There’s always some level of uncertainty in the economy, but the pandemic has amped up that volatility. Today’s job market features everything from wage-related walkouts to employees resigning over a forced return to the traditional office. 

While this crazy job market may seem scary, there are actually several benefits. Workers in many industries have more power than ever before to demand better wages and benefits. Many companies have seen their employees thrive in WFH conditions, increasing productivity and finding new ways to collaborate and innovate. If you’ve been thinking about making a job change, now is a great time to make it happen.

At Everyday Money, we help our clients walk through challenging financial situations like job changes. We can help you get the most out of this unique time in your career. Here are some tips for making the most of your next career move.

Reassess and Reprioritize

Before you make any irreversible steps, like firing off an I Quit email, take some time to reassess your career. Talk with your spouse or partner about what you want your new job to look like. 

Are you loving the WFH life? Make that sort of flexibility a priority in your job search. Do you want to upgrade your lifestyle or put more money toward a college fund or retirement? Run the numbers so you know what salary range you’re comfortable with.

Remember to think about the non-financial aspects of your career too. Are you doing something that’s satisfying? If not, think about what makes work fulfilling to you so you can search for a job that will make you happy. A stressful job can significantly impact your family and home life, so make sure you and your partner are on the same page about any job changes you plan to make.

Look Beyond the Paycheck

You should definitely run the numbers and look at your budget to determine your salary requirements. But remember that your paycheck isn’t the only type of compensation you can (or should) expect from your employer. Think about benefits and perks that are important to you as well. 

Flexible scheduling and WFH options are important to many people. If you prefer to work in the office, think about transportation. Some employers cover the cost of public transportation or incentivize green options like biking to work. Others help their employees maintain physical and mental health through at-work yoga classes, fitness challenges, and therapy. 

Don’t forget about the more traditional benefits like health insurance. Plans can vary wildly in terms of cost and coverage, so think about what type of medical care your family needs. Life insurance is another perk to look for. Some employers even offer estate planning assistance, like helping you create a will.

Make a Plan

You’ve solidified your priorities and decided which benefits are most important to you. Now it’s time to dust off your LinkedIn profile and get ready for hours of copying your resume text into online applications. As you move through the steps of changing jobs, don’t forget to prepare for the financial impacts.

Look at your emergency fund and do some number crunching. Do you have a cushion to cover your expenses if you spend some time between jobs? Can you make some modifications to your budget to give your family a little more financial freedom during this time?

Make a plan for your future finances as well. This is especially important if your new job will significantly change how much money you’re bringing home. If you’re expecting a salary increase, commit to putting a good amount into your retirement account before you start shopping for a new car. 

If your initial salary at the new job might be lower (like if you are making a big career change), adjust your budget now so you don’t risk overspending. A little preparation can ensure you’re in good financial shape during your job transition.

Strategic job changes offer many benefits 

If you think a different job could offer more financial benefits or personal fulfillment, this is a great time to make the change. There are countless opportunities available right now, and many employers are open to alternatives to the traditional 9 to 5 office life. 

Before you start submitting applications, work with your partner to verify your priorities (financial and otherwise). Prepare your budget for the transition time, and make sure you’re ready to contribute a portion of your new salary toward your retirement fund.

Here at Everyday Money, we have lots of resources to simplify those financial conversations and budgeting tasks. Check out our free resources, and swap the boring spreadsheets with BudgetingBlocks™, our hands-on system that makes it easy to visualize and allocate your money.