Whatever money you bring in each month is what affords you the freedom and flexibility to enjoy your life, allowing you to choose your clothing, shelter and entertainment. So it stands to reason that your job—as the source of your income—is significant, to say the least, which can make the process of searching for and selecting a new job overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are the six factors to consider when deciding whether a job is right for you.
1. Base Income
Don’t be ashamed if the base income is all you really care about in your job search. It is for most people. And while it’s okay for base income to be a major factor in your job search, it shouldn’t be the only one. You need to think bigger. Beyond base income, is there opportunity to earn commission, bonuses or overtime? Base salary is really just the beginning of the monetary benefits a company can offer you.
2. Income Growth Potential
Is there room to grow in the job? Many jobs offer an annual “cost of living” salary adjustment, but others have the potential to earn substantially more as your role increases. And often the roles with the potential to earn more aren’t always the highest paying offer you get. Will accepting a lower offer now open doors for bigger and better things in the future? You should think beyond the position being offered, and consider what it could become.
3. Benefits and Retirement
Benefits are exactly that, benefits. They can sweeten or sour any job deal. You may be blinded by the glare of the glorious base income figure, but make sure you put on you take a step back to look at the benefits package. Health, dental, vision, life and disability insurance are just a few of the benefit options an organization can offer its employees. Does the job have retirement plan options? If so, does the company offer a percentage match incentive program? What about a pension or defined benefit plan? Make sure you have researched the differences in retirement plans before you accept an offer. Lastly, there are equity options. Does the employer offer stock options? Understanding the benefits play a large part in the overall suitability of a job.
4. Professional Development
Job satisfaction is a mystical creature. You can get your dream job and be bored months later. Why? Most often job boredom is due to lack of professional development. An employer who truly values their employees will work to develop their talent. They will want to push their employees into new, exciting and challenging scenarios in order to increase their pleasure in their work. Not all employers do this. In fact, few do, but when you find the job that promises professional development, you’ll know it’s a catch.
Again, earning income is the point of having a job. But what your job shouldn’t do is cause an increase in other costs. How far away from your home would the new job be? Are you willing to move? Are you okay with a long commute? Can you afford the impact on your transportation budget? It’s unrealistic to assume every job will be within a few minutes’ travel of your home, but factoring in the distance between home and work will help put base income into perspective. A higher paying job further away may not be all that much more money when you factor in the cost of gas or other commuter costs.
6. Time Commitment
Budgeting isn’t just for dollar bills—it’s for time as well. Commuting is just one time factor to consider. You should also consider time spent in the office, time spent traveling for work and the flexibility of your employer. If you have children, an employer who is willing to give you a break on a day when you have a sick kid at home is invaluable. And while you may be compensated well for work trips, what is the cost of being away from home several days a month? This factor is especially important to discuss with a spouse or partner.
Peter Dunn, aka Pete the Planner, is an award-winning financial mind who has authored five books, hosts the popular Pete the Planner radio show and travels around the country offering financial education. His signature wit will have you laughing as you learn. For more from Peter, visit www.petetheplanner.com.