Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas Bonus

Christmas comes twice a year for some Canadians - or so they think.
The three-paycheque month is viewed across this country as some type of well-earned bonus that comes through the sleight of hand of being paid every two weeks as opposed to twice a month.
Instead of 24 paycheques a year, you get 26. When you get that "lucky" month depends on when your two-week pay period is calculated. For whatever reason, perhaps because people budget on a monthly basis, those two extra paycheques are considered gravy by many workers.
Most people budget on a monthly basis. We know people have their monthly mortgage payments and certainly other expenses are probably monthly too but in most cases your paycheque is coming on a biweekly basis
Approximately 59% of Canadians get paid on a biweekly basis, opening up the possibility of the three-paycheque month.  The good news is that 89% of people go for direct deposit - something that probably goes a long way to eliminating that feeling of money burning a whole in your pocket.
The problem with being paid on a biweekly basis is that many people feel they have extra money to burn.  After all  you had already allocated your regular two paycheques towards your mortgage and other bills. So, bonus – right?
If your thinking is that you've got some sort of free month, then it likely means you are not doing a good job of coordinating your income with your bills.  The problem is that this is a major mistake, and at the end of the day that third paycheque should probably be thought of more as an opportunity.
 The other time people think money is free is RRSP time when they get their taxes [or refund] back from the government.
If you're complaining about not having enough money, use these opportunities to liberate what is yours. These are the times you should be dealing with your debt, if you are like many Canadians, topping up your savings or some combination of the two.
When you think about all the unpaid credit-card balances, leftover RRSP room, unopened registered education savings plans and underfunded tax-free savings accounts, there are plenty of places to put those extra paycheques.
In some ways, that extra paycheque is almost a bit of forced savings. It's yours. Do what you want with it, but why not make it go a lot further by investing it?
Of course, it is December. So if this is your three-paycheque month, Merry Christmas.

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