What You Shouldn’t Do
- Rack up credit card debt in advance of your bonus expecting to pay it off.
- Use it to treat your family and friends to oversized Christmas gifts.
- Spend it all on electronics and clothing for yourself.
- Count your chickens before they hatch. Even if you’ve been told how much your bonus is, it will be taxed like regular income. Because of all the factors that play into it, don’t assume you know exactly how much will land in your account.
- Plan your finances around the same bonus showing up next year.
Before visions of Jimmy Choos and digital cameras go dancing through your head, here are step-by-step instructions from Certified Financial Planner, Stephany Kirkpatrick, on how to handle that chunk of change for maximum happiness.