Workplace financial tips to remember

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September 07, 2023 | Ben Heinze

Your job is likely your primary source of income; therefore, knowing how to navigate financial matters at your workplace is important for maintaining strong finances. From knowing your rights as an employee to making the most of benefits like a 401K, these workplace financial tips will prepare you to successfully navigate the financial aspects of work.

Know your employee rights

The U.S. guarantees a variety of rights to employees, many of which are related to compensation. Here are a few issues that commonly arise between employees and their employers. Knowing what the law says helps ensure you receive the full compensation you’ve earned, and it is always smart to consult a labor attorney if one of these situations arises.

Hours worked and breaks

Employees in the U.S. largely fall into two categories—hourly and salaried employees. As a salaried employee, you are paid a fixed amount regardless of the hours worked. As an hourly employee, you are paid based on the hours worked.

This means all time worked as an hourly employee must be compensated. Additionally, hourly employees are usually entitled to overtime pay when working beyond 40 hours in a week. Some states have additional laws surrounding paid breaks, which may be required to be given based on how long you work in a given shift.

Minimum wage and tipping

While many employees are familiar with the minimum wage in their state, things can get complicated for employees regularly receiving tips. This is because many states allow employers to pay tipped employees below the minimum wage, with the expectation that the tips will make up or exceed the difference.

If you are a tipped employee, familiarize yourself with your state’s laws to ensure you are receiving the full minimum wage or above after accounting for tips. If your wage falls below the minimum wage after tips, you are entitled to receive those wages from your employer.

Maximize your benefits

Full-time employees often have access to a benefits package. Knowing how to make the most of your benefits can be very advantageous for your finances. To fully understand your benefits, read over your employee handbook or set up time with someone in your human resources department so that you can fully understand your benefits to ensure you’re making the most out of them.

Retirement accounts and matching

A 401K is a powerful tool to help you prepare for retirement. With a 401K, you can contribute pre-tax dollars and invest them to help fund your retirement. Many employers also offer a Roth 401K, where you contribute post-tax dollars in exchange for the money growing tax-free. If your employer matches a percentage of your contributions, that gives you a huge instant boost to your contributions. Getting your full employer match is suggested if you’re financially able to contribute the amount to receive it.

If you don’t have a 401K, check to see if you have access to another type of retirement account, such as a 403b if you are a nonprofit employee. Finally, pensions, which offer regular payments in retirement, are far less common today than they used to be but can be very powerful due to the stable post-retirement income they provide.


Navigating insurance options, such as health, dental and vision, offered by your employer can be complex. Here are a few general tips to keep in mind that apply to all types of insurance:

  • If you’re married and in a dual-income household, compare your employer’s insurance options with your spouse’s. Insurance benefits can vary significantly by employer, and one of you may have a better option.
  • Consider what you and your family’s needs are. While some type of health insurance is advised, you likely can choose from a handful of plans that offer different benefits, deductibles, premiums, etc. The same applies to dental and vision insurance, though those tend to be more straightforward plans.
  • Look at other insurance types offered through your benefits package, such as term life insurance and short- and long-term disability insurance. Sometimes, an employer may provide these to you at no cost. These insurance types often go overlooked compared to health, dental and vision insurance, but they are still important.


Some employers offer reimbursement programs that can offset costs such as continuing education or fitness. Common reimbursement programs include:

  • Tuition reimbursement: This is a great benefit that you can use to increase your skills, education and career at a discount. Take a close look at your employer’s policy for the amount reimbursed and if you need to remain at the company for a certain length of time to keep the reimbursement. Some policies also allow certifications and online courses outside of a formal academic institution to qualify.
  • Wellness reimbursements: This could go towards a gym membership, fitness equipment, athletic events you participate in and more. Taking advantage of this benefit is a great way to save money on something you already do or start developing healthy exercise habits.
  • Commuting and travel reimbursements: This may include parking and public transit costs. Some companies may fully reimburse these costs, while others may have a program where you can pay for those expenses with pre-tax dollars. If your job involves travel, you will likely receive stipends and reimbursements for mileage (if using your personal vehicle), lodging and food.

Review your paystubs

It’s a great idea to periodically review your paystubs to ensure everything is correct, especially if there is a change in your compensation or benefits. While most paystub errors aren’t malicious, mistakes happen. These errors often persist on every paycheck until it’s manually fixed. Double-check that your hours worked, total pay, deductions and taxes all look correct. When in doubt, contact your HR or payroll department. If there is an error, you are entitled to receive any lost wages that resulted from it. Keeping these workplace financial tips in mind, especially when starting a new job, will go a long way to keeping your finances in order. With your job likely making up most of your income, knowing how to navigate these aspects of your workplace is essential to your financial health.


Learn more about financial wellness in the workplace:

Ben Heinze is a marketing content specialist with a passion for financial education. Instilled with a strong sense of frugality from a young age, he views money as a means to building the life you want, rather than an end in itself. From reading Money Mentor, he hopes you discover new ways money can be used to build your ideal life—whatever that may look like.

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