31 March 2016

Your first job: learning to stand on your own 2 feet

Living at home with your family might have been comfortable. But now you are going to have to manage on your own: dealing with paperwork, understanding contracts, managing your time and your money,… There are a lot of new things to cope with, but you will learn quickly!

Health insurance: time to stop relying on your parents

From the age of 25, or as soon as you start work, you are no longer covered by your parents' health insurance. This means that you will have to register with a health insurance company to have your medical costs reimbursed. It does not cost a lot, and it is important to make sure you are protected. You can often register online.

25 years old: no more family allowance

Family allowance is paid automatically until you are 18 years old. When you are between 18 and 25 it is only granted if you are still studying, in training or looking for a job. Once you are over 25, your parents are no longer eligible to receive it. There is a price to pay for independence.

Your first month's pay: do not confuse gross and net

Did your employer tell you what your gross earnings would be? That is not the amount you will get at the end of the month. First of all, your social security contributions have to be deducted. That will give you your gross taxable salary. From this you subtract withholding tax (a monthly deduction of the estimated amount of tax you owe) and the remaining amount will be paid into your bank account every month.

Tax return: less complicated than it looks

Every year it raises its ugly head, and you cannot hide from it! What is it? Your tax return, which can be completed online or on paper. You declare your total earnings for the year. Based on this information, the tax authorities work out how much taxes you owe, then check whether the amount that you already paid in withholding tax was enough, and whether you are going to get some money back or pay more. Want to pay less taxes? There are ways to reduce it, such as pension savings plans.

Only just started work and feel like a holiday?

In the private sector you are entitled to take holidays as soon as you have worked 3 full months. Thanks to the youth vacation scheme, in some cases you can take holidays and receive an allowance at the same time. In the public sector, holiday days are granted directly, as a proportion of the number of days you have worked.