Friday, October 9, 2015

How Much Do You Make?

I am not asking you a personal question. I actually do not wish to know how much you make. But you should.

Of course you know your salary. That is the money your employer pays you. Whether you are paid weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly you receive a monetary payment for your efforts.

Of course we all wish that we made more money. It seems like there is never enough. Perhaps you work for a business that gives periodic raises in pay. That helps because you know that you will have a little bit more money to use.

But there is more to your wages than you normally think.

Do you get paid vacation time each year? That is part of your wages. You are being paid to relax and renew yourself. Employers who are smart give you a vacation because they know that an employee who feels fresh will do a better job.

Paid breaks also give you a chance to get away from the work for a few moments. It provides a good work environment. Some employees even receive a paid lunch but that is not as common. Because you are paid this is part of your wage package.

Maternity and paternity leave is another part of your wage package. The ability to nurture a new baby in those important first days was not always allowed. At any rate the knowledge that you have a job to return to is a guarantee that you will be able to support your child.

Sick days and personal days are days that your employer pays you even when you are not at work. You do not lose your salary because you are ill or if you need to take care of personal business during work hours. Again this is part of your wage package.

If for some reason you are laid off from work for a while you are entitled to unemployment benefits. You are paid (even if it is less than your normal wages) while you either wait to be called back to work or while you look for a new job. The money for these payments comes from a fund that your employer pays into. Wage package.

Most employers pay for a life insurance policy for employees. Usually it is the equivalent of approximately one years salary. As long as you are employed your family will have a bit of a cushion if something happens to you. This is also a part of your wages.

The same thing applies for health insurance. These days employees usually pay a premium that is deducted from their paycheck. But that premium is a small fraction of what you would pay if you were to purchase health insurance on your own. Health insurance is one of the best parts of your wage package.

If bonuses are given at your place of business they are added into the rest of your salary on your W-2 forms. That is proof that bomuses are part of the wage package.

Retirement funds are another part of the wage package. You may pay into a part of a pension fund. Or you may have a 401K or something. Sometimes the employer matches funds. Either way they help facilitate the payments and often you get a better deal because it is a group program.

There may be other benefits offered by your employer that I did not include. And not all of these benefits are offered by all employers. I am making a point here.

This is an election year. I will not endorse or belittle any candidate here. But any politician who wants to cut back on any part of these is cutting your wages. It is the hidden items that can hurt you. Be informed when making your choices.


  1. Your excellent post is a very comprehensive catalog of points considered when I went outdoors to be a gardener nearly 40 years ago and joined a union. It permitted me to retire in 2009 due to efforts of stewards like you and their dedication to government by discussion --which is what negotiation finally is. Thanks.

    1. I get so tired of hearing about "entitlements". I understand about some which actually are entitlements. Those are fodder for another discussion. But I paid for my pension by working and contributing to the fund. As far as Social Security goes I began paying into that fund when i was 11 years old. The more than 50 years I worked make me feel that I deserve what I get and perhaps a little more. Those things are not entitlements. They are deferred wages.

    2. It's the Republicans who speak of entitlements as the province of moochers. Of course, they get a lot more money from their “entitlements” as Congressmen than we get from ours, but what burns me most of all is that if they shut the government down, they still get their salaries while the rest of us have to do without. Who’s really the moocher here?

  2. We are paid sometimes not in monetary term.
    We gain experience.

    1. That is also true. We also offer our experience to our employers. It can be a valuable trade.

  3. Hello Emma,

    Very interesting post but the main point of being very careful while selecting a candidate for voting is the essence of it. Prices are rising continuously and generally the employers increase the wages on a regular period of one year or as per the job contract or union agreement, you will note that the increase in wages is not adequate to meet the rise in the cost of living. As a result the wages lag far behind the inflation and it should also be noted the value of money keeps going down when compared the prices of essential commodities.

    Politicians make many promises to get our votes but they generally do not keep their promises. Politics is big business and politicians are in it to make money. Very rarely we come across honest politicians. Hence we have to be very careful while selecting a candidate for casting our vote.

    In India, millions of people are poor and illiterate and politicians take full advantage to get their votes. Right now, one state in India called Bihar is going to the polls and parties in the fray are offering motor cycles, lap tops, tv sets and so on for getting votes. Many political parties also give cash incentives for voting in their favor and the poor people are ready take the money for voting. Don't you think Indian democracy is in a mess and Indian democracy is the largest in the world.

    Excellent post. Good advice. Best wishes

    1. Thank you for your comments. It is good to get the perspective of someone who lives in another country. In the United States it is illegal to buy votes. So the politicians offer payments in the form of lower taxes, higher wages, and other opportunities for our families. Most of the time they are just empty promises to get our votes. It is so important to look past the promises and see what the candidate has accomplished in the past. If they at least attempt to keep promises it is a good thing.

    2. " millions of people are poor and illiterate and politicians take full advantage to get their votes."

      Sounds a little like the American South, Joe.

  4. Good post Emma. When I worked a regular I was on top of all that and I'm glad. I also took advantage of unadvertised benefits like the tuition aid plan that paid 100% of my college tuition. I finished a 4 year and my masters degree on them.

    1. Another excellent hidden part of wages. Thank you for reminding us.