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Monthly savings allocation if I get that job

January 15th, 2012 at 10:13 am

I suppose this is like counting my chickens before they're hatched, but I can't resist calculating how much money I can put toward various savings goals if I get that job.

Believe it or not, not being able to pursue my various savings goals has been one of the worst things about being out of work, in my mind. I'm an extremely organized and disciplined person who has aggressive goals and thinks long-term, so this aspect of being out of work, just when I'm at the point of reaching significant financial milestones, has been particularly painful.

It will be a bit of a challenge given that it will surely be a low salary offer. I may be playing it a bit more conservative than I need to here, but I'm guessing the offer, if I get one, will come in between $40 and $50k. I like to play it uber-conservative so I'll be pleasantly surprised if it's more, or even simply on the high end of that scale.

My savings goals are as follows, in ranked order:

1. Throw extra prepayments at the mortgage to pay it off asap. Balance is now under $10,000.

2. Rebuild my emergency fund to at least $10,000.

3. Restart contributions to my retirement.

I've used an online net pay calculator to help me determine my net pay at $40K, $45K and $50K and including deductions for health insurance premiums (I'm estimating $200 a month, though I really have no idea. It could be less, but it is a small company so I doubt they have a premium plan).

Assuming they have a 401k plan, I've decided to go with a 6% 401(k) contribution, or whatever minimum percentage is necessary to get an employer matching contribution. It would be foolish to turn this down so no matter what, I'll contribute the minimum necessary to get the match, which is usually 6%.

That being said, retirement contributions come in last among my 3 savings priorities since I'm already off to a very good start (see sidebar) and I'm itching to rid myself of a 6% mortgage loan I never refinanced when rates dropped (and couldn't, while I was unemployed).

So, if I get $40K, it'll be:
$100/mth in mortgage prepayments
$200 into the 401k
$100 into an emergency fund

If I get $45K, it'll be:
$200/mth in mortgage prepayments
$225 into the 401k
$100 into an emergency fund

If I get $50K, it'll be:
$300 in mortgage prepayments
$250 into the 401k
$100 into an emergency fund

Notice that as the projected salary increases, my mortgage prepayments and 401k contributions rise but the amount going into the emergency fund remains the same.

If they have any kind of waiting period to start contributing to the 401k, the money I would otherwise have contributed to it will be divided equally between the emergency fund and the mortgage prepayments.

This savings schedule will be very, very hard to keep to, but I think it's in the realm of possible.

I just looked at my checkbook to confirm that, back in 2006, the last time I worked a job making just $50K, I was in fact contributing between $100 and $200 extra toward the mortgage each month.

And after years of always maxing out 401k contributions at 15%, I recall limiting myself to maybe 5% contributions at that time, when I started that job, becus I wasn't sure how tight money would be. But in the 3.5 years I was there, I remember that I'd always get exactly 3% raises each year, so as my salary increased to $51,500 at the end of year 1, to $53,045 by end of year 2, and then to $54,636 in year 3, I did increase my 401k contributions back to 15% at some point. And I recall still saving a little on the side. (I was still doing a little freelance writing on the side, which helped.)

Now this savings plan I've worked out will only need to be in play for about a year, after which time an important thing happens: my mortgage will have been paid off. Once that happens, I'll have an extra $700 to $900 monthly (depending on actual salary), which was previously spent on prepayments and regular monthly mortgage payments.

I'd like to reinsert a little breathing room into my budget at that point, and that may have to happen regardless, should unexpected expenses arise, but I'm aiming for the bulk of that freed up money, like $500 monthly, to continue going toward both the emergency savings fund (which doubles as a new car fund for me) and an upped 401k contribution.

Having taken the trouble to crunch this and work out all the details, i feel more confident that this new savings plan is doable and that I can indeed pursue and achieve my greatest financial goals.

If I've overlooked anything obvious, let me know!

Of course the job might not work out at all, or I get the job but they don't offer health insurance (shudder to consider that) and/or a 401k plan. It sucks when you can't even rely on the basics. (Just an example of how US employees can easily get shafted, compared to Europeans or others living elsewhere with greater employer protection.)

But anyway...
As far as I can tell, the company has not yet advertised the job(s) on the online job boards. I think they have just worked out what they want to do in restructuring how the work gets done, meaning, no more use of freelancers and bring it back in-house. And I'm guessing that the editor would like to avoid the hassle and time spent posting the new positions (2 project managers) and going through the whole interview/selection process again so soon after doing same for me and the other contract worker. I'm guessing, and counting on her natural reluctance to go through that whole laborious hiring process, when she considers how easy it would be to give the job to the contract worker (me) who did it on a temporary basis, because I've already demonstrated I can do it and do it efficiently.

And while the editor who trained me (and whose departure precipitated this job opening) sent me an irritable email questioning why I indicated I couldn't find info on one particular listing when the other contract worker (who was mistakenly assigned the same listing to update) FOUND the info on the website, this unpleasantry was followed up by 2 or 3 subsequent emails thanking me for powering through the listings as quickly as I did.

So I'm hoping this perfectly positions me to get one of the two project manager jobs since I did the same job most recently as a freelancer.

There's no better way to get a job than to have at it before it's advertised to the world! It's happened to me at least twice before. And I got the vague idea that that other woman who was freelancing, and with whom I trained with, was not necessarily available on a full-time basis. Better for me.

So. I think I have a decent shot at it, although at this point, I know very little about the job except that I updated a decent portion of this annual director as a freelancer, probably over 300 listings. (It contains 1850 listings total.) So the job is managing the entire update process for this one directory, which may require a little more work besides simply updating the listings. I will most certainly be able to learn Quark, not a bad thing on my resume. I stumbled along with it when I freelanced, but it was relatively easy to do as the templates had already been set up and I had last year's directory to go by.

I do have a variety of concerns: It could be mind-numbingly dull work. (It's not really writing, just updating listings.) The office environment is depressing. The editor in chief could be difficult to work with. But none of this will keep me from leaping for this job to escape the unemployment rut.

(The pluses, as I've mentioned before, include casual dress, a reasonable, 20-minute commute and the oft-touted "flexible hours" that have been mentioned to me although I have yet to learn what that really means. Some places say they have flexible hours and all that really means is that they permit you to leave work for a doctor's appointment.)

If I find no better jobs, I will stay there for years. But in a worst case scenario, if I only stay a year and achieve my goal of paying off the mortgage that much earlier, then that will be a huge advantage moving forward because my monthly living expenses will be that much lower, making it easier to find any future jobs that will pay my living expenses, and also freeing up money otherwise spent on the mortgage that I can now plow into retirement savings (and a new car fund).

3 Responses to “Monthly savings allocation if I get that job ”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

  2. Jerry Says:

    I hope that you get the job, that they offer decent health insurance coverage, and that the offer leads toward the high end of your expectations. Good luck!

  3. scrappytappy Says:

    I hope this all works out for you! Good luck Smile

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