You nailed the interviews and got an offer from the employer of your dreams — but your salary? That may leave a little to be desired. According to Glassdoor.com the average salary for an assistant account executive in NYC is $39,037 and an editorial assistant is $40,235. How do you make the most of what you’ve got? Here are five tips to get you started.
Write a Budget and Stick to It.
Map out your fixed expenses (rent, student loan payments) and variable expenses (groceries, utilities) to get your estimated expenses each month. Subtract that from your after-tax monthly salary to find out what you have left to work with. From within that amount, set a budget for the things you expect to spend money on – like restaurants and bars – and most importantly, make sure to set aside money for savings. Monitor your expenses and make sure to stick to the budget that you outlined.
Make Tough Choices.
Choose one or two big ticket things to prioritize – that may be saving for a vacation or signing a lease on a fantastic new apartment – and set up a savings plan to meet that goal (mint.com is a great free tool to use). My first year out of school, I decided to live at home and commute to save money. I knew a lot of other AAEs that lived in the city and my lifestyle certainly wasn’t as glamorous, but it did allow me to go on a vacation to Costa Rica, have enough spending money to hang out with friends on weekends and eventually comfortably move to Hoboken, which were my top priorities.
Don’t Forget that Little Expenses Add Up.
You may not think much about that morning coffee or salad take out, but they add up very quickly. If you’re grabbing coffee and eating lunch out every day that could easily add up to $15-$20 a day, or $75-$100 a work week. Now wouldn’t you rather use that $400 a month on something more meaningful?
Take Advantage of Loyalty Programs.
Almost every loyalty program is free — so you’re leaving points on the table when you stay at a hotel, take a flight or even buy that coffee in the morning. You should always try to minimize your expenses but if you’re spending the money anyway, you might as well benefit from the points. I’ve gotten multiple free nights and coffees from the loyalty programs I belong to – not to mention exclusive coupons and discounts.
While it’s easy to focus on the short term, it’s more important than ever to start saving for your future. The money you invest in your 401K in your early 20s will garner significantly more compounded interest than the money you invest in your 30s. Most employers offer a 401K match up to a certain percent – try to invest at least that much – and increase the percent that you contribute as you grow in your career. A good rule is to increase your 401K contribution 1% each year.
Want to hear from the real experts? Learn how to take your finances to the next level by joining us for a discussion with Fidelity on “The Money Move: Take Your Finances to the Next Level” on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017.