you do with it? Naturally this is going to be personal and specific to your individual goals. It could be that now you can finally start saving more money, paying off debt, planning for a major expense, or investing for your financial future. For some, it may feel like you’re just able to play catch up from when your earnings seemed to always fall short of your lifestyle. What ever you decide to do with the additional money, you need to actually DECIDE. When you don’t come up with an actual plan of how you will allocate your newfound financial resources, you’ll inevitably increase your lifestyle to match your new income. It may not even be an intentional act, but it will happen without a doubt. So coming up with a plan of what to do with the money is vital in making the most out of your career transition. Talking with an advisor to build a financial plan, could prove to be invaluable during this time.
I’m certain this is not a comprehensive list of all the things you should consider during your transition, but we feel that if you take into consideration what we have covered in this post, you will set yourself up for success from a financial perspective during this time. We know that starting a new role or entirely new career can come with a lot of challenges, so we would also like to extend the invitation to setup a quick chat with us help answer some questions you may have or to learn more about how we serve our clients through life changes like this one.