Monday, January 11, 2021

Weekly, monthly & more: How your pay schedule affects you


Photo by Vitaly Taranov on Unsplash

Let’s say you had a job as a cashier at your local grocery store that paid every two weeks. You quit that position and got a new job in an office, but this one pays once a month instead. What gives?

There are different kinds of pay schedules that determine when and how often you receive your paycheck. Businesses usually set their pay schedules to benefit themselves. Payroll management entails labor and costs, so companies will go for the option that is more convenient and saves them money. 

Employees (as opposed to freelancers) don’t normally get to decide how often they get paid, so it’s critical to factor your pay cycle into your weekly or monthly budget, especially if you live paycheck to paycheck. Will you have your money when you need it?

Here are four common types of pay schedules:

Kinds of Pay Schedules

Weekly Payroll

Some businesses pay their employees weekly, which means employees receive their income on Fridays. This schedule is more common amongst freelancers, contract workers, and trade industries like construction and manufacturing. These job types commonly have irregular hours, so it makes sense to pay workers according to a shorter time frame.

While weekly schedules are a favorite amongst employees because it means you have more regular access to your money. If you drained your bank account on bills last week because it was the end of the month but want a night out with your friends, no worries — you get paid on Friday, so you can afford that night out as long as you save enough for your upcoming expenses.

However, most businesses avoid the weekly system. Payroll vendors frequently charge money every time a company (their customer) runs payroll. Doing so weekly takes extra time to process, so companies will opt for more extended periods to reduce costs and add convenience.

Bi-Weekly Payroll

A bi-weekly pay schedule means you receive your paycheck every two weeks. This cycle amounts to 26 or 27 paydays per year. Many businesses prefer bi-weekly timelines because they save money processing payroll and can calculate overtime more easily (each paycheck accounts for approximately 80 work hours). As such, bi-weekly payroll is more common amongst businesses that pay their employees hourly.

Bi-weekly schedules are not challenging to manage, but two months out of the year will have three paydays instead of two. Accountants need to factor in these paydays when calculating voluntary employee deductions, like healthcare, which are equal in a bi-monthly pay schedule.

Bi-Monthly Payroll

Bi-monthly pay means your employer pays you twice per month, also known as semi-monthly. As such, you might receive your income on the first of and in the middle of the month (likely on the 15th), or in the middle and end. A bi-monthly pay schedule entails 24 payments per year, which makes it distinct from bi-weekly. If you earn $45,000 per year on a bi-weekly cycle, your paychecks (not accounting for taxes and deductions) will be around $1730.77 each, whereas your paychecks will equal $1,875 on a semi-monthly schedule. It’s the same amount of money but divided differently.

Bi-monthly payroll is common for salaried employees. Calculating deductions is easy for accountants, and you always know which dates you will receive your income.

Monthly Payroll

You guessed it — monthly payroll means your paycheck comes in once a month. This format is ideal for businesses because it makes accounting easy and reduces processing costs, but it’s disadvantageous for employees and contractors because they have less frequent access to their money. If you work a job that pays monthly, you need to be extra careful with budgeting because you’ll only receive your income in lump sums 12 times per year.

How Does Your Pay Schedule Affect You?

Your pay schedule does not affect how much you get paid in a year, assuming you work the same number of hours either way. However, your pay cycle does influence how often you have access to your hard-earned money, and therefore the way you budget.

For example, let’s say you paid all your bills last month and now don’t have much left in your savings. Your job pays you bi-weekly, so you’ll have enough money to pay the first round of next month’s expenses, but your next paycheck won’t arrive in time to pay the rest. Now you’re in a tight spot.

One option is to make an early paycheck request from your employer. If your employer agrees, they will provide you all or part of your paycheck before they usually would, allowing you to pay your bills, but it lengthens the time between your next paycheck.

Another option is to use financial apps. Your job’s pay cycle is out of your hands, but you can control when you get paid with apps like Earnin. Earnin allows you to take out up to $500 of your earnings per pay period. This way, you won’t have to worry about missing a bill because your employer’s pay schedule isn’t in your favor, and you won’t have to pay mandatory fees for convenience.

Your pay schedule affects your ability to pay expenses and for recreation, so it’s important to know how often you’ll receive your income when applying for a job or managing your finances. Though your pay cycle might not always work in your favor, there are ways you can control having access to your money.

Restrictions and/or third-party fees may apply, see for details.

This article originally appeared on Earnin.


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Malaysia year 2021 national and state public holidays

The official 2021 national and state public holidays in Malaysia has been announced by Cabinet, Constitution and Inter-Government Relation Division (BKPP), Prime Minister Department.

There are 14 days of national holiday (12 national holidays, whereby Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Puasa have 2 days of holiday respectively, and all the rest are 1 day).

2 of them fall on Friday, 3 fall on Saturday, none fall on Sunday, and 1 falls on Monday. Most of the states will have around 4 state holidays in addition to the national holidays.

Chinese New Year falls on Friday and Saturday (12th and 13th February 2021). Since Saturday is already an off day for most people, the actual Chinese New Year holiday in year 2021 is only one day on Friday. I believe many people will take a few days leave during the period.

Hari Raya Puasa falls on Thursday and Friday (13th and 14th May 2021). That forms a pretty long 4 days holiday, when combining with the Saturday and Sunday weekend.

Deepavali falls on Thursday (4th November 2021). If taking a day leave on Friday, you can also enjoy a long weekend holiday.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

6 tips for gifting money to family members this holiday season

 Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Money is a go-to for many people when it comes to gift-giving. It’s not the most personal gift you could give, but if you’re not sure what the recipient would like, you can spare yourself from guessing incorrectly and allow them to spend the money however they choose. 

However, the etiquette surrounding giving money as a present, especially during the holidays, is frustratingly unclear. Many families have experienced some tension or a dramatic outburst because someone didn’t understand the unwritten rules. To avoid offending a loved one this year, follow these tips when gifting money: 

Give What You Can Afford 

Of course, give according to your means. Don’t feel obligated to drop $100s on your nieces and nephews if you can’t afford it. Even if your siblings give your kids a significant amount of money, shrug off the pressure to match them. Generosity is proportionate to what you have, not the dollar amount itself. 

Better yet, plan a budget that accounts for all of your gift-giving each holiday season. Other gifts cost money anyway, so set aside a specific amount you can afford for your entire family. Write down how much you spend on physical or experiential items to get an idea of how much cash you can give to friends and relatives who won’t be receiving something else. 

Be Mindful of Your Relationship With the Recipient 

Cash is not an appropriate gift for everyone. As mentioned previously, it’s not particularly personal, so giving your significant other an envelope with $50 or a gift card to a department store probably won’t go over very well. Giving money from one high-earning professional adult to another could also be interpreted rudely; cash is usually for people who need it (a check would be preferable in this case) or children who are excited about the freedom it entails. 

So, your cousin’s child who just turned 10? Cash is perfect. Your cousin herself who’s not in any debt? If you’re close, then something more thoughtful would be better. 

Consider the Recipients’ Needs 

When gifting money to family members, consider what they will use it for. It may be that it’s none of your business, but a relative who is struggling with money would undoubtedly appreciate a bit of extra generosity (especially if you’re in a position to be generous). 

Giving loved ones financial aid during the holidays is where things get really tricky. Make sure your intended recipient is open to it, first — not everyone is willing to admit they need help — and give an amount you believe would make a legitimate difference (remember that gifts are tax free under $14,000 or $28,000 if you and your spouse give as a couple). You don’t have to give naked money, either; it’s possible to pay for expenses like college tuition or medical bills directly. It would also be kind to introduce your relative to a family finance app that helps them improve their overall situation

If you want to know how to send money anonymously because your family member might be embarrassed about needing assistance, then you can use a money transfer service like WesternUnion. You can also make a new email address your relative won’t recognize and send it to them via PayPal or Xoom, a Paypal service. 

Make Gift Cards Personal 

Gift cards are popular ways to give money as a present. Sometimes it’s nice not to have endless possibilities of how you could spend a gift — if you have a gift card to a bookstore, then you have to spend it at that bookstore. It’s a roundabout way of buying someone a book; they just get to decide which. Gift cards are a mid-way between the safety of giving someone cash and something more personal. 

On that note, make sure the gift card you buy someone is for a business they would gladly shop or dine at. Your loved one won’t appreciate a gift card to Starbucks if they hate coffee. Put the card in an envelope and include a note so your recipient doesn’t feel like you made the minimum effort. 

Be Polite If Not Everyone is Included 

If you’re a grandparent gifting money to grandchildren, then you need to treat them equally and give the same amount to each. If you are someone younger and don’t need to distribute your generosity equally amongst your relatives, then it’s wise to be polite about it — that is to say, discreet. Don’t flaunt your gift-giving to relatives who aren’t receiving anything from you, and ask them not to say anything. You’ll save yourself a lot of resentment. 

Be Creative With Presentation 

Because money is a generic gift (however practical), put a little effort into its presentation. Make dollar bills into origami shapes. Put cash inside balloons and make children pop them. Hide money at the center of a 3D puzzle. Freeze bills in a block of ice for a pun on “cold, hard cash.” The way you present your gift can add extra layers of thoughtfulness, intimacy, and fun. 

Gifting money to family members comes with a set of rules no one really understands, so just remember to be considerate, don’t feel pressured, and find a way to add a personal touch.

This article originally appeared on Earnin.

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