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Checklist: Starting Your Career


Starting your career is a big milestone. We're excited for you and want to help make sure you start off on the right foot. If you haven't done so already, talk to a financial advisor to help you establish your goals and determine how to reach them. To get started, we've provided this checklist to highlight some things to think about.

Start with the basics

  • Set up a payment plan for any student loans you may have.
  • Set up direct deposit for your paychecks.
  • Purchase renters or homeowners insurance.
  • Create a budget.
    • Groceries, utilities, rent, car payment, student loans, insurance, savings
  • Build an emergency fund.
    • Incorporate this fund into your budget. Strive to have three to six months of income in your fund.

Establish a financial foundation

  • Make a list of everything you own and everything you owe. This shows your net worth.
  • Determine and write down your short- and long-term financial goals.
    • Are you planning to purchase a home? Save for a new car? Build up a savings account?
    • How much will you need? By when will you want to accomplish these goals? How much will you set aside each month to achieve them?
  • Participate in a savings or retirement plan through your employer ‒ such as a 401(k) or 403(b) plan ‒ to earn at least an employer match, if applicable.
  • Start investing.
    • Work with a financial advisor who will make recommendations based on what's important to you. Together, you can help determine a simple way for you to get started.
    • Use our investment calculator to see the financial impact three variables: time, savings amount and rate of return, can have.
  • Start contributing to an IRA (Individual Retirement Account).
  • Establish credit, if you haven’t already. If you have, obtain a copy of your credit report to ensure it's accurate.

Prepare for the unexpected

  • Review your employer benefits to understand coverage and eligibility requirements for health and disability insurance.
  • Discuss life and disability insurance needs and eligibility for individual coverage, if appropriate. Use our life insurance needs calculator.
  • Enroll in appropriate benefits.
  • Learn options for Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts, if your employer offers these.

How we can help

This is an exciting time in your life, and we're here to help. Now is a great time to call your local financial advisor and get started on a relationship you can build for the long term.

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