12 Hidden Costs of a New Job


So, you just got a new job offer? Congratulations! But before you accept it, here are some hidden costs you might not have considered. (See also: 7 Money Moves to Make When You Get a New Job)

1. Uncompensated Training

This happens frequently in tech jobs, but also in healthcare and a few other fields — you get hired with the understanding that, within a set period of time, you will complete a set of training courses or exams. In most cases, your employer will be paying for these courses, but you might want to check to see if you are going to be compensated for the time spent on the education, especially if the training course takes place outside of work hours.

2. Relocation Costs

It used to be standard for companies to pay for a new hire to relocate, but no longer.

How much relocation will cost you depends a great deal on your living situation and your personal life. If you are single and living in a month-to-month leased apartment, moving across the country might be a bit less daunting. If you are moving back to your hometown, or relocating to a city where you already have quite a few social or familial connections, this can ease the burden as well. (See also: 9 Ways to Save on a Move)

However, if you own a home (that you have to sell) and have to move a spouse, kids, pets, and furniture more than a couple of dozen miles, then relocation can run you tens of thousands of dollars.

Related to relocation are any cost-of-living increases that come from moving from a less expensive area to a more expensive one. If you are moving to a pricier locale, make certain that either the salary or the opportunity is worth the added cost of housing, groceries, and child care.

3. Longer Commute

Easily the most common cost associated with a new job is a new commute. If you've recently upgraded to a job with a shorter (or non-existent commute), then you are awesome and an example to us all.

If, however, you recently moved to the outskirts of town, only to find that all the jobs you qualify for are relocating to the center of the city, well, you are looking at some increases in costs.

Fuel, Wear and Tear, Parking

These might seem like obvious costs to calculate, but in addition to mileage, you need to consider how many hours you will spend on the road. Is your route to work a daily traffic jam, or are you lucking into a reverse commute? Consider not just distance, but time spent in the car.

If you are driving to work, is parking provided or do you have to pay for it?

Increased Fares

If you are lucky enough to live in an area that has reliable public transportation, but now have a longer commute, you might be surprised at how much more a round trip train ride can cost.

Extended Child Care or Pet Care

Do you have kids in daycare or pets that need to be let out of the house? Is a longer commute going to extend the number of hours you have to spend away from them? Consider these costs when looking at the big picture.

Take Out

Some people are really good at planning meals and having them ready to eat by the time dinner rolls around, but if you just spent two hours in the car driving home from work, you might be too tired to cook. Take-out pizza, anyone?

4. Health Insurance Changes

Yay, your new employer offers health insurance, right? Is it an HMO or a PPO? Are the premiums or deductibles higher than what you are currently paying? Is your current medical provider covered?

5. Reduced Benefits

Does your new employer offer the same kind of vacation package that your old one did? Does your new employer offer other benefits, like a 401(k) with matching? If you already had perks like these, make sure that your new employer has a similar benefits package (or at the very least, that the job itself is worth a cut in benefits). If you want to determine solid numbers to represent your total compensation package, you can use the CalcXML Total Compensation calculator to determine the difference between your current job and a prospective new one.

6. Increased Travel Requirements

If you work in a field that requires extensive travel, you already know the drill of expensing travel costs and getting your per diem. But increased travel, even when reimbursed in a timely manner, can come with other hidden costs. Do you need a house sitter or pet sitter?

7. Outside-of-Work Networking

Some jobs or industries require plenty of off-the-clock networking. Attending social events that aren't reimbursed can eat into your paycheck, but avoiding the kinds of networking events that your coworkers (or competitors) attend can also damage your career.

8. New Wardrobe

If you are changing careers or physical locations, it could be that your business casual wardrobe no longer cuts it. For instance, if you are moving from a tech job in a San Francisco start-up to a tech job with an investment bank in New York City, you may be expected, if not required, to wear much more formal work clothing. Outside of the office environment, some workplaces require you to wear clothing that they don't pay for. (For instance, my first job ever was at a Denny's that required me to purchase two neckties, at $30 a pop, out of my first paycheck.)

Get an early handle on the expected daily attire for a new job, and budget accordingly.

Have you ever taken a new job, only to be shocked by a hidden cost associated with the new job? Tell us about it in comments!

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Guest's picture

I had a job offer for a job in a retail store for aromatherapy (seasonal) but turned it down because it required leather shoes (not cheap) and all black attire within a day!