It's that time of year again where most General Motors employees will be eligible to receive their annual profit-sharing check on February 25th. This year, approximately 42,500 U.S. hourly workers will receive up to $10,250 in profit sharing. This is a major annual event that occurs for most General Motors employees.
If you are looking for ways to maximize this benefit beyond its fullest potential here are a few tips:
Build your emergency fund. A general rule of thumb is to have enough money to cover 3-6 months worth of expenses if you do not have children. For those that have children, 6-12 months worth of expenses in cash is recommended. If you are low on cash, now is a good time to build those reserves for unexpected emergencies.
Pay off debt. A lump sum of cash is a great opportunity to take care of some of that outstanding debt. Paying down debt is always a good thing, but knowing what to pay is the key. It is best to start by paying down the debt that is carrying the highest interest rate and work your way down the list. It is even better if you can pay some debt off completely. Getting your debts under control will free up future cash flow.
Invest it. This is recommended for those who have financially put themselves into a great position. If you have already built an emergency fund and your debts have already been addressed, saving the annual profit-sharing check would be a wise decision. Take advantage of Roth IRA contributions or after-tax investing. Both of these are excellent choices and will ultimately make your dollar go further.
Have some fun. One thing that we know is that those working in the manufacturing industry are working hard! Depending on your situation it may be $100 that you take from your profit-sharing to make a small luxury purchase or it may be half of your profit-sharing check. We certainly encourage you to examine the amount of “have fun” money you use based on your goals and your situation. However, we can all agree that we all deserve to have a little fun!
Bonus Tip: Should I adjust my tax withholdings on my profit sharing check? In most cases, yes! When paying out a large bonus or profit-sharing all on one check the automatic calculations amortize the amount you are paid for the time period listed on the paycheck. Therefore, the tax withholdings will act as if you received a pay increase of over $520,000 annually rather than the $10,250 annual increase in earnings. By reducing the withholding on this one check you are avoiding giving the IRS an interest-free loan until next year's tax return comes. However, if you find yourself owing every year, you might save yourself a future headache by leaving your tax withholdings as-is.
While this is not a definitive list of options available, it certainly will point you in the right direction to making solid financial decisions. Everyone’s situation is different, so it is best to consult a professional to discuss your particular situation.
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Written by Kyle Cooper