Personal Finance

Going Back to Work? Time for a New Budget

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There are plenty of reasons to get back to work after time off – financial stability, a feeling of empowerment, utilization of your skills, etc. While finding the motivator may be easy, returning to full or even part-time employment after an extended time off does not come without challenges.

Whatever your reason for leaving work or for returning, having a job isn’t free. When you return to the workforce, it’s important to keep in mind the expenses that come with employment. From federal income taxes, state income taxes, Social Security and Medicare to commuting, wardrobe and meal costs, it’s a good idea to re-assess your budget when going back to work.

If You’re Returning From Higher Education…

Making the transition from student to employee may have seemed easy the first time, but taking a break from your career to return to school can affect your future experience in the workplace.

Adjusting to different hours and lifestyle change can be challenging for workers who have completed professional or graduate degrees. When you are in the application and interview process, connecting your studies to the position and emphasizing how your new degree has enhanced your work ethic can help showcase your potential contributions to the company and help you negotiate for a higher salary to help offset any student loan costs you may have incurred.

If You’re Coming Back From Maternity or Paternity Leave…

Returning to work after a short- or long-term stint as an at-home parent can be especially challenging. If you still have young children, there is the issue of child care. Both cost and safety can be concerns there. Some companies offer better options than others for parents with children.

If You’re Returning From Unemployment or a Sabbatical…

Whether it be for medical, personal or professional reasons, taking time off can offer clarity and freedom from a stressful environment. When you are ready to return to work, it’s important to think about how you will explain the gap in your employment history.

Career development professionals suggest using a functional resume over a chronological one to highlight your skills as opposed to your jobs. The cover letter is also a great spot to explain the gap in your career. Whether on paper or in an interview, make a positive, unapologetic statement about what you were doing during your time away.

If you’ve been living on unemployment benefits, you’ll have some new financial challenges when you start collecting a bigger paycheck — making sure you have an emergency fund, building up your retirement savings, etc.

Be sure not to fall into the trap of overspending once you get your new, larger paycheck. Going into debt after just getting back into the workforce can place a strain on your finances and can affect your credit score in the long-term. If you want to see how your credit scores are affected by your debt, you can check two of your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.

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