Many times, job changes are the employee's choice. But often they're due to factors beyond a person's control, like corporate mergers or downsizing. Ideally, a job change is quick and produces a higher income and more satisfying work. Sometimes, though, a prolonged transition can jeopardize a good credit rating and create other financial stress. So whether you're between jobs now, at a new job or considering a change, here are tips and advice to help keep your financial goals intact:
Stretch your paycheck further. A budget actually helps stretch your paycheck further, and you're more likely to:
- Spend within your limit.
- Avoid expensive overdrafts.
- Avoid running up significant credit card debt. Too much debt means much of your money goes toward interest payments, leaving you with even less to spend.
- Have money left over to save or invest.
Use our helpful calculator and take the first step toward creating a monthly budget.
Simplify payday. It automatically deposits your paycheck or Social Security check into your account, so you'll avoid running to the bank or an ATM to deposit your checks and eliminate the need to worry about whether or not you have the funds to cover a check. To activate direct deposit, see your employer or sign up for U.S. Bank Direct Deposit.
Avoid tax problems. No one likes a large tax bill surprise on April 15th, so it's important to establish the right tax-withholding amount with your employer. If you have too little taken out, you'll have to pay the difference at the end of the year. Have too much withheld and you'll get a large refund but a smaller than necessary paycheck throughout the year. Visit the IRS withholding calculator to help determine the right amount of withholding for you.
Maximize bonuses and pay raises. With so many tempting things to buy and do, how can you resist spending a year-end bonus or pay raise? Here are some ideas:
- Start an investment account. Certificates of deposit1 or mutual funds are common places to start.
- Establish an emergency fund. Think of a bonus or pay raise as an opportunity to prepare for less prosperous times.
- Pay off credit card debt. Reducing debt can clear the way for bigger-ticket purchases like a house or new car.
- Put it into your home. After all, it may be your best investment.
Make the most of stock options. According to the National Center for Employee Ownership, up to 10 million employees receive stock options. If you're one of them, a U.S. Bancorp Investments Financial Advisor2 can help you understand your options for this potentially valuable form of compensation.
Prepare for the Next Job Change
Job loss, along with high debt and inadequate personal savings, is the leading cause of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. according to the Federal Reserve. Consider these tips to help protect your credit rating and minimize other financial risks of changing jobs:
Build a rainy day fund. It's recommended that most working Americans maintain a rainy day fund equal to three to six months of living expenses. It can help pay for bills during a job transition or pay for unexpected bills (a new furnace or set of tires, for example). And it's easier with U.S. Bank AutoTransfer. For example, choose the amount and frequency (i.e., $50 a month), and then every month, $50 is automatically transferred from your checking account1 to your savings account.1
Borrow wisely. U.S. Bank generally recommends that no more than 35% of your income should go to debt maintenance - mortgage or rent, credit cards, car loans and other loan obligations. This should leave enough money to pay for everyday expenses like food, clothing and entertainment. If your debt-to-income ratio is near this percentage or higher, consider these debt-reduction strategies:
- Pay down debt, starting with the highest-interest credit cards or loans
- Consolidate your debt with a low-interest loan or line of credit 3
Visit a U.S. Bank branch or contact a U.S. Bank Personal Banker about borrowing strategies that fit your individual needs.
Be smart with retirement money. If you want to enjoy retirement, you need to play it smart. Here are a few guidelines:
- If your employer offers a retirement plan, try to contribute as much as you can. Check with your plan provider for more information. If your employer does not offer a retirement plan, you can obtain many of the same benefits by opening a personal retirement plan2 through U.S. Bancorp Investments.
- Use a job change to review your retirement plan options. If you have a 401(k)4, 403(b) or other qualified retirement program at work, the money you've contributed is yours to take with you when you go. To learn more, about personal retirement plans, contact a U.S. Bancorp Investments Financial Advisor.
For more helpful information, tools and calculators to help you with all your financial management needs, visit our Resources page today.