The Holidays are expensive. Between gift buying, travel expenses, and other end of the year costs, you can end up ringing in the New Year with a depleted savings account. But if you play your cards right, you may be able to offset some of that spending — and start the new year in a better financial position — thanks to an end of the year bonus.
According to a survey from Accounting Principals, a year end bonus is actually a possibility for many Americans. The survey found that in 2015, 67% of companies had plans to give holiday bonuses to employees, with an average bonus of $858. But while these are encouraging odds, how can you ensure that your boss recognizes your hard work and rewards it?
Start by checking out these tips to help make sure you get the year end bonus you deserve!
Keep Track of Your Successes
When it comes to any discussion of raises or bonuses, its important to have plenty of evidence of your value to the company. That way, when your boss asks why, specifically, you think you deserve a holiday bonus, you can present her with facts to support your proposition. Whenever you can, try to include numerical evidence to quantify your argument.
Be Willing to Volunteer for Extra Work
When the time comes for Holiday bonuses to be doled out, you want your boss to remember you as a team player, eager to do whatever needs to be done to ensure the success of the company. That means being the first one to volunteer to pick up any slack, cover any unexpected work, and assist the team at every given opportunity. According to Kim Gottschalk, Senior Regional Vice President at Accounting Principals, "Most companies are willing to reward their hardworking staff during the holidays as a way to thank them for their efforts throughout the year. Prove that you are a valuable employee that deserves a little extra recognition!"
Know How Your Company Handles Holiday Bonuses
Not every company even gives out Holiday bonuses, and those that do tend to have a variety of ways of going about it. Make sure you know your companies policy, and what exactly the bonuses are based on. Do the employees with the best numbers get the bonuses? Or is it up to the boss to decide who deserves a bonus? Priya Malani, an entrepreneur and partner at Stash Wealth, told Bustle that, "It's your responsibility to know the competitive range for bonuses for your position within your industry — so do the research, or ask around. Be clear with your boss about your expectations and then, when the time is right, ask your boss if the company is looking to be on track for bonus season."
Laura C. Browne, co-author of Raise Rules for Women: How To Make More Money At Work says, "This may sound obvious but most people won't do it. Ask your boss, 'What can I do to help you so I can get a bonus this year?'" While this may sound intimidating, your boss will probably appreciate your initiative, and it ensures that they're aware that you'd like to be considered for a bonus, making it more likely that they take notice of your hard work. However, it's important not to present the idea as a demand, but to instead phrase it as a question of how you can further help the company, and in doing so earn the bonus.
A Holiday bonus can be a huge help that positively affects your life all year long, so it's important to do everything you can now to ensure all the hard work you've done in the past year is rewarded!
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When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.