No bonus this year :(

We just found out that the better half’s company will not pay any bonus this year. Like many other companies, his company has decided to forego the bonuses in an effort to avoid lay offs. We are glad we don’t have to worry about losing a job (just yet), but nevertheless, we can’t help but feel a bit disappointed about the bonus. :(

Every year that the better half has been working, he has got a bonus. It has some times been a small amount, and at other times a tidy sum. Year after year, without fail, Santa showed up in our household in March/April :) The first year, we used the bonus to pay off part of the credit card debt. The second year, we used it to pay off our car loan. I will remember that day forever! We walked into the credit union from where we had obtained the auto loan, asked for the pay off amount and wrote the check. And with that one signature, we bought back our peace of mind and the exhilaration of being completely debt fee. It swept our meager savings clean, but still, an ear-to-ear grin seemed to escape out of us every time we thought how good it felt to owe nothing! In the subsequent years as well, the bonus was always put to good use; to partially pay for our wedding expenses, to save for the down payment of our current home and to start a fund for our first investment property. We have got so used to receiving a bonus, that we did not even expect that there might not be any, this year. Oh, the signs were there all right; it has been painfully obvious that his company isn’t doing as well as it had been during the past few years. But we never questioned whether there will be a bonus – our thinking was always along the lines of “this year the bonus will probably be low”. What’s worse, we have gotten into the habit of working it into our annual budget too! This year the bonus was set aside as a possible source for paying off the remaining balance on our investment property, with any remaining amount to be used as the seed money for our next investment property!

My job is too new. Also, my company isn’t doing all that well either. So I don’t know if my company will pay any bonus this year, either. According to the company policy, I will qualify for receiving the bonus if it is awarded, but then I suspect it will be prorated. So, if at all I receive a bonus, it will likely be very small and will probably not count much.

It’s not that big a deal really. The balance of the money we need to pay for the investment property is not due right away. By shuffling our annual budget a little bit, we should be able to raise the required amount fairly easily, while still meeting our aggressive mortgage payment schedule and 401K goals. We will probably have to put off starting the seed fund for our second investment property to the very end of this year or to the early part of next year. Also, a short vacation we were planning to take this month, is off :( If my car holds on for a little longer, we should do just fine. If on the other hand the car gives up on me and I am forced to get another car, things may get a bit tight. We’ll see.

We did learn a valuable lesson. Never take anything for granted. And, never count your chicken before the eggs hatch. Fortunately, right now it’s just the bonus that’s been affected. We are still blessed to have good jobs and are relatively debt-free (but for the mortgage and the future installments for the investment property). And we are fairly well synched about our priorities and don’t get into arguments over money issues (knock on wood). So, for now, while there’s a bit of disappointment in the ISPF household, peace and happiness for what we have, still reigns (again, knock on wood).

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