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Analyze Your Circumstances

Magnifying glass with coinsNow that you have some idea of items you might want to change, focus first on those you want to change within one year.

Changing Your Income

Address money concerns by analyzing your monthly income with SAM's Budget Worksheet.

Consider how a job change might affect your ability to meet your monthly obligations (the regular expenses you must pay every month). How much money do you need to make each month? Could you possibly take a job that pays less than your current job? Do you need to make significantly more than you currently make to feel financially stable?

Changing Your Skills or Profession

Stack of booksWhat skills do you have and what skills will you need to keep yourself relevant? The answer does not necessarily mean returning to school for an advanced degree. You can use the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify skills and training for many careers. CareerOneStop from the U.S. Department of Labor also offers information about skills, degree requirements and salary. 

There are many options for continuing your education. Research acceptance requirements and the full cost of attending school (including missed work time) before committing to any educational program:

  • Internship, apprenticeship or volunteering. Internships usually are unpaid, but they can help you evaluate an industry and begin working right away. Apprenticeships often combine training with classroom instruction. 
  • U.S. military. The military offers highly specialized training for a multitude of jobs, with benefits for college tuition, insurance and retirement. 
  • Two-year college. Community and junior colleges typically offer associate’s degrees and specialized certifications that can be earned by taking night classes and online courses, allowing you to continue working while in school. 
  • Four-year college or university. These institutions offer the widest selection of degrees; however they also come with the biggest price tag and time commitment. Just to apply to a four-year program takes a lot of time and money. Many institutions require you to take entrance exams such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in addition to writing admissions essays, gathering reference letters and paying a fee to apply. And even then, you are not guaranteed admission. 
SAM tips

Changing Your Benefits and Perks

Employee benefits can increase the value of your salary by 20 percent to 50 percent. Even if you think you can earn more with another employer, you may find that the benefits and associated costs are greater. Conduct a careful analysis of your benefits (monetary and otherwise) before you change jobs. Use this worksheet to help you.

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