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How to Manage Your First Big Paycheck

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The career ladder is a long and treacherous path – for many of us, first jobs and employment are minimum wage deals, internships or two-week placements. It can take decades to climb the rungs, sometimes more. By the time real work comes around (your dream job with your dream paycheck), life can almost seem too good to be true. It’s tempting to splash out then, to make up for years of hardship and canned baked beans – but this isn’t always the wisest of choices. Whether you’re a comp sci student fresh in silicon valley or an office bod in expectation of a promotion, here’s how to plan and use your big paycheck with the future in mind.

A Living Means Budget

Extra flashy cash doesn’t have to mean an extra flashy life. First, consider your means. Take taxes, rent and bills into account. Will this new job mean more travel? An apartment in an expensive area of the city? Your new income should be used to accommodate these needs first and foremost. Perhaps you have student debt that needs paying off or an old doctors bill from before your hip new medical cover. Research, check and budget to be sure. Then you can start working out how much cash you really have and plan accordingly.

Future Proof Planning

Everyone has different needs and wants in life – that’s what makes us all unique. How we spend our liquid cash says a lot about who we are. If there’s one thing everyone has it common, however, it’s a need to plan for the future. A high-pay job can often mean a high risk of redundancy or loss, with those on the highest rungs of the ladder with the most to lose. Budget savings into your monthly paycheck: be a squirrel and save some nuts for a rainy day! Most sources recommend having anywhere between one to three to even six months of expenses safe and secure at any given time for an individual. That way, if the rug does come out from under your feet, it’ll be a soft landing nonetheless.

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You might even consider investing your newfound cash, increasing and diversifying your net worth. Fx trading, stocks and property are all ways to accommodate for the future and increase the size of your estate. A big paycheck is one thing, a big net worth another.

Stress Management

There’s no shame in using your money how you wish – or some of it, at least. High paying careers are often those that come with most stress, so it can be important to find ways to manage and balance your life in that regard. Money can and often does help here. Find your weekend hobbies, no matter the cost, and chill out like you deserve. Overindulgence never helped anyone.

Just remember: work is finite. The earlier one starts saving the earlier one can retire in security. At the same time, there’s no sense in having mass cash without a little enjoyment to make it all worthwhile. Take pleasure in your hard-won earnings, yes, but be kind to yourself and your future, too.

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