If you’re one of the three in 10 workers planning to look for a new position this year, you’re probably excited by the possibility of a pay increase or more responsibilities. But in the whirlwind of changing jobs, it’s easy to leave money on the table at your old employer. Before you give your notice, here are some things to consider.
TIME YOUR EXIT
You may be ready to just move on. But sticking out your old job for a few more months may make sense in several situations.
You have a yearly bonus coming. If your employer pays a yearly bonus every March, leaving in February could mean you’ll miss out on that money. Consider pushing back your start date. If you can’t change the start date, mention that you’ll be missing out on money by leaving your current employer right away. Your new employer may be willing to compensate you for starting earlier.
You’re about to vest in a retirement plan. If your company offers retirement benefits, you may not get to take the money with you if you leave before the money is vested – when the benefit becomes yours. Learn about how vesting works in any plan you may have. If you’re a few months away from vesting, you may be losing out on thousands of dollars.
Your company is about to match your 401(k). Some companies only match 401(k) contributions several times a year. If you’re at a company like that, you may want to wait until the matching payment happens before turning in your notice.
You have company stock or options. If your company offers stock or stock options, there may be a vesting period or restrictions on how you can take the stock when you leave. Check into it.
GET MONEY YOUR COMPANY MAY OWE YOU
If you have unused vacation, check with your HR department to understand your employer’s vacation policy, including how vacation time is calculated. Your company should pay you for any time you didn’t use.
In the whirlwind of starting a new job, it’s easy to leave money on the table.
Similarly, if you’ve been paying into a flexible spending account (FSA), check to see if you have an unused balance. If so, gather unreimbursed health charges and other medical expenses and file a claim before your last day. If you don’t have any expenses, consider upcoming needs like new contacts or glasses to make sure you get something for the money.
If you were issued a corporate credit card as part of your job, redeem or transfer any miles/points that you may have accumulated before you need to return your card. Even if your balance doesn’t get you a first-class ticket to your dream destination, it could be enough for a free flight or a gift card to your favorite restaurant or store.
FIGURE OUT YOUR 401(K)
If you have a retirement plan at work, you’ll have to decide how to handle your savings. In many cases, you can either leave your funds in your current employer’s plan, roll them over into an IRA, or have them transferred directly to your new employer’s plan. Assuming your new plan offers good investment options, you may find that having your money transferred directly to your new employer’s plan will make it easier to keep track of it.