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Comparing Salary to the Cost of Living

April 12, 2019

Recently, CNBC released an article discussing student loan debt in relation to locations throughout the United States. This has many questioning whether they can find a job title in their field where they want to live, that will support their current bills, payments, lifestyle, and student loans. Depending on the location and cost of living, you could be making thousands less in one location when compared to another. To add more insult you could be expected to pay off more than you are capable of based on your location. When searching for a career path, it’s vital to consider where your job title is going to be the most successful and where you can afford your current lifestyle. Here are some important factors to keep in mind when

Location Expenses

Consider the cost of living in a variety of locations.  Everyday costs like food, housing, utilities, and transportation can all vary depending on where you live in the United States. Let’s see how a location can be affected by each of these variables.

Generally, big cities are known to be more costly compared to rural areas.  The Bureau of Economic Analysis tracks price levels for food, housing and education in each state and compares them to the national level. This information can be put into a dollar value scale to simplify which states are more expensive to live in than others. For example, the value of a dollar in New York, Hawaii, and California is less than the national average dollar. Meaning your dollar bill is comparable to some cent values in other locations. In states like Kansas, Kentucky, and Ohio that are not as urbanized the dollar values higher than the national average dollar. Meaning your dollar goes a little further in these areas.

 

Housing Costs

You may be asking, “What makes big cities so pricey?” and there are actually a few different reasons. The main drive for high priced locations is housing. For cities with a high population, there needs to be an abundance of housing. A high population causes overcrowded cities to have a limited amount of space for the number of people wanting to live there.   A high housing demand creates steep prices in the market because everyone is in need of a place to live. If the city life is looking a little out of budget for you, remember living outside the city and commuting is an option, and may be more cost-effective. Aside from the costs of housing, costs like transportation, utilities, and insurance may affect the cost of living.

 

Transportation Costs

We all know how expensive a car, gas, and maintenance can be. When commuting to work or even the supermarket, the distance between point A and point B will affect the amount of money you spend. .Whereas, living in the city you may literally be paying for convenience. You may be spending $200 or more a month on a permanent parking spot for your car, in addition to spending money on transportation fees. For example, in New York you could take a bus to the subway station, costing you around $2.50. Then you commute to work on the subway, costing you another $2.75. If you do this twice a day (at least) the commute will cost $10.50. Spending $10.50 five days a week for a month will get you to a grand total of $210.00 not even considering additional outings.  Please note that these prices may not be the same for all locations. For example, the average bus fare in Los Angeles is $1.75, but in Washington DC the bus fare ranges from $2.00-$5.00 depending on the commute.

 

Utilities

Utilities will also affect the cost of living, the amount depending on where you live. The cost of utilities can vary based on government regulations. Things like how much water, electricity, and gas, you are consuming can be dependent based on the weather where you are located. If you are living in a location where the winter can get very cold, that could be making a dent in your wallet on utility bills. For example, Alaska, Connecticut, and Massachusetts have an average electric rate of $21.62 per Kwh (kilowatt hour) a month.  In a place where it is always warm like Hawaii, the air conditioning may be used more frequently and the average electric rate would be $32.40 per Kwh a month.

 

Additional utility costs may include garbage removal and sewage costs. In the United States, the average cost for garbage removal is from $12.00 -$20.00 a household. Sewage rates are usually included in water rates that can be viewed with the electricity bill and can altogether be around $50.00.  In some cases, if you are living in an apartment, utilities like garbage removal and sewage will be included in your rent, or it can be separate on your electricity bill. Talk to your landlord or call housing management to find out what is included.

 

Insurance

Besides housing, transportation, and utilities, you will have car insurance, renter’s insurance.  The average rate for car insurance in the United States is $118.63 per month but can vary based on the location you are in. For example, the average cost of auto insurance in North Carolina is $865 each year while the average cost of auto insurance in Oklahoma is $1,542 a year. T Auto insurance pricing can depend on the company you have insurance with, your age, and even your gender!  For example, some companies will have a 1% price difference between genders.

 

If you choose to live in the city, it’s likely you may find yourself renting. Renter’s insurance is an additional cost you’ll want to consider.  The average, renter’s insurance in the United State is $187 per year. Renter’s insurance can be more expensive in some areas due to population and crime. If you live in a high populated area, insurance could be priced higher because the crime risk is higher.  The insurance company takes greater measures to cover your belongings in high populated areas. Renter’s insurance in Florida has an average rate of $217 per month, while in South Dakota the average rate is $118 a month.

 

Before completely scaring you back into your parent’s house for life, there are a few resources you can use to find a job and field of your choice, in areas that could be most profitable.

 

Job Search Resources

 

SimplyHired

https://www.simplyhired.com/salaries

SimplyHired will estimate the salary your specific job will be making in different locations. All you have to do is type in the job title you are looking for, and the city and state, into the search engine. Using this tool you can find out things like a nurse can make $50,000 in Dallas, Texas but, in Indianapolis, Indiana is making closer to $40,000. Although this does not calculate the cost of living, this website pulls up jobs from all over the United States. SimplyHired gives users easy access to salary information when starting to compare careers in different regions.

 

Check Out These 3 Steps to Negotiating Salary

 

Expatistan

https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/nashville

Cost of living is an important factor when searching for a location that is right for you and your preferred career. Hence why we created this helpful blog! Expatistan has a feature that pulls up a spreadsheet estimating how lifestyle choices may cost in different cities or even countries. For example, when searching in Nashville, Tennessee, Expatistan created a page that included potential prices for food, housing, clothes, transportation, personal care, and entertainment. Expatistan estimated:

 

Rent 900 Sq Foot Apartment – $1,408/month

Lunchtime Meal – $14

Sports Shoes – $98

Shampoo– $6

 

This website is a great place to find detailed estimates of what you may be spending on everyday items.  A tool like this can be very helpful when trying to manage the salary and lifestyle you are looking for.

 

CNN Money

https://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/index.html

After finding an estimated salary and cost of living for a specific location, you can compare it to other areas with CNN Money Cost of Living Calculator.  You’ll need to input

  • where you live now
  • where you are considering living
  • give an estimate of how much your salary is now (or what the salary is in the field you are searching for)

Based on the information provided, the calculator will estimate how much you would be making somewhere else. For example, if you live in Atlanta, Georgia right now and are making $50,000 a year, and you would like to move to Bozeman, Montana, the comparable salary is $50,709, which is around the same amount. Now if you moved, from Atlanta with a $50,000 salary to San Francisco, the comparable salary is $97,470. Once again, the cost of living will factor in what you can afford in each region.

 

Comparing salaries, regions, and the cost of living can help you determine where you’re aspiring jobs can be the most beneficial for your lifestyle. Consider where you will have the most financial wiggle room. Educate yourself on the cost of housing, transportation, utilities, and insurance before jumping into the car moving to a new city. Optimize your options by looking at the cost of convenience versus living outside of a location for less and other opportunities. What city you will feel the most at home in? If you are not satisfied with your options, try a different job title or location, you’re not a tree. Scope out all of your alternatives and find one that betters your lifestyle in the long run.

Top 7 Money Mistakes For Young Professionals

 

NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites
Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

 

Resources

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/economy/2018/05/10/cost-of-living-value-of-dollar-in-every-state/34567549/

https://ask.metafilter.com/37074/Why-is-it-more-expensive-to-live-in-a-city 

https://www.priceoftravel.com/595/public-transportation-prices-in-80-worldwide-cities/

https://www.chooseenergy.com/electricity-rates-by-state/

https://www.thezebra.com/auto-insurance/average-auto-insurance/#state

https://www.valuepenguin.com/average-cost-renters-insurance#nogo

https://www.valuepenguin.com/average-cost-life-insurance#nogo

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2019-07-15
Differentiate Your Company to Recruit the Best Employees

There’s fierce competition in the global marketplace to attract and retain high-potential employees. In a competitive hiring environment, your company needs to project a strong and appealing corporate identity to land the best team members.   Those recruiting employees are scrambling for differentiators and value propositions to make their company stand out. Companies that attract and keep employees who share in their vision have distinct advantages: lower turnover costs, a more committed workforce—and an increased ability to exceed sales and production goals. Many recent college graduates begin their careers, expecting to jump from job to job frequently. Changing that mindset is a significant challenge for businesses. The following suggestions can help your company attract the best new hires—and retain them for years to come.  

Polish Your Company Brand

Today’s job seekers are looking for more than just a good compensation package. They want to be part of a team that emphasizes shared values and a unified purpose. A company and its workforce should have a recognizable brand with clearly communicated values. By clarifying your core values and creating a cohesive mission statement, you define your business philosophy and give new recruits a glimpse into your workplace culture.   Make a deeper impression on potential new team members by going a step further: Let high-potential employees experience your company culture firsthand. Consider including activities like these in your recruitment process:  
  • Tour of facilities & on-site amenities
  • Lunch with staff at the corporate lunchroom
  • Face-to-face meetings with company or division heads
  • Informal conversations with valued team members
  • Off-site mastermind gatherings with new and existing employees
  You will reduce turnover costs when you identify new staff members who share your company values and have the potential to fit seamlessly into your corporate culture. Understanding your company’s management style and the characteristics of your most successful employees can prevent potential hiring mistakes. One of the most common reasons cited for an employee leaving a job is a “poor relationship with management.” Your company will succeed at employee retention when you understand and communicate your management style and company culture at the outset— before you have spent the resources to recruit and train the wrong candidate.  

Create a Meaningful Compensation Package

A competitive salary is essential to new team members, but other types of compensation may seal the deal. Companies seeking to differentiate themselves from competitors offer compensation packages that are meaningful to their employees. In addition to healthcare benefits, paid time off and 401K fund matches, employees are looking for perks and benefits that enhance their lifestyle.   A recent Robert Half survey cited these desirable additions to a company’s compensation package:  
  • Paid parental leave
  • Opportunities for professional development
  • Profit-sharing plans
  • Student loan reimbursement
  • Dental & vision insurance
  • On-site amenities like childcare, gym & concierge services
  • Compressed workweek
  • Telecommuting
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Paid time off for volunteering
  Many perks are an expression of your company’s culture, adding purpose and engagement for your high-potential employees. Consider sponsoring a community food drive or park clean-up. Host social events, investment seminars or concerts. You could also incorporate monthly rewards for employees who exceed expectations, such as a $50 meal certificate. This would drive your employees to perform to their highest every month and maintain workplace morale. Today’s recent grads respond to a work environment that meshes with their personal values and interests.    

Sell High Potential Employees on Your Company

Once you have identified a talented candidate for hire, make the sale. New recruits who understand how they fit into your company’s culture and structure are more likely to invest themselves and stay. Boost talent retention by defining a path forward within the company. New hires want to know they will have opportunities for professional development, continuing education and the possibility of internal promotion. Show them where they could be short term, such as a year or two in the future. Seeing the growth within arm’s reach will give them the drive to perform the best they can. They are also highly focused on achieving work-life balance. If your business model permits it, offer greater work flexibility with schedules that allow work-from-anywhere options and unstructured time on the job.  

Add Student Loan Repayment Benefits

Corporate help with student loan repayment is a big plus for high potential employees and a key business differentiator. ELFI for Business has the expertise to help your HR department put together an attractive hiring package with sought-after benefits like these:  
  • Financial education
  • Employer contribution match
  • On-site consultations
  • Budget-friendly refinancing options
  Connect with ELFI for Business right from your HR portal—or call 844.601.ELFI to discuss the positive impact these benefits have on hiring and engaging valuable team members.  

Why Are Employees Leaving Your Company?

  NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the web sites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.  
2019-07-03
Measuring the Costs of Employee Turnover

Best-selling business management author Jim Collins was asked during a 2001 interview if he had identified a good business response to the economic slowdown that had gripped the nation. His widely quoted answer is as relevant today as it was at the time:   “If I were running a company today, I would have one priority above all others: to acquire as many of the best people as I could [because] the single biggest constraint on the success of my organization is the ability to get and to hang on to enough of the right people."   Nearly 20 years later and in a highly improved economic climate, Collins’ words still encapsulate the biggest challenge facing HR departments of corporate giants and small start-ups alike: finding and retaining quality team members. In an era of competitive recruitment and job-hopping staff, your company risks losing monetary and human capital each time a valued employee chooses to leave. Employee turnover impacts your bottom line and your company's culture. To set wise employee retention policies, you first need to assess the costs of staff turnover accurately and measure the full impact of employee loss.  

Direct Costs of Replacing Employees

A talented employee exiting your company costs you money. Estimates of how much employee turnover costs can vary by industry and employee salary. A study by Employee Benefit News estimates the direct cost to hire and train a replacement employee equal or exceed 33% of a worker’s annual salary ($15,000 for a worker earning a median salary of $45,000). Cost estimates are based on calculatable expenses like these:
  • HR exit interview & paperwork
  • Benefit payouts owed to the employee
  • Job advertising, new candidate screening & interviewing
  • Employee onboarding costs
  • On-the-job training & supervision
You can track the expenses of your company’s employee turnover using this online calculator, or create a spreadsheet to determine how actual costs add up to affect your bottom line.  

Full Impact of Employee Loss

Josh Bersin, a human resource researcher, writing for LinkedIn, refers to employees as a business’s “appreciating assets.” Good employees grow in value as they learn systems, understand products and integrate into their teams. When one of these valuable employees leaves, the business loses more than just the cost of hiring and training a replacement. Bersin cites these additional factors contributing to the total cost of losing a productive employee:
  • Lost investment: A company typically spends 10 to 20% of an employee’s salary for training over two to three years.
  • Lost productivity: A new employee takes one to two years to reach the level of an exiting employee. Supervision by other team members also distracts those supervisors from their work—and lowers the team’s collective productivity.
  • Lost engagement: Other team members take note of employee turnover, ask “why?” and may disengage.
  • Less responsive, less effective customer service: New employees are less adept at solving customer problems satisfactorily.
  According to Bersin, studies show the total cost of an employee’s loss may range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5 to 2 times that employee’s annual salary.  

Strategies to Slow Employee Turnover Rates

An effective exit interview helps you and your HR team pinpoint the drivers of your company’s employee turnover. You may find that hiring practices need to be refined or employee engagement should be enhanced. Changes to the break room space, such as fresh fruit or games, will allow your employees to relax and come back to work with fresh eyes and a better attitude. This will keep up the workplace morale, shaping your company culture to include perks appealing to younger workers and will lead to increased job satisfaction. Today’s employees are career-oriented and highly motivated. Keep them on your team with other opportunities such as:  
  • Pathway for advancement within the company
  • Professional development & advanced education
  • Flex-time & work-from-anywhere options
  • Management support & recognition
  • Lifestyle rewards or amenities like catering & concierge services
  • Culture of shared values & volunteerism
 

Add Student Loan Benefits Through ELFI

Student loan repayment tops the financial-worries checklist of many recent graduates. Older team members question their ability to pay for educating their children. New, highly desirable HR benefits like student loan contributions and financial literacy education are emerging from these employee concerns—and ELFI for Business is leading the way for employers to incorporate them into hiring packages. You can connect with ELFI directly from your HR portal and access multiple ways to contribute to employees’ student loan debt. We offer new-hire onboarding booklets, educational newsletters and onsite consultations filled with information for you and your employees. Reach out to us at 1.844.601.ELFI to add cutting-edge benefits to your HR employee package!  

Learn More About ELFI for Business

  NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the web sites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.
2019-06-28
How Do You Become an Employer of Choice?

Is your company—the company everyone in your industry wants to work for or an “Employer of Choice?” Employers of choice consistently retain their highest performing employees and attract the best and the brightest over their competitors.  Employers of choice have little trouble recruiting talent since college graduates line up eagerly to interview for coveted jobs.   In today’s competitive labor market, the majority of companies do not qualify as employers of choice. Their workforces are in constant flux, and the cost of employee turnover is hurting the bottom line. Fortunately, that cycle can be halted and reversed. Any business can become an employer of choice by following these five strategies to transform company culture into one that (1) delivers value to employees, and (2) encourages their engagement.  

Make Your Workplace a Positive Environment

If your business has been getting by with lackluster performance and frequent turnover, you’ll need a critical eye to evaluate the current culture. Try to hire for longevity and look for the best possible fit for each unique position. Employers of choice search for employees who can make a positive impact on not only their work but their team, too.   With capable and involved staff, from new-hires to top management, you can build a workplace recognized for its atmosphere of trust, personal growth, and positive performance. There’s no room for micromanagement in this kind of workplace environment. Entrust your employees with a mission, direction, and goals—then step aside. Allow them to make decisions and respect their choices. In a positive environment, differences of opinion become opportunities for learning and growth.  

Provide Relevant Compensation & Benefits

Competitive compensation has always been a hook to catch the attention of potential employees. Even if your business cannot support top-tier pay and benefits, you can shape your compensation package to deliver the value your employees want. Offer the best salary you can afford and supplement it with bonuses and perks that reward company performance. Recognize that today’s employees place a high value on their time—and offer flexible scheduling and remote work options. Consider turning the standard break room into a comfortable lounge where workers can relax, play games or socialize. Go beyond the traditional benefits by adding college loan contributions, paid time off for family emergencies and parental leave to your benefits package.  

Encourage Professional Growth

Engaged employees have a keen interest in professional growth and career development. Employers of choice encourage this interest by supporting their team with relevant training and additional growth opportunities, including:  
  • Professional development seminars
  • On-the-job continuing education
  • Exposure to new tasks through job rotation
  • Tuition reimbursement for certifications & advanced degrees
  • Pathways for advancement
 

Establish Transparency

People like to know where they stand in a relationship, job, or career. Professionals who feel uncertain about their place in the organization, workplace expectations, or their own performance may seek other opportunities with another company. Transparent communication and clearly defined expectations give your team the perspective they need to stop worrying and start investing in the job. Employers of choice also develop channels for mentoring, giving helpful feedback and praise, and rewarding performance and risk-taking. They provide opportunities for teams to voice their ideas and concerns. Feeling safe and appreciated, employees buy-in to the company culture and become engaged.  

Create a Collaborative Culture

If your company is to become an employer of choice, you must develop a respectful and collaborative community. Engaged employees appreciate corporate responsibility, and they have expectations of your business that go beyond products, services, and profits. Workers want to feel their companies are good local and global citizens. Employers who embrace charitable outreach are rewarded with employees who are more confident, purposeful, and willing to work as a team. You can boost staff morale and develop a meaningful and relevant work community by sponsoring activities that include:  
  • Food & clothing drives
  • National fundraisers
  • Community clean-up initiatives
  • Health & wellness fairs
  • Recycling events
  • Health awareness campaigns
 

Become an Employer of Choice With ELFI for Business

Today, a college degree is more accessible than ever—and more expensive. An employer contribution to student loan repayment is one of the best ways to attract loyal employees. ELFI has created a cutting-edge benefits program that is easy to access through your HR portal and includes multiple incentives for attracting and keeping top talent. Take the first step to becoming an employer of choice.  

See Why Employees Leave

    NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.