I have people come to me often with a very good dilemma! They have multiple offers including one from their current employer as a counter. They are often stumped on what to do. On paper, the base + bonus looks good.
The number 1 question I ask them is what their take-home pay will be. If they can't afford to live on the money they are making, they aren't going to be happy and stay long. So what's the point in contemplating an offer that doesn't pay your bills or let you afford to live.
They almost never know this number for all of these offers. So how do you figure out what your take-home pay will be?
I always recommend going to https://www.paycheckcity.com/calculator/(no affiliation) and inputting their base salary in there.
• Say your base salary is 50,000 per year, you input that number in the gross pay section.
• Ensure that you select your state in the section above to ensure you are accurately calculating for your situation.
• Then in the pay frequency, you’ll select the right frequency for you. Is it bi-weekly? Semi-monthly? Do you know? If you don’t know call the recruiter/HR person to find out. Also, get the pay schedule
• Below that is your federal, state, and local tax information. Input the information to the accuracy you can and know.
• Next comes the voluntary deduction section.
The second question is do you know what the benefits cost for your individual situation? If not, call the Recruiter/HR person to ask for this information. If they can’t send you the benefits guide ask them what the cost PER PAYCHECK is for your situation, i.e., employee only, employee plus spouse, employee plus children, or employee plus family.
You’ll take this information(cost per paycheck of your medical, dental, vision, short-term disability, long-term disability, accident insurance, term life insurance) and add it all up. Yep, you read that right, when you have the cost per paycheck for your individual situation you are going to take all of the numbers for benefits with the exception of your 401k and input that in the third line that says, “Deduction amount” Above this field you’ll see Deduction type and you want to select “fixed amount” from the drop-down menu.
PS: you don’t need to input a deduction name, but I always enter the following: elective benefit cost. You don’t need to worry about the year-to-date information.
Next, you’ll check the boxes that say Exempt from federal, FICA, state, and local. Unless you are paying for benefits that are tax-deductible or post-tax, you’ll check these boxes. Rarely if ever will you check these boxes.
After that, you’ll click “Add deduction” and enter your 401k information. Are you setting aside a specific amount? Is it’s a pre-tax percentage? Is it post-tax? Post-tax is easy, and you can calculate that by subtracting the fixed amount or percentage on the net pay you’ll get on the next page.
Once you are done entering all the information for your situation, you’ll click “calculate”. This will give you a net pay number. You’ll take this net pay number and multiple it by the frequency you get paid every month. And now you have your take-home pay. You’ll write this down, either on an excel spreadsheet where you have your pro/con list or on a piece of paper. The mode doesn’t matter.
You now do this for every single offer you have, including your current job that made a counteroffer. Please make sure to write down the monthly net-pay information for all your offers. You’ll then compare those monthly numbers to your current bills that you pay every month and figure out which offer is monetarily best for you.
In the next article, we will talk about deliberating non-monetary things in an offer.