Author Topic: First Job  (Read 4824 times)

sebrads

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First Job
« on: August 27, 2013, 09:38:02 AM »
I'm a recent college grad and just got my first full-time job as a salaried employee making $25,000/year (before taxes).  The benefit is that unlike a lot of my peers, I'm actually working in my field.  The disadvantage, I could actually make more money if I went to work at the Ben & Jerry's down the road.  I've been considering getting a second job on the weekends only (as I work a minimum of 9-6, but often 8:30-8 at my current job) but want to know if it is worth it. 

My current salary breaks down as follows: about $1595/month after taxes.  I contribute $100/month to a 403B account, and $35/month for public transit pass (my company picks up the other half of this transportation cost but does not match the 403B contribution).  Rent is $900/month, I spend about $80 in groceries, $30 on utilities (heat and hot water are included in rent, so this is a high month of electric), and $30 on internet.  I would like to continue to take dance classes, a rather ivy-league childhood activity by mustachian standards that started when I was 3, but I've grown to love, and this costs me $150 for 10 classes, which is 5 weeks at twice a week, or what I like to stretch to two months by going to class three times every two weeks (so $75/month).  This leaves me with $345/month.  I figure I need some incidental money, but don't spend more than $5-10 a week (max).  Most weeks I don't actually spend any money outside of the pre-determined expenses listed above.  But say $20/month just to be safe.  This leaves $325/month for savings.  Right now, I've just been putting this into my general savings account, with a low, but not bad, interest rate.  There's probably a better place for investing, but I have little to no savings at the moment and thought it would be better to build something in the bank before taking on investments with a higher risk association.  I'd like to be able to put away more money for future goals (I'm looking to go to grad school in a few years, and would like to do some traveling before then) but would also like to save for future early retirement. I've consistently held a seasonal employment throughout my undergrad and have some decent experience with it so was thinking the same for the coming holiday season, and possibly just looking for a second job in general.  Ideally, all income from the second job would be saved. Is the second job worth it, to save more money for the future, even though it means I will be drastically reducing the amount of free time I have now?

nawhite

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Re: First Job
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2013, 09:44:04 AM »
What is your field? What are the advancement opportunities and the timescale to achieve them? If spending more time at your current job allows you advance faster, it may be worth it to just double down on your current position until you get an upgrade.

sebrads

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Re: First Job
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2013, 09:56:10 AM »
I'm currently working as a research assistant in the neurosciences. The woman that I replaced just left to get her master's in public health, and I expect to go to grad school in two years as well (something my boss knew when hiring me).  I can't advance much without another degree. I've been thinking about asking for a raise, but aren't sure what the appropriate timeline/etiquette for that is. I've only been working full time for four months (started part time in March as I was finishing classes, full time in May).   

Cromacster

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Re: First Job
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2013, 10:17:04 AM »
The one thing that stands out to me....Rent:900.

Thats 56% of your take home pay.  Is there anything you can do to lower this?  You don't say where you live or what your living situation is, but that is really high.  Is there something you could do to lower this?  Move to a cheaper place, get a roommate etc...?  Lower this by 30-40% would be one way to greatly impact your ability to save.

I'm not familiar with the field but, 25,000 seems low for a research assistant with a degree.  Is this at a University?  Are you settling just because they offered you a position?  Are you continuing to look for positions where you can use your degree?

Also, if you are thinking of asking for a raise, go into the conversation prepared.  At least cover your basics by knowing what other people in your field with your experience are making.

sebrads

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Re: First Job
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2013, 10:40:03 AM »
I live in Boston, and being a metropolitan area the rent is pretty high (I come from NH where I had an apartment twice the size for a 1/3 of the rent). I actually do have a roommate, and the $900 is just my portion of the rent.  My parents have offered to help out, but I really want to slug it out on my own. In order to decrease my rent, I would have to increase my commute (by about triple--I currently commute between 15-20 minutes to work, one-way, and moving to a cheaper area would mean my one-way commute would be easily an hour) and move to a less-safe area of the city, with the hopes of decreasing my rent only by a maximum of $200 (when looking for an apartment, I did look at all of these possibilities, and the lowest rent I could find, without living with five other people, was about $700/per person). I've currently got a year lease on my current apartment, so I'm stuck there for now, but have been thinking of this trade-off with the rent as well. I'm hesitant to move in order to decrease my rent predominantly because of the safety issue, but I also hate commuting (I did a four hour round-trip commute from NH when I first started my job and it was awful, not to mention the aftermath of reading MMM's article on the true cost of commuting). Is two hours a day, or forty hours a month, worth $200 saved in rent?

As for my 25K, it is pretty low for my position.  I've done some research already, trying to prepare for the raise conversation with my boss, and it looks like most people in my field are making at least 30, with the average being closer to 35.  I actually work at an institution affiliated with Harvard, which means I have the potential to take classes at a reduced rate through their association program, which would open doors for grad school.  That's the primary reason I chose this job, for the connections. 
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 10:55:42 AM by sebrads »

jrhampt

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Re: First Job
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2013, 10:44:41 AM »
As for my 25K, it is pretty low for my position.  I've done some research already, trying to prepare for the raise conversation with my boss, and it looks like most people in my field are making at least 30, with the average being closer to 35.  I actually work at an institution affiliated with Harvard, which means I have the potential to take classes at a reduced rate through their association program, which would open doors for grad school.  That's the primary reason I chose this job, is for the connections.

That's a pretty sweet benefit!  Are you going to start taking classes part-time now?  If so, I would not get a second job.  In fact, I would take full advantage of this benefit as long as you have it; since you already know grad school is in your future, instead of the second job I would recommend starting on those classes.

sebrads

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Re: First Job
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2013, 10:57:30 AM »
It is! I already have a few grad classes under my belt, and am just trying to figure out how to fit more classes in with my work schedule.  I'm thinking about starting a course over J-Term, but need to figure out when I'll be traveling for work to see if this possibility will pan out.

Cromacster

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Re: First Job
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2013, 11:01:02 AM »
I actually work at an institution affiliated with Harvard, which means I have the potential to take classes at a reduced rate through their association program, which would open doors for grad school.

I was wondering if that was the case.  Good stuff, take advantage of it.

With that in mind and that being your goal, it essentially comes down to biding your time.  Put in the work now, save what you can, keep student debt to a minimum.  Earn your next degree.  Then build your stash :)

If your current schedule/schooling allows having another job would be a way to save more money now, if you were so inclined.

galliver

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Re: First Job
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2013, 11:42:08 AM »
In my department, typical "50% time" (ie supposedly 20hr/week) RA or TA stipends are about 25k before taxes. And we're in a very low COL area in a cornfield. Admittedly, I'm in engineering, but science should not be far behind on compensation. I think you should go to grad school as soon as you can; if you're living on this kind of paycheck, you might as well be getting your education as well.  For free. If you are capable of doing the grad degree with them, they should be willing to pay for you for the honor of having you. ;)

Left

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Re: First Job
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2013, 12:43:05 PM »
Try to work your way into the grad program where you are working in the lab part time, so you get stipend for that as well as switching to a grad student position