Starting Your First Job

When you’re looking for a job, there’s a lot more to consider than just your starting wage. It’s important to keep other things in mind as well, such as cultural fit, shared values with your employer, whether or not your employer will support your professional growth, employee benefits, etc. And once you find a job, it’s important that you’re responsible with your income and balancing your month-to-month expenses while saving for your future.

young female interviewee shaking hands with hiring manager

Checklist – Preparing to Enter the Workforce Financially

  • If you left school with debt, consider contacting BALANCE™ to speak to a Student Loan Counselor. The counselors can conduct a comprehensive review of your federal loans, evaluate repayment and postponement options, determine if student loan consolidation is a good option, etc. As a benefit of your Delta Community membership, this service is free to you.
  • Consider employee benefits beyond your salary when evaluating offers: health insurance, employer-paid and voluntary life insurance, professional development, tuition reimbursement or student loan repayment, retirement plan, commute expenses or the option to work from home, vacation time and other paid time off, location flexibility, work hours and days of the week.
  • Establish a professional development plan for yourself that incorporates your financial and professional goals. Continual skill and knowledge development will be needed for advancement opportunities, and a well-thought-out plan can help you stay on track.

Checklist – Making the Most of Your Salary and Employee Benefits

  • As a new employee, there may be many things to learn, but don’t underestimate how important it is to select the best employee benefits options you can. Take time to understand the value of your employee benefits and what changes might be needed:
    • During your first open enrollment, you can opt into life and disability benefits without passing any exams or meeting health qualifications. These insurance coverages can be difficult or impossible to obtain later if your health changes, so don’t miss your chance to get the coverage you need now.
    • The most expensive health insurance plan doesn’t always provide the greatest benefit. Be careful to consider the premium, deductible, and out-of-pocket maximum before making your selection. Also educate yourself on your prescription drug benefits, mail delivery options, and whether or not the costs of prescriptions are included in your out-of-pocket maximum.
    • An employer retirement plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b) can be a great opportunity to start investing, especially if your employer offers any sort of matching program. The basic concept is that you are able to systematically set aside a portion of your pay to be invested automatically. This is one of the best ways to begin building wealth.
  • Set up a Traditional or Roth IRA if your employer does not offer retirement savings options. Also, consider establishing a Roth IRA to hold your emergency fund dollars. You can access your contributions at any time without penalty or taxation.
  • Establish a monthly budget based on your take-home pay. Here’s a suggestion to manage your budget, aim to spend less than you earn. A common guide is to try to save 20% of your gross pay. This can include savings accounts such as a Money Market Account or Certificate of Deposit (CD) or investments such as an employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement plan.

How We Can Help

Starting your first job is an exciting time as you focus on learning and progressing in your career. Just as you might get advice on succeeding in your career goals, getting advice on setting and meeting your financial goals should also be a priority.

If you’d like help setting up some of the savings tools mentioned above, contact our Deposit Services team at 404-677-4659, Option 1 or visit any Delta Community branch. Delta Community Credit Union also provides access to CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals through Delta Community Retirement & Investment Services. They will listen to understand what is important early in your career and help develop a plan to maximize your resources. To learn more, email or call 404-677-4890.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Center for Financial Planning, Inc. owns and licenses the certification marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in the United States to Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., which authorizes individuals who successfully complete the organization’s initial and ongoing certification requirements to use the certification marks.

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