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Understanding Your Paycheck

This first post is in a series of many where I’ll post my paycheck and tell you exactly what I did with it.

It’s so taboo to post our paychecks in our culture, isn’t it? I’ve thought about every possible scenario and the worst thing I can think of is I get kidnapped and someone is gonna try to get at my money.


Understanding Your Paycheck

The green is the income from working and various other things I get paid for.

The red box shows the various taxes I pay.

The blue box shows the benefits that my work pays for.

The black box (hard to see) is the 401(k) that’s subtracted from my paycheck.

The turquoise arrow with black outline shows the actual amount that’s deposited in my account… the amount that brings a smile to my face. 


Income Box

  • base income
  • stipends
  • income towards disability insurance
  • extra hours worked (don’t have any on this check)

So this box shows the actual base gross salary at $8,683.50 and there is a stipend for being full-time, $417 every paycheck.

There is $83.34 for educational expenses such as CME’s.

I get $167 for supervising 2 PA’s whose charts I review regularly.

$250 for being in charge of 2 clinics out of a total of 6 urgent care sites that we run.

The last item is the IMPUTED LTD which is the long-term disability payment that’s paid to me and then taken out to pay for my LTD premiums.

My total (gross, or taxable) income was $9,772.76… well, minus the $171.92 for the LTD… so $9,600.84. My YTD (year-to-date) income is listed as $153,183.53.


Tax Box

  • social security taxes
  • medicare taxes
  • federal income taxes
  • state income taxes
  • local taxes (don’t have any)
  • disability/unemployment taxes

For more information about taxes that most docs pay see this post.

The payroll taxes are the SO SEC TAX which is the social security taxes. It’s at $0 because I have already maxed out my portion which is 6.2% of $118,000.

Next one is medicare taxes, again, refer to the post above to get the details of that. On this paycheck $141.71 from the gross $9,722.76 went to medicare.

Federal income taxes are at $2,141.92 with a YTD total of $34,749.87.

Next, state taxes for Oregon… $824.47 and a YTD of $13,060.61. Last, disability and unemployment, SDI/UC tax of $1.44.


Benefits Box

  • 401k 2% matching
  • 401a 9% towards my retirement (called money purchase plan)
  • Cash balance plan (not listed on my paycheck for some reason)

In this box you can see what my employer puts aside on my behalf. This comes out of their pocket and I’m not taxed on it.

$192.02 for my 401k matching at 2% (2% of $9,600.84 gross paycheck).

For the 401a I get 9% of my gross paycheck set aside, $864.08 for a YTD of $13,344.22.

My cash balance plan isn’t listed which “they are working on”. I am not a fan of lack of transparency… unfortunately when it comes to your paycheck it is borderline intentional how indecipherable this shit is.

Understanding your paycheck takes time. It’s done differently by each HR department. Sit down with an HR person and have them go through each item line by line. This paycheck is from Kaiser Permanente, for reference.


In Summary

Hopefully this helped you with understanding your paycheck.

It can be very obscure and calling HR can be even more frustrating because the majority of those individuals cannot figure out their own paycheck. Errors will be made on your paycheck, it’s inevitable. So look over it regularly.

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