Financial Checklist for a Smooth Start at Your New Job

Starting a new job can often be a mixture of exhilaration, uncertainty, anxiety, and lots and lots of paperwork. Along with learning your new role, understanding the office culture, and remembering a dozen new names, it’s important not to forget the financial consequences of starting a new job.  

TFA’s financial checklist should help you start your new position on the right foot. 

Making smart financial decisions during a job change involves leaving your previous company behind and transitioning to a new company. For example, moving your 401k assets to an IRA. Or making sure you have health coverage between jobs and during the start-up cycle of the new job. 

You must also make several far-reaching financial decisions that impact your use of the benefits at the new job. This can involve utilizing benefits from the job you are leaving and opting into the benefits offered by your new employer. For example, selecting the appropriate tax withholding percentage and formulating a new personal budget at home. These steps help position you to ensure your new role is financially rewarding and there are no surprises. 

At Triad Financial Advisors (TFA), we’ve helped many successful individuals with job transition planning.  We have named a large component of our process: “Financial LIFE Planning.” 

Financial LIFE planning is an approach that places you and your unique life aspirations at the heart of a personalized financial strategy, as opposed to traditional financial planning, which tends to focus more on the financial mechanisms themselves. By prioritizing your deeply valued life goals, even complicated financial decisions can be simplified, making complex financial plans more transparent and realistic.

At TFA, we believe you should “Live With Intention.” Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And in this case, your first step is creating a comprehensive financial checklist as you start a new chapter in your working years. 

Financial Checklist for Starting a New Job

The more a company wants your knowledge and time, the easier it will be to negotiate some of these benefits and coverages. Following are 10 financial-related items that you should consider before starting your new job. You negotiate before you accept the new job. 

This should not be considered a complete list if you have unique skills or a higher role. There can be other benefits that should be considered.

  1. Salary: Confirm your salary package. Ensure it aligns with your market value and your financial needs. Consider the cost of living if the job involves relocating to another city. You may need to consider the cost of commuting in a new city based on the proximity of locations and your preferred method of transportation.
  1. Payment Schedule: Understand when and how often you will be paid. This will help you plan your monthly expenses and manage your cash flow more effectively.
  1. Benefits Package: Look into the details of the benefits package. This can include health insurance, dental and vision care, life insurance, disability insurance, etc. Any unique risk or expense should be factored into the benefits package. 
  1. Retirement Plan: Find out if the company offers a retirement plan such as a 401(k) and if they provide a match. If so, understand how much they match and the vesting schedule.
  1. Stock Options/Equity: If the company offers stock options or another type of equity opportunity, understand how they work when they vest, what restrictions they might have, and what they are currently worth.
  1. Relocation Assistance: If the job requires relocation, check if the company provides any financial assistance for moving expenses. There can be several hidden expenses, so ensure you understand everything and who is responsible for covering the cost.
  1. Bonuses and Other Types of Incentive Compensation: Learn about the company’s policy on cash bonuses, stock options, performance incentives, and other alternative forms of compensation. Understand the criteria to qualify for them, their vesting schedules, and how to fund the expense.
  1. Expense Reimbursement: If your job involves travel or other expenses, clarify the company’s reimbursement policy. A company credit card is always a nice touch. More lag time for reimbursement may be needed.
  1. Professional Development and Education: Some companies offer financial assistance for further education or professional development. Check to see if this is available and what the qualifications are. 
  1. Tax Implications: Understand the tax implications of your salary and benefits package. Ensure you have a tax planning strategy if your income and other employee benefits increase substantially.  Consider working with an experienced financial advisor to protect your hard-earned salary and benefits. This is a much bigger issue if a new job requires relocation to a new state with a different tax code.

About TFA: We’d like to introduce you to our experienced team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, each contributing significantly to your overall client experience. Our collaborative approach to designing short, intermediate, and long-term financial and retirement plans is crucial to your financial prosperity. After all, you wouldn’t leave home on a cross-country trip without a map. Let us help you map your financial future into your retirement years, which may last 30 years or more. Connect with us today.

eBook: What Can Intentional Investing Do For Me?

More about the author: John Marske

JOHN MARSKE, CFP® is a Lead Advisor at TFA. He spearheads client relationships by helping people envision and act on their retirement goals.

We’re here to help you Live With Intention.

Worried about retiring? Do you feel personally and financially ready to retire? If the answer is not a solid, Yes, then it’s time to reach out for help in setting yourself up for success.

Contact Us