Great Advice for Grads 2023

You Got a Better Job. Now, How Do You Handle the Benefits? BY ALANA BENSON

You sat through the interviews, you picked the perfect “worst quality” to highlight, and you psyched yourself up enough to ask for what you deserve. Congratulations, you got the job! But now what? In the 12 months leading up to April 2022, 21% of Americans changed jobs, according to audit firm Grant Thornton’s survey “State of Work in America.” If you were among them, your new gig may come with new perks that it will pay to learn about. For people who are receiving new forms of company benefits, here are some common ones you may run into, and how you should prioritize them. 401(k)S: GETTING THE FULL MATCH “The place that I recommend starting would be to take advantage of any free money that you can,” says Frank McLaughlin, a certified financial planner and wealth advisor at Merriman Wealth Management in Seattle. “And usually that would mean looking at the company match, or the 401(k) match if you have one. A lot of people don’t realize that if you aren’t contributing enough to get the full match, the rest of that money just disappears and it’s off the table.” A match can mean different things depending on your employer, but often it means your employer will match the amount of money you contribute up to a certain percentage of your income. For example, if your plan offers a 4% match and you make $100,000 annually, as long as you put in 4% (which would be $4,000), your employer will kick in $4,000 as well. That means you get $8,000 total but pay only half that. Gaining free money through an employer match isn’t the only way to benefit from a 401(k). The more you contribute, the more you reduce your taxable income, which could potentially reduce how much you owe at the end of the year. And for tax year 2023, you can contribute up to $22,500. If you’re 50 or older, you can contribute up to $30,000.



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