Is Your First Paycheck Always Low?

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It’s an exciting time of your life when you get your first job. Then, finally, you can buy what you want without having to pay your parents money, which gives us all a sense of maturity. But then it happens! You get that first check, and it is not what you expected.

This is quite normal because most of the time, we don’t account for things like benefits and the money the government likes to take from us in the form of taxes and social security deductions.

But does that mean that our checks will be the same every time? By looking at this, we hope we can save some new people in the workforce a little stress and shock when they look at that first check.


Who Should You Talk About?

There is no one you can talk about this with. But, unfortunately, life’s bottom line of that paycheck will always be a few dollars short of your actual salary because you have deductions. If you have any questions, it is best to talk to your HR manager.

They should be able to help you figure out if you can make any adjustments to your paperwork to give you more money on the next paycheck. At the very least, be able to explain those deductions and how they work.


What Deductions are There?

The reason your paycheck is so low is because of itemized deductions. You have to be taken out by the employee to address certain issues.

There are several different deductions, and to really understand what is going on, you need to know them. Here are the deductions that may come from your paycheck:


  • 401K/403B – these are contributions that you sign up for when you first get high. Both of these are retirement savings plans. They have different benefits that come with them, but that will deduct a certain portion of your check and place it in a retirement account.
  • Federal income tax is a small portion of the money you earn that goes back to the government to help it run.
  • State/ local income tax – much like the federal income tax, this is a percentage of your check that gets funneled back into the government. Not every state has this, though.
  • Medicare – This is something that the government legally requires employers to deduct from payroll taxes.
  • Social Security – this is much like Medicare and is a mandatory thing that must be pulled from all payrolls. This pays for your retirement, disability, and any survivorship benefits that may come in the future.
  • Health insurance – if your employer offers health insurance and you opt-in for it, they will remove a certain portion of money every month to pay your portion of the coverage.


Is the Next Paycheck Going to Be Higher?

Unless you have a one-time before uniforms or something like that, your paycheck should relatively be the same every time. Of course, that depends on the hours you work, but in all, your next paycheck should not be higher.

Your check will have the same deductions every time it is cut so you can begin to plan out your budget better. Understanding the deductions and all of that will ensure that there are no surprises in the long run.


What are Employee Benefits?

Employee benefits are those provided to you by the employer you have been hired for. These typically are on top of your wage and could include things like health insurance, PTO, retirement benefits, and profit sharing.

In other words, these are extras that are not related to your wage. Some of these will be mandatory, and others will be voluntary. It may also depend on whether you are a full-time or part-time employee and what employee benefits you receive.

That being said, there are a few employee benefits employers must pay into your Social Security and Medicare accounts. On top of that, there may be state benefit requirements as well.


How to Understand Your Salary?

To understand your salary, you have to understand the idea of gross and net. Gross is the total sum that you earn before deductions. Net is what you take home. There are some steps you have to take to calculate your take-home salary.

Your salary is both simple and complicated to figure out when looking at how much you will take home. But, in the end, as long as you understand gross and net, you should be able to really understand how your salary works.


Final Thoughts on Is Your First Paycheck Always Low

In truth, unless you have expenditures, as we said, like a uniform, your check will remain pretty close to the same concerning the salary and the hours you work.

The first check you ever received may seem a little low because many of us don’t consider all the deductions that come into play. However, once you grasp those well, you shouldn’t be as shocked as you were the first time you looked at that bottom line.