Your first day at work is a little different from the first day of classes in college. You can’t walk in wearing your best fresh prince outfit, scoping out the room for the most attractive person to sit next to…I just got the strangest case of Dejavu… In a previous post, we talked about work attire and how to dress for your first major job(and beyond that) based on the companies dress code. Nevertheless, there are more decisions to be made when you start a new job than what to wear. Although these decisions won’t be too difficult, they’re pretty important. And if it’s your first job out of college, you probably haven’t had to deal with many of them before now. Let’s talk about the documents you’ll have to complete as a new employee.
The I-9 form is the Employment Eligibility Verification form, so you’ll have to complete this form prior to your first day. As a new hire you’re required to complete the I-9 form which confirms your eligibility to work (in the US). Along with the I-9 form, you’ll also need to submit identification documents, like a U.S. passport or permanent resident card, to verify that you’re you. You can find a list of acceptable identification documents here.
This one is rather simple. Want to get paid, complete your direct deposit document. Also, double and triple check the routing and account number that you entered.
Most companies go with the direct deposit route instead of providing a hard copy check. Direct Deposit is just more convenient for both parties.
Tax Form (W-4)
One of the first forms you’ll be required to complete with your new Employer is the W-4 form. It may look a little intimidating. But, really, the W-4 form just allow you to decide when you want to pay your taxes to the IRS. Learn how to complete the W-4 form in this post.
State Tax Withholding forms
If you’re living in one of the following states, you don’t have to worry about state income taxes: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Note, although Tennessee and New Hampshire do not tax income from wages, they do tax interest and dividend income.
If you do not live in one of the nine states listed above, congratulations (I say this sarcastically), you have to pay state income tax, on top of federal income tax. Your employer will provide the form digitally or you can download the form here. If you aren’t sure which variation of your states withholding form to complete, contact your HR department. Typically, the withholding certificate is the required form. Complete the form then send it to your employer’s HR Department.
It’s important that you complete this form. In many cases, failing to complete your state tax withholding form will default to you being taxed at the highest rate, regardless of your income.
If this is your first job out of college, you’ve probably been under your parent’s insurance or utilizing the university insurance up until now.
Health insurance is an important benefit that most employers provide. Insurance Plans usually fall under these categories: Health maintenance organizations (HMOs), Preferred provider organizations (PPOs), Exclusive provider organizations (EPOs), Point-of-service (POS) plans, High-deductible health plans/Health Savings Account (HDHPs/HSAs). Your employers may present many different plans that may be available to you and the variation on each plan can seem endless. The most common plans provided by Employers vary but they typically fall under an HMO, PPO, or HDHP. Check this post out, which goes through some of the different options and explain the standard plans.
A 401k is an employer-sponsored retirement plan that allows you to save money, with a more added perks than a typical savings account. Most companies offer traditional 401k and Roth 401k. In traditional a 401k, you save a portion of your paycheck before taxes are taken out but you’re taxed later on in retirement. In a Roth 401k you save a portion of your paycheck after taxes have been taken out, therefore, you’re not taxed again during retirement. If you’re lucky, the company will give you some free money in the form of a 401k match. This means they’ll match your contribution up to a certain amount without any charge to you. Some company’s may require that you work for them for a certain number of years (typically 3 years) in order to get the full match.
When completing your 401k registration, you’ll be asked what percentage of your check you want to contribute to your 401k. You’ll also be presented with a list of investment funds that your employer provides. In a future post we’ll walk through the 401k in more detail.