What to do first with your holiday bonus

  • More than half of American employers gave their employees bonuses last holiday season.
  • If you’re expecting a bonus this year, one financial planner suggests using 80% of it to pay off debt and increase savings, and 20% to spend however you like.

It’s bonus season.

According to a survey of 500 US businesses by recruiting agency Accounting Principles, 63% of employers spread holiday cheer via check at the end of 2017, gifting workers an average cash bonus of $US1,797.

If you’re expecting an end-of-year or holiday bonus, Katie Brewer, CFP and founder of financial planning firm Your Richest Life, suggests making a plan for the money before it appears in your account.

Generally, Brewer told Business Insider, you should commit 80% of your holiday bonus to “serious money,” using it to pay off debts, increase savings, and top off retirement funds. The other 20% can be fun money, she says.

Read more: 11 signs you’re about to get a holiday bonus

It’s easy to think of a dozen uses for your “fun money.” But what about that 80% you’re dedicating to building wealth? Where should you start?

Below, we’ve put together a flow chart to help you figure out where your serious money can make the most impact. The chart assumes that you’re making regular payments toward any debt and are without extenuating circumstances, like an expected end-of-year medical bill or other urgent charge to which you’ve already committed your bonus.

What should you do first with your holiday bonus graphicShayanne Gal/Business Insider

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