Impacting Your Financial Future with Your Career
Most people realize that a job (or lack thereof) has a major impact on your financial future (as well as your current situation). Yet when we think, "What do I want to do when I grow up?" even if we have an opinion on the matter, most of us could never predict what our career path will eventually be.
The best career advice anyone has ever given me was to:
- Always have an updated resume because you never know when something may come up
- Try to do something that you are passionate about
- Make sure your income always pays your bills
It sounds simple, but there's a lot more to it than that.
Each of us may have some grand plans and desires to reach certain levels of success in a career – to be a field expert, team leader, maybe even a CEO – but we also need to be realistic as we work toward those goals and consider how our career choices affect our financial well-being.
Know who you are, decide what you want, and have a plan.
What are you qualified to do today?
What does it take to be successful in your field?
Will you need a degree or certification, or could ample experience get you the job?
These are all great questions that may need some research.
Look up job descriptions on listing sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, or your local department of labor.
What do many employers require for what you are interested in? Don't expect to meet all the qualifications, but if you meet the required ones, you should apply and give it a try. Every application or interview is a chance for growth.
If your career path requires certifications or higher education, explore the costs and your options for financing that investment. As a benefit, some employers (like Visions) will offer assistance with employees' student loans or tuition costs.
When you think you have found a job posting that looks interesting, be sure to research the company.
Search the internet. Explore their LinkedIn profile and employee culture. Review their website, articles, etc. What is the company's philosophy, vision, mission, and values? What do they seem to care about? Be sure to look for companies and roles that match your own vision and values and you'll be more likely to stay motivated to grow with that organization. For an example of what to look for on a webpage, check out our example here so you see how we share our vision, values, and the motivation for why someone would consider a career with us.
When you're looking for a long-term career, there are many factors (beyond your own qualifications and performance) that affect job security. Learning about the global industry, competition, and other market factors could help give you an informed projection of a company's future. For example, companies that have firm roots in serving specific local communities are likely to stay committed to that local economy. Other organizations may tend towards overseas labor or outsourcing jobs, which could imply limited loyalty to local workforces.
Each of us is in a different place in life, so our needs also vary. Remember, salary is only part of what you get from your job or career. Which benefits are important to you? Which ones might become important to you as you look down the road? Research this information, too.
Be sure that your prospective employer offers benefit programs or services that will meet your needs – because a great job without helpful benefits might not be a good move.
Regardless of career path, receiving income through legitimate payroll is always more financially responsible than working "under the table." Even without any additional benefits from your employer, you'd have proof of income, pay taxes on your income, and contribute towards federal insurance (Social Security and Medicare). Life without credit can be challenging, unsettled debts to the IRS are an expensive nightmare, and like other retirement plans, Social Security will only pay you (later) if you pay into it (now). In these ways and more, you'll be serving yourself in the long run by keeping your career "on the books."
Retirement planning should be a part of everyone's career path. If you're self-employed or working for a small business, maybe a 401k isn't an option for you, but you should still be looking to put a percentage of your income into an IRA. Some organizations also offer a pension plan, even in 2022!
Benefits also extend beyond the insurance and retirement plans. Keep in mind the workplace culture, the expectations around your time, and how it all affects your work-life balance. If you want to support your family, build a career that allows you to do that. If you want to spend a lot of time with your family, plan around that priority.
I once read that the average person changes their career – not merely their job – more than five times before retirement. Times change, economic factors are constantly shifting, and technology develops at an incredible rate – all of which will significantly shift the job market during your 30-60 years in the workforce. Finding the perfect fit can be challenging, if not impossible, to arrange but an effective job search and targeted professional development are a good start.
At Visions Federal Credit Union, we pride ourselves on selecting individuals to join our organization who exude our company philosophies of people helping people, caring about our communities and members, and caring about each other.