Are you planning to switch jobs soon? Here are 6 tips to help you prepare financially


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While changing jobs can be exciting — a new role is an opportunity to advance your skills, be part of a new company and potentially earn more money — as with any other major life change, you’ll want to think about how to prepare for the switch financially.

Below, Select offers some tips to follow if you need to prep your finances for an upcoming job change.

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Make sure you have an emergency fund set up

An emergency fund is essentially a lump sum of savings that’s reserved for unexpected expenses — having to pay your rent in the event of a job loss, for instance, or cover surprise medical bills.

While some folks may want to leave a job and transition straight into the next one with no downtime, if you plan on giving yourself a few weeks and take a break before working for your next employer, an emergency fund can help you pay for your necessities in the absence of your usual paycheck.

The longer your downtime is, the more you’ll need to plan for some of the more invisible costs of quitting your job, such as paying for your own health insurance or childcare if your previous employer had offered either of those as an included benefit.

If you haven’t already considered building an emergency fund, now is the time to do so. Keep it stashed in a high-yield savings account so you can earn higher amounts of interest on your balance — granted, you likely won’t earn hundreds of dollars in interest each month, but it’s still more than the pennies you’d earn by sticking with a traditional savings account.

Select ranked the Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings account as best for those looking for a no-fee option. There’s no minimum deposit needed to open the account and users can start earning interest with just a $1 minimum balance in their account.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings

Goldman Sachs Bank USA is a Member FDIC.

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

  • Minimum balance

    None to open; $1 to earn interest

  • Monthly fee

  • Maximum transactions

    Up to 6 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle *The 6/statement cycle withdrawal limit is waived during the coronavirus outbreak under Regulation D

  • Excessive transactions fee

  • Overdraft fees

  • Offer checking account?

  • Offer ATM card?

Save up for relocation expenses

If your new job requires you to move to a new city and you weren’t able to negotiate a relocation stipend that would cover all of your moving costs, it’s time to start saving. Relocating to a new city can cost thousands of dollars when you consider the fact that you’ll need to put down a deposit for your new apartment, pay the first month’s rent, and cover the cost of movers and travel to your new city.

While every little bit you save can help, if you still need help paying to relocate, consider taking out a personal loan. These can provide a source of flexible funding since they can be used for just about anything (including moving) and the interest rates are typically lower than those of credit cards. Select ranked LightStream Personal Loans as the best personal loan lender overall because of its low interest rates and flexible terms. If you need funding as soon as the next day, though, Select recommends going with Discover Personal Loans.

LightStream Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    3.99% to 19.99%* when you sign up for autopay

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, home improvement, auto financing, medical expenses, wedding and others

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Origination fee

  • Early payoff penalty

  • Late fee

Discover Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding or vacation

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Origination fee

  • Early payoff penalty

  • Late fee

See if any of your unused PTO gets paid out

Some companies have an exit policy that compensates full-time employees for any vacation days they didn’t take that year, which could provide a nice windfall of cash to pad your emergency savings fund or cover any relocation costs if you have to move to a different city for your new job.

While snagging some extra money can be exciting, make sure to create a plan for it that meshes with your financial goals. If you aren’t sure if you’ll be paid for any unused PTO time, it never hurts to double-check with your HR department just in case. In some states, such as California and Colorado, this is a requirement.

Be prepared to pay back any extra compensation

If you received a sign-on bonus or relocation bonus when you accepted your current position, double-check the fine print before you hand in your two weeks’ notice, as you may have to pay it back.

According to the popular resource website Ask A Manager, if you received advance compensation from your employer, such as a sign-on bonus, and it had a repayment agreement that mentions a specified timeframe, you essentially agreed to stay at the company for that timeframe — otherwise, you’ll have to pay that money back.

For example, let’s say you accept a job that’s giving you a relocation bonus so you can move to the city where your new employer is based. If the payback agreement states you must work there for at least one year but you try to leave before your year is up, you’ll have to pay back that bonus immediately.

These kinds of perks are usually referred to as “golden handcuffs” because while it’s nice to receive extra compensation, they often come with strings attached to encourage you to stay at your company longer. If you’re not careful, though, you can end up having to dig into your savings to repay a benefit if you choose to leave the company early. That’s not to say that you have no choice but to stay at your current company, but you should at least make sure you have the money on hand to repay what’s necessary if you have to.

Besides a sign-on bonus or relocation bonus, another form of compensation this can apply to is tuition reimbursement or assistance. Also keep in mind that while you may not have received a separate agreement to sign in cases like these, the guidelines may be outlined in your employee handbook.

If you received these types of compensation but aren’t sure if you’re subject to these types of stipulations, double-check with your benefits provider, especially if you can’t find any mention of this in your offer letter or employee handbook.

Save login information for HSA and 401(k) accounts

If you contributed money to any employer-sponsored accounts, such as a 401(k) or Health Savings Account, make sure you update your login information and keep it in a safe place before you leave. That’s because you’ll want to have access to these accounts after you leave the company so you can make rollovers and, eventually, withdrawals.

A 2021 study from Capitalize, a platform that specializes in helping people save for retirement, showed that Americans left behind a total of $1.35 trillion worth of 401(k) accounts they forgot about after they switched jobs.

Even if you accidentally leave your balance behind, you’ll need to find another way to make up for it or simply make other adjustments so you can still reach your desired retirement goals. That could mean staying in the workforce longer than you’d like to, taking on side hustles or downsizing your lifestyle expectations later on in retirement.

Adjust your budget to accommodate your new salary

If you’ve already secured your new job and accepted the salary offer, it might be a good time to start figuring out what your new level of income means in relation to your monthly expenses. For instance, if you’re switching industries and will be taking a slightly lower salary because you have less experience, you should take a look at which monthly expenses are still doable and which ones aren’t.

On the other hand, if you’re accepting a new position that pays significantly more, it’s a good idea to figure out how you can use that increase in cash flow to save up or invest more — or to finally pay for things you needed that you couldn’t previously afford. For example, maybe you had to quit your favorite hobby because you could no longer afford the supplies, or you previously avoided medical treatments that your insurance wouldn’t cover but you can afford now. Whatever your case, you’ll definitely want to plan for these kinds of instances.

Start by getting a clearer picture of what your current spending habits are like, if you haven’t done so already. Using a budgeting app such as Mint or YNAB (You Need A Budget) can help you to be more conscious of your expenses. That way, you’ll be one step closer to figuring out what your new salary can accommodate.

Mint

Information about Mint has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by Mint prior to publication.

  • Cost

  • Standout features

    Shows income, expenses, savings goals, credit score, investments, net worth

  • Categorizes your expenses

    Yes, but users can modify

  • Links to accounts

    Yes, bank and credit cards

  • Availability

    Offered in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android)

  • Security features

    Verisign scanning, multi-factor authentication and Touch ID mobile access

You Need a Budget (YNAB)

Information about You Need a Budget (YNAB) has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by YNAB prior to publication.

  • Cost

    34-day free trial then $84 per year or $11.99 per month (students who provide proof of enrollment get 12 months free)

  • Standout features

    Instead of using traditional budgeting buckets, users allocate every dollar they earn to something (known as the “zero-based budgeting system” where no dollar is unaccounted for). Every dollar is assigned a “job,” whether it’s to go toward bills, savings, investments, etc.

  • Categorizes your expenses

  • Links to accounts

    Yes, bank and credit cards

  • Availability

    Offered in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android)

  • Security features

    Encrypted data, accredited data centers, third-party audits and more

Bottom line

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.





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