Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine >> Administration >> Tips for New Staff: >> Acquiring Money

Tips for New Staff:
Acquiring Money:
Annual Allowance, Bank Loans, Establishing Credit


The American currency is issued in the following coins and notes. For most daily living, the most useful of all coins and bills are the 25 cent coin, which is accepted by all payphones and vending machines, and the 1 dollar bill, which is accepted by most vending machines.

American Currency Types
Coin Notes
1 "cent" coin "Penny" $1 "dollar" bill
5 coin "Nickle" $2 bill (seldom used)
10 coin "Dime" $5 bill
25 coin "Quarter" $10 bill
$1 coin (gold Sacagawea, seldom used) $50 bill
$1 coin (silver Susan B. Anthony, seldom used) $100 bill


Visiting faculty get an annual academic allowance of 1500 ($US) to spend on professional meetings, books and other academic expenses.

How Much Money To Bring

It is advisable to bring about 10,000-15,000 ($US) to cover initial expenses, (e.g. monthly rent of $1000 + last month's rent of $1000 + damage deposit of $300 = $2300, plus furnishings as very few rental accommodations are rented furnished). Cheap furniture is available at charity organizations, such as Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul.

What You Can Survive On Financially

This is obviously dependent on your spending habits and vacations, but it is worth noting what the residents and fellows are surviving on with not a lot left over for savings. The residents are all earning from $42,132 to $49,284 gross before deductions and the fellows earn about $51,780. Clearly if you are able to secure any additional funding from your home country then this can help a great deal.


It is worthwhile establishing an account with a U.S. bank in advance of your arrival in the United States. Many U.S. banks have links with banks overseas. Enquire with your own bank if it has an association with any U.S. banks.

Credit Cards

Most outlets in the U.S. accept credit cards. Exceptions may be government agencies which sometimes access only cash or checks.

Establishing a credit history

Unlike other countries, credit worthiness in the United States is not based on an individual's employment history or income, but on his / her credit history. A credit history in the United States can only be established with a credit card issued by a U.S. bank. The credit history applies only to those individuals whose names appear on the account. Debit cards automatically issued with the opening of a current account in the U.S. will not contribute to a credit history. Credit cards issued by banks outside the U.S. are not accepted for a credit history in the U.S. For individuals planning to stay in the U.S for more than one year, the creation of a credit history can be of great importance.

The easiest way for a newcomer to the U.S. to create a credit history is to apply for a credit card with a U.S. bank by paying a deposit functioning as a secured credit limit. All banks and also some corporations, such as airlines, and bookstore and supermarket chains, offer this kind of secured credit card covered by a deposit, often starting as low as 200 ($US). One can choose a higher deposit to start with, or increase the deposit over time. The deposit will be transferred for one year onto a blocked savings account paying a low interest rate. By using the credit card, it is then important to pay off the accumulated dept on a monthly basis. After one year, the secured credit card has to be cancelled, so that the deposit becomes available to the account holder again. Most banks, however, will retain the deposit for one year plus one month to cover possible late claims. At that time, the bank or corporation will review the credit history of the individual and if all credits have been paid off in a timely fashion, an unsecured credit card can be applied for by the residents ("Green Card" holders) or American citizens only.

It is important to know that only credit payoffs over at least six months duration will contribute to the establishment of a credit history. The goal is to create a good credit history with regular payoffs of debt. For the creation of a sufficient credit history, one should regularly pay off at least the minimum amount demanded by the monthly credit bill. For the creation of a good credit history, one should regularly pay off at least 2-3 times the minimum amount demanded by the monthly credit bill. However, it is financially advisable to pay off the monthly credit in full because of the high interest rates credit cards charge for unpaid credits. The advantage of a good credit history in the U.S. is the much lower interest rates one will be charged for goods purchases in installments, such as cars, etc.


All the banks have a very easy attitude towards loans. The most common one used by new staff from overseas is in the purchase of a vehicle. You will be able to use the car as collateral for the loan. As a Washington state employee you are eligible to join the Washington State Employees Credit Union ( or the School Employees Credit Union of Washington (, which offer low interest car loans.