If you’re searching for a new job, chances are you’ve spent a lot of time on the front-end preparation. You’ve polished your résumé, researched job postings, applied and applied, attended networking events, and practiced your interviewing skills. You’re weary of the hunt and would love to just settle in to a new position.
So, when a job offer comes you’re way, you’re likely eager to snap it up, especially if the salary is in your target range.
Wait! Salaries are not always what they seem.
Even though a job offer may look enticing at first glance, there are plenty of considerations to make beyond the simple annual salary. As a financial planner, it is my job to look beyond surface-level financial impressions and dive into the details. No matter if you’re considering making a large purchase or investing in a new portfolio, it’s the nuances that can make a world of difference.
In the case of a new job, here are five things to consider beyond salary:
1. Job Location
How far is your potential new job from your home? Will your commute increase significantly? If so, will that affect your mental and emotional wellbeing? Will it cause increased wear and tear on your vehicle?
When thinking about the workplace’s location, be sure to also assess the surrounding area. Is it safe? Is it swanky (so much so that you shudder at the cost of a lunch out)?
2. Financial Benefits
Many workplaces offer retirement plans in which they will match your contributions up to a certain dollar amount. While many businesses provide 401(k) plans, some still opt for pension programs. Assess these plans carefully! How much control do you have over your retirement plan? How nimble is the plan? Are you able to customize the plan to fit your immediate needs? Are you easily able to make adjustments in the future? You may need to enlist the help of a financial advisor to really dig in and understand your company's offerings.
Another financial benefit that is often overlooked is paid time off (PTO). How many days each year does your potential employer allot? If you’re about to become a parent, do they offer maternity or paternity leave? If you have chronic health issues, is your PTO sufficient to cover the days you’ll inevitably miss?
If you’re applying for jobs in another region, your list of considerations grows significantly. First of all, do your research and find out what the average cost of living is in the area. If it is higher than where you’re living now, your salary should reflect that increase in cost. $45,000 per year looks a lot different if you’re living in NYC than if you’re living in Tulsa!
On the same token, take a look at the housing market in your desired area. Will you need to maintain a higher annual salary to pay for a home? Will you have to downsize? If you so, how might that affect your emotional wellbeing or relationship with your spouse?
If you’re relocating, you’ll also want to ask your potential employer whether or not they cover moving expenses. It can be pricey to move across the country, especially if you need to hire a moving truck (or several!). Not to mention, you may have to temporarily camp out in a hotel as you wait to settle in to your new home.
You’re probably already well aware of the importance of a thorough health plan with comprehensive coverage. However, have you considered other potential health benefits that might be offered through an employer? Some businesses create wellness programs which encourage healthy eating and fitness among employees. They might even provide an employee juice or smoothie bar, an in-house gym, or friendly fitness challenges. It’s a great idea to seek out companies who care about and invest in their employees’ health. This is a clear indication of the company’s values.
PTO may also fit into this area. Health-minded businesses realize that their employees need time off every once in a while in order to recoup and rejuvenate.
5. Company Culture
It’s hard to pinpoint what a company’s work culture is like until you’re immersed in it. However, there are a few ways to dig up some information about workplace culture. The website GlassDoor is meant for employees to leave reviews about their company. Read through the reviews to get a sense of how satisfied (or dissatisfied!) people are in their jobs.
You can also try paying the company a visit or two in order to gauge employee engagement. Are people communicating with one another? Do they keep their doors open or closed? Do they seem bored and standoffish? Do they greet you when you walk by? Although it’s tough to figure out company culture from the outside, you can often trust your gut on this one. Even your interviewer will give you some kind of hint into company culture! Pay attention to verbal and nonverbal clues and, ultimately, trust your instincts.
It’s great to get a healthy salary offer, but it’s not the be-all, end-all. There are numerous considerations to make when you’re thinking about accepting a job offer. Some, of course, are financial, but others have to do with your health, happiness, and general wellbeing. What factors do you consider when you’re on the job hunt?
If you'd like to discuss this subject (or other financial considerations that are tied to your job) in more depth, I'm here to talk.