Companies that profited this year are still giving them out. Besides being nice to employees and thanking them for their hard work, employers would rather dole out that dough rather than fork it over to the government via taxes.
“I am seeing my clients, particularly attorneys, small business owners, and accountants set up cash balance plans and combination dividend benefit plans,” says Cary Carbonaro, a certified financial planner. “They are making additional contributions to retirement plans that employees were never getting before.”
For those who land that bonus, here are Carbonaro’s suggestions on what you should do with that extra cash:
1. Establish an emergency fund. If you don’t already have a nest egg of savings for three to six months of living, then that’s where that check should go.
2. Once the emergency fund is in place, put bonuses toward pay down debt.
3. Notice we still haven’t said spend it? When 1 and 2 are in the clear, depending on your situation, that money should go to investing for long-term retirement or college.
And for those who want to spend that hard-earned extra dough, Carbonaro suggests spending it on home improvement.
“That would increase value of your house once we’re out of this rut. If you spend the money this year you’re getting a tremendous discount. Construction and labor costs are down 50%.”