Updated May 18, 2018: Your first few months on a new job are often stressful. You've got a new boss to impress, a whole office full of people to meet and a new commute to master. It's easy to miss crossing off a few important financial to-dos as you adapt to your new job. Here are eight money things everyone forgets to do when starting a new job.
1. Ask important benefit questions
Make the most of your face time with human resources by finding out, (a) when to expect your first paycheck, (b) what day your health insurance kicks in, (c) when you're eligible to participate in your 401(k) and (d) how vacation accruals work. Here are some more benefit questions new employees frequently forget to ask.
2. Set up auto savings
Almost everyone remembers to set up direct deposit with their employer so they don't have to go to the bank every time they get paid. But use the job switch as an opportunity to deposit some of your check into a savings account, too. Most employers let you direct deposit into multiple accounts and it's an easy way to bolster your nest egg. For more ways to save in five minutes or less, go here.
3. Read the employee handbook
We know. So much fine print. But it's important to review all your new workplace's policies so you don't unwittingly run afoul of one. Plus, that handbook might spark a few questions for HR you didn't know you had.
4. Evaluate your financial protection plan
Most employers provide some life insurance and disability insurance as work perks. Take advantage of these group policies, for sure. (Employers are actually the go-to source for short-term disability insurance.) But know your coverage limits. They may differ from the ones you had at your old employer. Moreover, employee-sponsored life insurance and long-term disability insurance are best treated as supplemental policies, given their traditionally low coverage amounts and the fact that you can't take them with you. (We can help you compare life insurance quotes to cover any gaps here.)
5. Rollover your old 401(k)
You have a few options. Namely, you can open an traditional or Roth IRA to roll the funds into or rollover your old 401(k) in your new one. In both cases, make sure the rollover check is not made out to you. If it is, you'll face tax consequences. A banker or human resources rep can help you roll over the funds without owing the IRS.
6. Learn your cheap lunch options
Even if you plan to pack a lunch every day, it's important to peg some affordable restaurants within walking distance of your office. You'll likely want to take a client, partner or team member to lunch one day. Or at least avoid running up $20 Seamless orders when you don't feel like eating that go-to peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
7. Pack a work-related go-bag
We're not saying you should prepare to leave your office in the event of, say, a zombie apocalypse. But you should stock up on a few items you might need on the job, like a bottle of aspirin (for stress-induced headaches), a sweater (for when the office gets chilly), an umbrella (for when you leave yours at home), hair ties and a back-up shirt. Buying all those items on the fly can put a dent in your budget.
8. Update your social profiles
You'll want old contacts, clients, sources, etc. to find you, so update your employer on not just LinkedIn, but also Facebook and Twitter. Better to get these updates out of the way when you first start your new job then risk looking like you're on a job hunt when you remember two months in.
9. Re-secure your Social Security card
Employers usually ask new hires to bring sensitive identification, like a Social Security card or passport, on their first day. Be sure to remove these from your wallet, purse or bag as soon as possible, lest your IDs get lost or stolen. Social Security cards and passports are best kept in a secure place, like a safe or bank deposit box, given how much havoc an identity thief could wreak with them. Speaking of which, here's how to tell if your identity has been stolen.