Author Topic: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?  (Read 20166 times)

cranilation

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What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« on: March 05, 2015, 04:13:26 PM »
I've been offered an entry-level position at an international corporation in human resources.  I am wondering if this 401k is standard.

Salary is $55,000 with possibility for 10% bonus based on company performance.

401(k) is:

6% pre-tax contribution, with annual automatic increase of 2% each year

50% match for first 6%

What would a reasonable request be?  Would a request for 100% match be reasonable?

Thanks!

Gen Y Finance Journey

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2015, 04:17:35 PM »
As far as I know, you can't negotiate on 401(k) match, everyone in the company gets the same deal there.

But a 50% match up to 6% of contributions (essentially a 3% match) is completely standard.

401(k) is:

6% pre-tax contribution, with annual automatic increase of 2% each year

Do you mean that they automatically enroll you at 6% and increase it by 2% every year? That's awesome, but I'm sure you'll hear a lot of your coworkers complain about the company tricking them into taking money out of their paychecks ;)

IndyPendent

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2015, 04:25:27 PM »
As far as I know, you can't negotiate on 401(k) match, everyone in the company gets the same deal there.

This is my experience as well--virtually everything is negotiable except company match.

That being said, if you're really entry level you have virtually no negotiation leverage unless you have competing offers that equal it, or you bluff.

When I was an entry level guy I had competing offers from Fortune 500 companies, and they still wouldn't budge on their offers.  Frankly, I just wasn't that valuable to them. YMMV.

RichWard

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2015, 04:37:51 PM »
Most (all?) 401(k) plans have a plan document that must be followed. Typically, the plan will depict the match % and is not changed unless the plan document is amended to change it. I have never seen a plan where the basic match is based on experience (except for the initial eligibility period). You should be able to obtain the plan document prior to being hired if you ask.

However, you could have a vesting schedule that is based on years worked at the company.

A common vesting schedule is the 5 year vesting schedule:

Year 1: 20% vested (example, the employer contributes $1,000. You are vested in $200. If you leave the company you forfeit the remaining $800)
Year 2: 40% vested
Year 3: 60% vested
Year 4: 80% vested
>Year 5: 100% vested

A reminder, the vesting schedule would be only for the employer match. You are always 100% vested in any employee contributions.

There is also a Safe Harbor 401(k) where eligible employees are immediately vested in the contributions (there are some rules to go along with it).

Overall, I agree with the above posts that you can't negotiate it.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 04:40:44 PM by RichWard »

aschmidt2930

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2015, 05:21:36 PM »
As others have pointed out, I don't believe 401k match is negotiable.  Unless you can negotiate the entire company to a raise ;)

Depending where you live, that's a pretty solid offer for an entry level human resources job.  If you're in a medium to low cost of living area that's a home run actually.

MDM

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2015, 05:58:06 PM »
Salary is $55,000 with possibility for 10% bonus based on company performance.
401(k) is:
6% pre-tax contribution, with annual automatic increase of 2% each year
What would a reasonable request be?  Would a request for 100% match be reasonable?
6% of $55K is only $3300.  You could ask if you are allowed to contribute the IRS maximum of $18K.

That won't change the match, and as others have said that's a company-wide policy so you won't get any individual treatment there, but you can certainly check to ensure there aren't any rules preventing you from saving the full $18K.

Davids

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2015, 06:54:00 PM »
The 401K plan is standard, you cannot negotiate the company match. The 6% pre tax contribution to start is probably their automatic enrollment set up but you should be able to adjust the percentages of your contribution.

MrMoogle

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2015, 07:17:17 PM »
401(k) is:
6% pre-tax contribution, with annual automatic increase of 2% each year
50% match for first 6%

The way this is worded is a little ambiguous.  Companies can do automatic contributions, on their behalf, or they can automatically enroll you.  It sounds like they're enrolling you based on the increase of 2%/year.  You do want to be able to adjust this on your own, so you should get them to clarify that.  More is better, $18k is the max for 2015 :)

50% on the first 6% is standard, but it's low where I live.  I live in a low COL, so lower salaries, so maybe a higher match is how they "fix" that. 

You can't negotiate it, but you certainly should consider it when comparing different companies.  And use it as a negotiating tool.  "Since your 401k match is so low, I will need to compensate by putting a higher percentage of my paycheck into my 401k, so this really comes out as a lower take home compared to company XYZ."

zurich78

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2015, 06:59:11 AM »
IMO, having a basic 401K plan with no matching is standard.

To get any matching at all puts it above average.

RexualChocolate

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2015, 07:04:04 AM »
Yea the 401k plan is usually prescribed in a bunch of paperwork and disclosures, they aren't going to change it for one person.

At the entry level, I would not negotiate. $55k a year for HR is roughly market rate for corporate jobs. Your income should jump a ton 2 years and then 4+ years experience, those are the times to look at different jobs if your company is offering single digit raises each year.

cranilation

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2015, 09:14:47 AM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Here's what I plan to say to the HR rep:

Hi (HR REP).  I'm very excited for the offer and can't wait to join the team!  I do have a few requests that I'd like you to consider, if that's possible.

The most important thing for me right now is maximizing my 401(k) contribution.  I understand that company match is typically determined for the entire company.  I wonder if it would be possible to increase my pre-tax contribution from 6% to 10% or greater.

In keeping with this greater pre-tax contribution, I would also like to request an increase in my base from $55 to $60 - this additional income would go straight into my retirement savings.

My final request, and I don't know if this would be possible, would be to receive the $1000 relocation expense benefit even though I am not relocating to Grand Rapids.  This money would go towards optimizing my car's MPG and bringing my wardrobe up-to-date to reflect (COMPANY)'s business casual dress code.

Thank you very much,

(ME)

RexualChocolate

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2015, 09:22:54 AM »
No one cares where your additional salary is going. Do NOT tell people what you're spending the money on.

If you don't have a counter, you have zero leverage. They're a terrible HR department if they give you anything.

You ignored pretty much everyone's advice. I'd literally yank your offer if I got that email.

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2015, 09:32:37 AM »
Don't send that the HR rep.

"I'm very excited for the offer and can't wait to join the team!"- well, there goes your leverage.   

If you plan a counter, be prepared that they may just rescind the offer.  They may also just say no, and you can take the original offer, but it might be removed entirely.

Second- they don't care what you are going to do with the money- rather give them a reason to GIVE you that money (the other job offer I have has much lower insurance premiums, so I'd like a higher base salary here to make up the difference.)

Third- get rid of this "and I don't know if this would be possible".  If it isn't possible, they'll tell you. Don't give them an out right away.  If I heard that, whether it is possible or not, I'd say no- because you are clearly willing to hear it.  (And specifying clothes is TERRIBLE.  Relocation expenses, okay- since you don't have those, I have no idea how you justify this request.  Optimizing your cars MPG? WTF???? If I saw that, it would get passed around the office to be laughed at.)

Last- "I wonder if it would be possible to increase my pre-tax contribution from 6% to 10% or greater." I think this is fine.  It's a standard "how do benefits work" question.


« Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 09:48:38 AM by iowajes »

netskyblue

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2015, 09:36:57 AM »
This would give me the WTF?!?!?s:
Quote
My final request, and I don't know if this would be possible, would be to receive the $1000 relocation expense benefit even though I am not relocating to Grand Rapids.  This money would go towards optimizing my car's MPG and bringing my wardrobe up-to-date to reflect (COMPANY)'s business casual dress code.

I guess I don't see a problem with trying to get 60k if you can (probably not likely if you don't have a current job or competing offer), but it's none of their business where the money is going towards.

AFTER you get hired and are enrolled in the 401k, just call up HR and tell them you want to set your contribution to X.  (I can even do this online through Fidelity's website at my job).  No explanation necessary.

RichWard

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2015, 09:38:58 AM »
Do not send that email.

If you are going to ask for more money,  you better have a backup plan.

Remember,  if you counter their offer, it is no longer available for you to accept if they walk away from their offer (ie your counter rejects their offer).

Your hiring manager does not care that you will spend your 5k increase in salary.  All they know is it's 5K out of their pocket.

Lastly, your email is written from a point of weakness (can you please give me more money vs. I need 60k to consider this position to be competitive with my other offers)

cranilation

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2015, 09:41:16 AM »
My thinking was, studies have shown that people are more likely to ascent to a request if it includes a rationale, even if it doesn't mean anything to them at all.  Do you have a particular reason why a short, abrupt request for additional compensation would be better?

I disagree that a counter offer is required.  I don't think that this company views me as completely interchangeable with the next random person who wanders in the door, because they are creating a specific position for me, because they want to bring my unique talents onboard. 

Also, I'm not currently unemployed - in fact, it's a rather stressful topic trying to navigate how I can break off my current job, which might mean my current boss - an old friend - would be left with a half-completed project which would not be completed before it would be too late.  Of course, I'll have to do it - I need the health insurance and the current job is part time, ending in august.  But, she's a previous boss/mentor, so I don't want to burn that bridge.


RichWard

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2015, 09:42:30 AM »
And do not ask for a sign on bonus to pay for you wardrobe. its okay to ask for one but don't tell them why you need it.

netskyblue

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2015, 09:46:07 AM »
I'd just say - It's going to take $60k to get me to leave my current job.  And mean it.  If you're WILLING to take less, they're going to give you less. 

I'm semi-job-hunting/browsing currently.  I have a number in my head that it will take to get me to go to a new company.  If they offer less, I'm just going to say thank you but it's going to take $X to get me.  If they can't offer that, it's thank you and have a nice day.  That's not to say I'd be ENTIRELY unwilling to listen if they could offer close to that plus throw in some really great perks/benefits.  But it'd have to be a pretty awesome offer.

MooseOutFront

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2015, 09:46:56 AM »
Do not send that email.

If you are going to ask for more money,  you better have a backup plan.

Remember,  if you counter their offer, it is no longer available for you to accept if they walk away from their offer (ie your counter rejects their offer).

Your hiring manager does not care that you will spend your 5k increase in salary.  All they know is it's 5K out of their pocket.

Lastly, your email is written from a point of weakness (can you please give me more money vs. I need 60k to consider this position to be competitive with my other offers)
All good points.  Especially the 1st sentence.  Cranilation, please read the below blog post on salary negotiation.  I used it to a tee with my current employer with success a couple months ago.  Your need for money could not be less relevant to them.  Their sunk cost in the hiring process does matter though.  They like you and are likely willing to pay $5k more than they offered just to avoid having to go through the process again with someone else. 

http://www.kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-negotiation/

I'm a red panda

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2015, 09:51:15 AM »
I don't think that this company views me as completely interchangeable with the next random person who wanders in the door, because they are creating a specific position for me, because they want to bring my unique talents onboard. 


That's good. So you do have leverage. It is easier to ask for something if you have a negotiation point (can just stay at current job).  So say "I'm really excited about this position, but the offer is lower than I expected.  If you can make it $62K, I will be ready to start!".  Then the HR person will say, "ooh, how about 60?" and you'll get what you wanted.

"lower than I expected" is the kind of reason they expect.  Not "work clothes are going to cost me a lot of money, and I want to have more in my retirement account."

RexualChocolate

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2015, 09:53:32 AM »
My thinking was, studies have shown that people are more likely to ascent to a request if it includes a rationale, even if it doesn't mean anything to them at all.  Do you have a particular reason why a short, abrupt request for additional compensation would be better?

I disagree that a counter offer is required.  I don't think that this company views me as completely interchangeable with the next random person who wanders in the door, because they are creating a specific position for me, because they want to bring my unique talents onboard. 

Also, I'm not currently unemployed - in fact, it's a rather stressful topic trying to navigate how I can break off my current job, which might mean my current boss - an old friend - would be left with a half-completed project which would not be completed before it would be too late.  Of course, I'll have to do it - I need the health insurance and the current job is part time, ending in august.  But, she's a previous boss/mentor, so I don't want to burn that bridge.

Your perception of the business world needs a massive overhaul.

Reality check incoming-  At 55k, you are nothing to this company. You are 100% completely interchangeable. A part time job with a friend is very weak leverage.

This is pure business. Your current job is paying you for your time. If they are underpaying you, leave. "Feeling bad" about your boss having zero contingency plans is not a rational decision. If they aren't paying you, they don't value you. It's a two way street. You can take this offer and make them match/beat it as well.

I assumed you were graduating from college since you were asking for money for a wardrobe. Again, no one cares about you. They are paying you for your time.

RexualChocolate

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2015, 09:56:57 AM »
Agree completely with iowajes recommendation as long as you're aware of the possibility they bail on your 55k offer (low probability)

ioseftavi

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2015, 10:08:41 AM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Here's what I plan to say to the HR rep:

Hi (HR REP).  I'm very excited for the offer and can't wait to join the team!  I do have a few requests that I'd like you to consider, if that's possible.

The most important thing for me right now is maximizing my 401(k) contribution.  I understand that company match is typically determined for the entire company.  I wonder if it would be possible to increase my pre-tax contribution from 6% to 10% or greater.

In keeping with this greater pre-tax contribution, I would also like to request an increase in my base from $55 to $60 - this additional income would go straight into my retirement savings.

My final request, and I don't know if this would be possible, would be to receive the $1000 relocation expense benefit even though I am not relocating to Grand Rapids.  This money would go towards optimizing my car's MPG and bringing my wardrobe up-to-date to reflect (COMPANY)'s business casual dress code.

Thank you very much,

(ME)


This is not an e-mail I would recommend sending.  Others have commented:

1)  Don't say you're going to join until you're happy with their offer.  If you're still negotiating, eliminate that language.  You can say, "I'm happy to be considered for the position, and appreciate the offer."  Then get on with your negotiating.

2)  The HR rep has nothing to do with your 401(k) contributions level.  That is 100% up to you.

3)  Don't say that the most important thing to you is maxing your 401(k).  That's weird as all hell.  As far as they're concerned, they'd like it if your most important thing to you was coming to the new job and kicking ass.  Even if it's not true, THAT'S how you want to come across.

4)  Eliminate "I don't know if this would be possible"

5)  IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE I SUGGEST, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS PART:
"In keeping with this greater pre-tax contribution, I would also like to request an increase in my base from $55 to $60 - this additional income would go straight into my retirement savings.

My final request, and I don't know if this would be possible, would be to receive the $1000 relocation expense benefit even though I am not relocating to Grand Rapids.  This money would go towards optimizing my car's MPG and bringing my wardrobe up-to-date to reflect (COMPANY)'s business casual dress code."

This is facepunch worthy.  And I know you're probably excited to show how responsible you are to the HR guy/girl and in some way justify it, but this is so bad it's painful. 

So - why am I being such an asshole, with regards to point #5?  Because what you'll do with the money is SO IRRELEVANT to negotiating pay.  It's weird as hell, and it shows that you're a complete novice at asking for more money.  If I got a request like that (me, personally - the "mustachian" me, the guy saving 50%+ of his pay), I'd be really disappointed in a candidate who said this.  This shows a fantastic lack of understanding around asking for more money, and poor judgment.

Here's a key rule of negotiating pay: If you have to mention what you'll do with the extra money, or why you need it, you have already shown you don't have a good reason for asking.  If you want more money, you mention what you have done or will do for the company, above and beyond the salary level they have offered / experience level that they're expecting.

Your car's MPG?  Your wardrobe?  Are you fucking kidding me?

If you can show how you deserve more money, ask for it!  But that means showing how you're slightly more qualified than the "average" candidate who they've talked to.  It does NOT mean showing why you need the money ("My roof has started leaking so I'm likely to repair it soon") or talking about what you'll do with it ("I plan to put it straight to my retirement accounts, LOOK AT HOW RESPONSIBLE I AM").  Why you need the money or what you'll do with it are COMPLETELY irrelevant.  Only explain why you deserve it.

Good luck with your negotiations - I think you can get some of what you're asking for.  But re-vamp that e-mail!

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2015, 11:08:08 AM »
Asking if you can set your own pretax 401k contribution is entirely reasonable but is probably already answered somewhere in the documentation. Personally I think you're better off taking the offered salary, and if you're crushing it in 6 months, ask for a raise. Everything else in your draft email is awful.

minimalist

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2015, 11:10:01 AM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Here's what I plan to say to the HR rep:

Hi (HR REP).  I'm very excited for the offer and can't wait to join the team!  I do have a few requests that I'd like you to consider, if that's possible.

The most important thing for me right now is maximizing my 401(k) contribution.  I understand that company match is typically determined for the entire company.  I wonder if it would be possible to increase my pre-tax contribution from 6% to 10% or greater.

In keeping with this greater pre-tax contribution, I would also like to request an increase in my base from $55 to $60 - this additional income would go straight into my retirement savings.

My final request, and I don't know if this would be possible, would be to receive the $1000 relocation expense benefit even though I am not relocating to Grand Rapids.  This money would go towards optimizing my car's MPG and bringing my wardrobe up-to-date to reflect (COMPANY)'s business casual dress code.

Thank you very much,

(ME)

This looks like a joke. I can imagine HR forwarding your message around the company for a good laugh. Ask for a higher salary and signing bonus like a normal person.

I'm a red panda

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2015, 11:20:02 AM »
Personally I think you're better off taking the offered salary, and if you're crushing it in 6 months, ask for a raise.

I'd be careful to find out the culture of the company before thinking a raise is likely.

The places I've worked, raises are pretty much non-existent. It is well known the only way to get a substantial raise is to leave for 2-3 years to go to a competitor and then come back.  (And this is true for all 4 major competitors in my market- I've worked at 3 of them.)

ioseftavi

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2015, 11:27:18 AM »
Personally I think you're better off taking the offered salary, and if you're crushing it in 6 months, ask for a raise.

I'd be careful to find out the culture of the company before thinking a raise is likely.

The places I've worked, raises are pretty much non-existent. It is well known the only way to get a substantial raise is to leave for 2-3 years to go to a competitor and then come back.  (And this is true for all 4 major competitors in my market- I've worked at 3 of them.)

Jes, this strongly depends on your market and industry.  My experience is the opposite of yours - I think the one time that I didn't get a pretty decent raise was in the depths of the recession, when my employer bumped my salary like 3-4%.  In the first ten years out of school in some industries and markets, you can probably expect your salary to climb 5-10% per year.  Other markets - you'll be happy to find an employer who increases salaries at the inflation rate.

RexualChocolate

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2015, 11:55:16 AM »
ioseftavi,

Employers beating inflation is the rare exception, not the rule. I think more are starting to come around as they realize they're hiring the same people back in 3 years at 50% pay bumps anyway, but who knows.

ioseftavi

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2015, 12:01:55 PM »
ioseftavi,

Employers beating inflation is the rare exception, not the rule. I think more are starting to come around as they realize they're hiring the same people back in 3 years at 50% pay bumps anyway, but who knows.

Damn.  If that's the experience of most of y'all, then I stand corrected.  I know for most of the people I know (selection bias, obviously...), its seemed like 5-10% raises the first 10 years out of school were around what you could hope for, provided you were in a solid geographic market and an industry that wasn't obviously under heavy pressure.

I'm a red panda

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2015, 12:19:49 PM »

Jes, this strongly depends on your market and industry.

Which is why I mentioned that you should check the culture of the company before making assumptions.

But damn, I'd kill for a 5-10% raise.  Best raise I ever got was 3%. Most common raise was 1-2%.  Lowest raise was 0.3% (with an exceeds expectations review).   But I think each job switch I've gotten about 20-30% more than where I left.

netskyblue

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2015, 12:32:04 PM »
My own experience was:

2006: Hired
2008: 20% raise (this was a few months after I was promoted to a new position)
2011: 17% raise (I asked for this - wouldn't have got it if I hadn't asked.  As quickly as the boss agreed, I have been kicking myself all these years cos I bet I could have got a lot more.)
2014: 13% raise

However in my company if you left to work for a competitor, you would NOT be welcomed back in a few years.  I know of one person who left and got re-hired, and she left to work in a TOTALLY different industry, and came back in a completely different position than the one she left.

BUT - it's a small business.  ~70ish employees.  And entry level is 25k.

rmendpara

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2015, 12:44:47 PM »
Benefits like retirement plans and pensions have to be largely equal among employees. Something in the pension/ERISA/whatever rules say that they have to be "equally rewarding" or something to that effect for everyone. The idea is to prevent them from giving massive benefits to only executives.

The easiest thing to negotiate is salary or a bonus. If you had a choice, I'd negotiate a salary because bonuses are one time, and raises are harder to get than a higher bonus. I'm assuming this is an entry level job? If so, I doubt there would be much negotiating room. If you are asking for 1k... let's face it, you're not going to decline an offer or choose a different job based on such a small amount. Everyone knows that. If you'll take it at 55, you'd be alright with 54.

MrMoogle

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2015, 01:17:12 PM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Here's what I plan to say to the HR rep:

Hi (HR REP).  I'm very excited for the offer and can't wait to join the team!  I do have a few requests that I'd like you to consider, if that's possible.

The most important thing for me right now is maximizing my 401(k) contribution.  I understand that company match is typically determined for the entire company.  I wonder if it would be possible to increase my pre-tax contribution from 6% to 10% or greater.

In keeping with this greater pre-tax contribution, I would also like to request an increase in my base from $55 to $60 - this additional income would go straight into my retirement savings.

My final request, and I don't know if this would be possible, would be to receive the $1000 relocation expense benefit even though I am not relocating to Grand Rapids.  This money would go towards optimizing my car's MPG and bringing my wardrobe up-to-date to reflect (COMPANY)'s business casual dress code.

Thank you very much,

(ME)
You have every right to negotiate.  As long as you're not asking for something unreasonable, the worst they will say is sorry, but we can't do that, and they'll leave the original on the table.  It's pretty rare for someone to get to this spot and HR just to withdraw the offer. 

I would ask for 60k and the 1k signing bonus, but I agree with the others that you're not really asking the correct way.  Starting salary is your basis for your raises.  If you're a good employee, and the company did well that year, they might give you a 10% raise, whether you're at 55k or 60k.  I just negotiated an offer and here's how mine went:

Thanks for sending me this offer, I hope we can find something that works for both of us.

As I mentioned to (interviewer's name), I will bring my experience with X, Y, and Z needed by his team.

If I get A, B, and C I will bring my experience to your company.

Thank you,
MrMoogle

I kept it short and sweet, I'm sure longer emails work too, but I'm pretty direct.  I didn't get everything I asked for, but I got more than I started with.  I only talked about the companies needs, not mine.  And I didn't reject the previous offer.  If it's really unacceptable and you're asking for a big jump (60k isn't a big jump) you might want to, but negotiating is give and take, so I try to keep everything on the table. 

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2015, 01:29:49 PM »
My own experience was:

2006: Hired
2008: 20% raise (this was a few months after I was promoted to a new position)
2011: 17% raise (I asked for this - wouldn't have got it if I hadn't asked.  As quickly as the boss agreed, I have been kicking myself all these years cos I bet I could have got a lot more.)
2014: 13% raise

However in my company if you left to work for a competitor, you would NOT be welcomed back in a few years.  I know of one person who left and got re-hired, and she left to work in a TOTALLY different industry, and came back in a completely different position than the one she left.

BUT - it's a small business.  ~70ish employees.  And entry level is 25k.

My experience:

2008: Hired
2009: No raise
2010: No raise
2011: 50% raise (changed career from government to industry)
2012: 3%
2013: 5%
2014: 6%

Bonuses have increased with each year as well, since switching to industry (no bonuses in government work)

RexualChocolate

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2015, 02:02:14 PM »
2011: Hired from undergrad
2012: 10%
2013: 11%
2014: 5%
2015: Offered ~2%, pointed out I was underpaid and said they couldnt deal so I started interviewing and then all of a sudden they could afford 20-30%, left for 50% raise

First 2-3 year growth extremely high and typical due to coming right out of school, the tapering typical if you don't move IMO.

cranilation

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2015, 02:22:45 PM »
OK, you've all convinced me :)  Especially MooseOutFront's link, which laid out a negotiation strategy that I very much did not follow.

I have a spotty memory.  When the HR rep and my future supervisor called me on the phone a few days ago, they suggested 55K as my starting salary.  I believe I responded with something like "That's very generous, thank you," but I also asked if the compensation was negotiable, to which they responded "Well, everything is negotiable..."  I didn't get the sense that they WANTED me to negotiate that, but that's what they said.

They mailed me a letter with 55K, and other benefits, described.  To accept the job, I need to sign the letter and mail it back to them.  They said several times that I should do this as fast as possible, and the letter says I have 5 days to decide, or refuse.

As many of you have said, on the one hand, I don't have much to negotiate from.  Yes, they want to hire me... but they also have me over a barrel because I (stupidly) acquiesced to their request to list all the salaries I made for the past five jobs.  That really pissed me off at the time, but it really felt like I could choose to either tell them, or retract my application.  Live and learn, right?  Also, the "minimum" salary range I gave them was 40k.  55k is much higher than that, and they know it. 

I don't want to be greedy, but on the other hand, like many have also said, your incoming salary negotiation is one of the best ways to maximize over-all earnings.  If I can secure a 5-10% bump over 55k, then every additional raise, be it 1% or 10%, will compound with the initial bump.  So I don't want to do myself the disservice of cowardly saying "I'm screwed, thank you kind employer for allowing me to take this job at all!"

On the third hand, I think that regardless of me, regardless of the company, it's just flat out policy for the company to low ball and then the potential employee to negotiate up.  If they offered me 50, I would ask for 55.  if they offered me 60, I would ask for 65.  For the same job for the same person.  I think that's just standard - am I wrong to think a company would never offer the max amount they will pay, first go?

So, hm.  Now I don't know what to do.  Maybe something like this:

"Hi (HR).  Thanks for sending me the offer, and for answering my questions yesterday. 

I know my unique combination of instructional design, process analysis, and organizational change management experience will help the learning team transform (COMAPANY) into a learning-centered organization. 

I would like to request the compensation be increased to $60,000, and to be given the $1,000 "relocation benefit" as a signing bonus expenses related to starting the new job.

Thank you,

(ME)

MooseOutFront

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2015, 02:35:50 PM »
Good.  Except that last sentence "I am ready to accept an off of $60,000 starting salary and $1k relocation bonus."  Something just so they know it's a done deal if they agree to that number.

And then I would probably accept whatever they came back with next.  But that's just me.

cranilation

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2015, 02:37:21 PM »
Even though I'm not relocating? 

MooseOutFront

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #38 on: March 06, 2015, 02:37:58 PM »
Yeah there may be a better word there.  Just call it a signing bonus?

RexualChocolate

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #39 on: March 06, 2015, 02:38:21 PM »
Light years better. I wouldn't include specifics, just get to the point. Say you're ready to accept at a salary of 60k.

If they're terrible at their jobs which is very possible, they'll say okay and resend you paperwork.

Agreed on the irritation from them asking for previous salaries; it's intrusive but its becoming standard. Half the jobs I've interviewed for have wanted W2's so no way to hide unless you doctor them now

RichWard

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #40 on: March 06, 2015, 02:51:01 PM »
Good.  Except that last sentence "I am ready to accept an off of $60,000 starting salary and $1k relocation bonus."  Something just so they know it's a done deal if they agree to that number.

And then I would probably accept whatever they came back with next.  But that's just me.

I would just change it to $1K sign on bonus.

OP mentioned he isn't relocating.

Your letter is much better and hopefully you learned a bit about the process through putting out your original sample letter.

Make sure to be confident in any interaction. Although you gave away most of your leverage, you're at the point where they have already decided they want to hire you and may just want to seal the deal.

yandz

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #41 on: March 06, 2015, 02:51:15 PM »
Putting "relocation benefit" in quotes (and since you are not relocating) looks slime-y like an exaggerated wink.  Call it a signing bonus.

cranilation

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #42 on: March 06, 2015, 02:56:56 PM »
OK, I have sent out the following:

"Hi (name),

Thanks for sending me the offer, and for answering my questions earlier today.

I know my unique combination of instructional design, process analysis, and organizational change management experience will help the team transform (company) into a learning organization.

I am ready to accept an offer of $60,000 starting salary, with a $1,000 signing bonus for expenses related to starting the new job.

Thank you,
(me)"

So, done and done.  Now to sit back and see what happens.

A big thank you to EVERYONE who commented - even the people who intentionally insulted me - I am much more confident with where this ended up than where it began.

netskyblue

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #43 on: March 06, 2015, 03:06:07 PM »
:)  Some facepunches from internet strangers acting in your best interest sure beats facepunches from the hiring manager where you want to end up working!

yandz

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #44 on: March 06, 2015, 03:08:36 PM »
And good luck!  I hope it works out.

MrMoogle

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #45 on: March 06, 2015, 03:12:19 PM »
Good luck!

When you say mail, did they really snail mail it to you?  If so, that sounds crazy to me, but maybe your state has laws like that.

You sent them an email right?  Since they want a response within 5 days, if you don't hear back within 24 hours, don't be afraid to call them. 

I got a, "I'll see what I can do" back pretty quickly, then a counter the next day.  Also, they didn't put it in an official offer until we agreed on the terms, since they didn't want to go through all the work of creating it if it wasn't going to be the final one.

zurich78

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #46 on: March 07, 2015, 08:34:00 AM »
Wow.  I'm glad you guys were able to convince him to change his counter offer letter.  The first one was cringeworthy.

Also, just as a general rule, if you're offered $55 and you want $60, then you need to counter at $65.  They might meet you there, they might meet you in the middle.

As for providing previous salaries, I don't get why that's such a big deal.  What difference does it make what you made before?  If you think you deserve $60, then draw a hard line at $60.

zurich78

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #47 on: March 07, 2015, 10:37:27 AM »
As for providing previous salaries, I don't get why that's such a big deal.  What difference does it make what you made before?  If you think you deserve $60, then draw a hard line at $60.

Well, disclosing your past salary doesn't mean you have to accept lowball offers, but it does mean the offers you get are more likely to be lowballed. In other words, disclosing past compensation doesn't force you to accept a bad offer, but it makes it much harder to get a good offer.

Personally, I've more than doubled my compensation with each job, and that's a trend I intend to continue. I have a long-term acquaintance who goes for multiples of 3 when changing job. You can't achieve that if you disclose past compensation (nor can you usually achieve it with raises).

Why?  I've disclosed my past salaries and told prospective employers, this is what it will take. 

Just because someone overpaid me before, doesn't mean someone has to overpay me again.  Same is true with being paid under market.

Some people come in unemployed.  But if they are worth $100K, they are worth $100K and not minimum wage.

zurich78

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #48 on: March 07, 2015, 01:55:20 PM »
I don't think it affects leverage at all.

Larry Ellison (CEO of Oracle) makes $1/yr.  What's the most you'd pay him to run your business?  Minimum wage?

What if he wanted $100K/yr?  Way too much since he only makes $1/yr?

I have had prospective employers say, well you want X but you're making Y right now.  And to that I say, what I'm making now is irrelevant since we're talking about what I need to make the move.

It's like a house.  What difference does it make if soneone paid $250K?  If it's worth $400K, it's worth $400K.

BlueHouse

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Re: What is a reasonable entry-level 401k match?
« Reply #49 on: March 07, 2015, 02:29:12 PM »
On the third hand, I think that regardless of me, regardless of the company, it's just flat out policy for the company to low ball and then the potential employee to negotiate up.  If they offered me 50, I would ask for 55.  if they offered me 60, I would ask for 65.  For the same job for the same person.  I think that's just standard - am I wrong to think a company would never offer the max amount they will pay, first go?
I think this depends on the situation.    A very smart co-worker of mine once asked me "if you find someone worthy of hiring and you really want to work with that person, why wouldn't you make the very best offer that you can?"  That was in a competitive job market and I'm sure things are different now, but the main thing I experienced in the years since then is that making someone a great offer breeds loyalty and immediately makes the employer and employee on the same side rather than opposing sides.  Why should we want to start a working relationship like this?