When a prospective employer makes you a job offer with an annual salary, that amount can sound really big. However, you're not going to receive your annual salary as one lump-sum check. Plus, when it comes to setting your budget, it is much more practical to think of your income in monthly earnings instead of yearly income. As a result, you'll want to convert your annual salary into a monthly salary so that you can come up with a feasible budget for your earnings.
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Converting to Monthly Salary
If your job offer states your salary as an annual amount but you'll be paid monthly, simply divide your annual salary by 12 to calculate your monthly salary. For example, if your annual salary is $72,000, divide $72,000 by 12 to find that you'll be paid $6,000 per month. If instead that new annual salary is $50,000, you would divide $50,000 by 12 to find your monthly salary would be $4,500.
Calculating Take-Home Pay
Just because you've calculated your monthly salary doesn't mean that you can build a budget that uses every penny of that amount. Instead, you also need to factor in taxes and other deductions from your paycheck. For example, you might be required to pay a portion of your health insurance or dental insurance premiums instead of your employer paying the entire amount. While you surely don't like seeing any deductions come out of your paycheck, it's better for tax purposes that your employer takes them out and you pay them with pretax dollars. That way, those dollars aren't included in your taxable income. You also can make contributions to a retirement plan, like a 401(k), that come out before your paycheck is calculated.
In addition to payroll deductions, your employer will withhold taxes from your paycheck. These included the Social Security tax, Medicare tax, federal income taxes, and state and local income taxes. The Social Security tax and the Medicare tax take out 6.2 percent and 1.45 percent, respectively. The amount of federal income taxes withheld depends on your income level, filing status and how many allowances you claim on your Form W-4. State tax withholding is similar, but it depends on which state you live in and the state's income tax rates. If you don't have enough withheld during the year, you will pay the difference, plus potential interest and penalties, when you file your tax return. Once you've calculated all your payroll deductions, then you really will know how much you'll be bringing home each month.