By: Revanche

First, let me SQUEE with excitement ..

December 24, 2006

then we’ll get down to business.

My holiday bonus came in and I can top off my emergency fund!! AND I have enough left over for a good running start at opening my Roth IRA before the April deadline for 2006 contributions!! I am beyond excited. I can’t believe that I’ve leapfrogged several months of saving!!! Well, I mean several months of *small* chunks of saving and frustration if I can’t quite make my savings goal for the month due to unforeseen circumstances. I know that the savings goals were ambitious but I really made it, AND before December 31st.

I had one tiny diversion from depositing the entire check into the e-fund and Roth fund, but you’ll have to see my San Diego trip confession for that, er, digression. Other than that, I was a good girl! I promise!

Do you know what this means? I can actually start throwing some money into the Ooops fund and then rewrite my budget to include contributions to the Roth, the wedding fund, the car (buying and maintenance of) fund and the travel fund. Er, ok that MIGHT be a little more ambitious than realistic, but still, the freedom, oh, the freedom to make that choice!

For so many paychecks, my savings progress felt so very agonizingly slow. It seemed that after crunching the numbers, crunching the tops of my pens and generally tip-tapping away at my calculators, it just wasn’t possible to stop staring at that pink and white e-fund bar because it was NEVER GOING TO FILL UP.

So there are about half-a-zillion things my office has done wrong this year, but the year-end bonus and Christmas gift was definitely not among them. As if topping off my e-fund and nearly filling up a Roth IRA contribution wasn’t exhilaratingly awesome enough, we got 30G video iPods. Of course it comes with a not-so-hidden barb for me: I’m heading up the new Podcasting with one of the newbies and this might be to shut up my “uhm, I wish I could help you but I don’t even HAVE an iPod, I don’t know how to work one!” excuses. This means that when Big Boss freaks out over an iPodly emergency, I’ll have to know how to rescue him. *eyeroll* 🙂 I’m joking — receiving an iPod when I could never justify the expense is pretty delish. And my little cousins are quite awesome as well and are filling it up with as much 80’s and country music my little blogger heart could wish for, free of charge as well.

Now to the serious stuff: holiday bonuses: Man, I love those things. Ok, I love them with this job because they actually give you one. I fondly (*cough, uh huh*) recall my previous job. Although the previous owners knew how to throw a fantastic holiday party, I never had the pleasure of experiencing it because soon after I started, they sold out to a corporation. They went from a full-on family atmosphere to a $30/employee, per year allowance. That wasn’t the bonus, mind you, that was an allowance to the company. The company would then generously take a $5 cut to pay for the main courses for the holiday party whether or not you could/would make it, and then let you select a $25 gift certificate/card from the list of fundraiser gift cards the head doc sold for his son’s school. Ahhh, yes, the good ole days.

Anyway, BoyDucky tells me that his bonuses are based on performance evaluations that are assessed by the employee and supervisor, which are passed on to the supervisor’s supervisor. The bonuses are in line with the recommendations: “meets expectations” gets you one set amount, “exceeds expectations” gets you whatever set amount that might be, and you see it in your next paycheck. I’m not sure how the taxes are considered in his case.

My bonus seems entirely subjective. Little Boss makes his list of names and recommendations and Big Boss either approves them or discusses them further. I’m absolutely positive that Big Boss’s ultimate say is more heavily influenced by his wish to appear the benevolent dictator than any sense of reality and appropriate reward for a job well or poorly done. I have no idea what the recommendations are based on, a percentage of the annual salary? The cost of his annoyance subtracted from the overall contribution that person made that year? The number of nickels in his pocket multiplied by their age? It’s supposed to be a merit bonus, but no idea have I. Big Boss then writes a personal note and the check which is sealed up and handed out at the office lunch. We get a 1099 at tax time and have to claim the bonus check at a contractor’s rate. Since no taxes are taken out, I would set aside an approximate amount from that money for the tax – it cannot be fun to realize that you owe x% of that big yummy check a few months later. I know that I was underclaiming allowances throughout the year and even though I increased my allowances substantially in the last few months, I’ll still be due a refund so I’m not worried about having the money to pay that tax.

The one thing I always try to stop myself from doing, knowing that the bonus is so subjective and NOT mandatory, is planning for it when I’m making my yearly financial goals.

How did you make out this year? How do bonuses work for you, if at all?

4 Responses to “First, let me SQUEE with excitement ..”

  1. Anonymous says:

    CONGRATS! Bonuses are definitely exciting stuff!

  2. I work for a non-profit. There is no bonus per se, but a little extra something, something.

  3. MoneyFwd says:

    This year was my first year of a real bonus. I’ve only been at my job 3 months, but they still gave me a prorated bonus (plus extra because I do such a great job I guess). Usually the bonus is 2 weeks salary. Pretty good for my type of work.

  4. I was reading all this news about the year-end bonus becoming phased out more and more. I always wonder why it’s so difficult to properly reward high performers and why the poor performers have to be kept happy? So nonPC, I know.

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