Most workers will see increases in their take-home pay sometime in February as employers begin using the new federal income tax tables for 2018.
Estimates of those increases range from about $50 to $200 a month, depending on your income, withholding allowances, and whether you’re paid weekly, biweekly or monthly.
Lance Palmer, professor of financial planning, housing and consumer economics at the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences, says that to get the most value out of that paycheck increase, pretend it isn’t happening.
“Set up automatic transfers for the money so it never gets into your hands and your good decisions last all year long,” Palmer said.
He offered these four specific suggestions:
Four smart moves to make with that take-home pay increase
- Max out the match: Make sure you’re contributing enough to your employer-sponsored retirement plan to maximize any matching contribution from your employer.
- Pay yourself, not the bank: Dedicate the extra money to paying off high-interest credit cards first and make the payment automatic.
- Plan for the unexpected: Prepare for emergencies by contributing to a health savings account if you’re covered by a qualifying high-deductible health plan.
- Double down on tax savings: Take the savings and contribute to an IRA or employer-sponsored plan to realize additional tax savings now or take the tax savings and put it into a ROTH IRA or after-tax employer plan and lower your tax bill in retirement.