Understanding Your Paycheck

Sample Paycheck To Help You Understand What All These Secret Terms Mean


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. However, in today’s world where kidnapping happens there are ways to protect yourself… maybe that’ll be a future post.

So here it is. 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 blue arrow with black outline shows the actual amount that’s deposited in my account… the amount that brings a smile to my face. 

8/15 Paycheck
8/15 Paycheck


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. I get $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

  • 401(k) 2% matching
  • 401(a) 9% towards my retirement (called profit sharing)
  • 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 401(k) 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 hard it is for one to figure out this little piece of paper.


In Summary

Hopefully this helped you figure out your own W2 paycheck. 1099‘s are much easier to figure out. 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, I can almost guarantee you this. So look over it regularly.

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