Personal finances

Personal finance tips for student journalists: Navigating your first job offer, budgeting and more – Poynter – Poynter

Summary

The Lead is a weekly newsletter that provides resources and connections for student journalists in both college and high school. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox every Wednesday morning during the school year.

You’ve probably heard from a professor, parent or friend who’s a business major: “You won’t get rich as a journalist.”

That may well be true — entry-level jobs don’t often pay well, and wages throughout the industry haven’t ke…….

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The Lead is a weekly newsletter that provides resources and connections for student journalists in both college and high school. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox every Wednesday morning during the school year.

You’ve probably heard from a professor, parent or friend who’s a business major: “You won’t get rich as a journalist.”

That may well be true — entry-level jobs don’t often pay well, and wages throughout the industry haven’t kept up with the cost of living. But what does that mean for your daily life, and how can you make smart financial decisions as you enter the workforce?

I brought these questions to Julia Carpenter, who writes about personal finance for The Wall Street Journal. Her reporting examines the traditional financial milestones that feel increasingly out of reach: owning a home, living debt-free, retiring on your own terms. My favorite piece of hers is The Nest Egg Game, a Game of Life-esque interactive where you can see how different financial choices affect a cartoon egg’s hypothetical future.

Carpenter offered advice for young journalists on negotiating, budgeting, benefits and more based on her expertise and her personal experience. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Looking back on the start of your journalism career, is there anything you wish you’d done differently financially? What do you wish you’d known?

My first job in journalism was as a contract employee at The Washington Post. As a contract employee, you have to save money for taxes. I had a guesstimate of how much I’d need, so I saved it, but then when tax season came around, it was more than I’d saved, so I had to stretch the last bit to make sure I could pay it. I wish I’d known the tax implications of working freelance or contract.

I also wish I’d known that journalism is an industry in which you can negotiate your salary. I didn’t negotiate for my first five years! I didn’t know I could and there was that wiggle room. I didn’t think to question what the offer was, what my peers make, what job I’m doing compared to them, what other outlets are paying.

Early in my career, I was working at a place that offered a 401k match — a small match, but it was significant for my small retirement account. I didn’t know to take advantage of that and didn’t do that for the first two years. It’s free money!

Negotiating can be stressful when you haven’t had a previous full-time job. How can students figure out what’s a reasonable amount to ask for, and how should they approach negotiating?

It’s an important calculation, and it’s super specific to where your …….

Source: https://www.poynter.org/educators-students/2021/personal-finance-tips-for-student-journalists-navigating-your-first-job-offer-budgeting-and-more/