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First Job

Congratulations! Landing that first “real” job is a major milestone, and you’re rightfully proud of what you’ve achieved. At, we celebrate your good fortune, and we want to help you stay on track to a sound financial future. So here are some ideas for keeping your best foot forward.

Take control of your hard-earned money by creating a budget. That first payslip may be a shock when you see the bite that taxes, Social Security, and insurance will take. Base your budget on your net pay because that’s what’s yours. Our Budget Calculator can help you plan how to allocate your paycheck.

Your new employer may offer a menu of benefits, and you’ll have to choose which are best for you. Health insurance options can be confusing, so make sure you ask questions before you commit. The Human Resources Department should provide information so you can make a wise choice. You’ll want to be sure you understand how much money each option will cost you because few employers pay the entire insurance costs. And remember, most insurance plans have an open enrollment period each year, so there will be an opportunity to select another plan if your first choice isn’t the best fit.

Take advantage of any retirement savings account your employer offers. Thinking about retirement when you’re just starting out may seem tough, but it’s the smart thing to do. The earlier you start saving for retirement, the better. At the very least, contribute the minimum so that you will qualify for any dollars the company will match. The employer match is free money, and even a small amount can build into a hefty sum over time. Use our 401(k) Savings Calculator to see what starting now will mean to your future.

Take advantage of your employer’s education benefits. Will your boss pay for specialized training? One of the best ways to get ahead is to take courses that will broaden your skills. The more skills you have, the more valuable you are to your boss and in the marketplace. And you’ll be rewarded with greater opportunities, which will lead to better pay.

This is also a good time to consider life insurance because the cost of a policy will typically be much less when you are younger. And as your life grows and your needs change, you will be able to convert your policy to keep up with your life and your career.

Products for this Life Stage:*

Create a safety net.

Learn how term life insurance provides smart, limited time protection.

Get started simply.

Investing in mutual funds is a fast, easy way to begin building your nest egg.

More Career Ideas:

Look ahead.

Granted, retirement is a long way off. But simple steps now can lead to wealth and security later.

Learn more.

Get a better sense for the myths and realities of Social Security in the Key Benefit Ages and A Solid Financial Start sections of this site.

Jump start your retirement savings.

IRAs offer tax-deferred growth, and contributions may be tax-deductible if you qualify.

Western & Southern Life does not provide tax or legal advice. Please contact your tax or legal advisor regarding your situation.

*Products suggested for this Life Stage are not a specific recommendation or solicitation to purchase. Mutual funds are offered through an affiliate of Western & Southern Life.


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Last Updated: 12/14/2017