Unlike game show contestants hoping for a chance at the "big money," most workers don't expect to receive a bonus this year. In an exclusive poll for American Demographics by market research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres Intersearch, only 21 percent of workers say they've already received an annual bonus and another 10 percent say they're expecting one before the millennium. That leaves 69 percent of Americans to wonder, "Where's mine?" Sorry, maybe next year.
Round One: Feeling lucky? Those most likely to get a bonus are full-time employees - 25 percent said they've already received a bonus in 1999, with an additional 11 percent expecting to get one. Only 8 percent of part-timers have been so lucky, and 5 percent more are hoping for the best. Forty-four percent of workers with annual incomes over $100,000 said they have or will receive a bonus by year's end, as opposed to 19 percent of those with incomes below $25,000. And 32 percent of workers who attended college will have a little something extra to send back to their alma mater this year. When it comes to the sexes, men have the advantage: 35 percent are bonus-bound, versus 26 percent of women.
Round Two: Tell them what they've won! Of the 31 percent of bonus winners this year, 9 percent will have to decide what to do with that fruit-cake or something other than stocks or options (3 percent) and cold, hard cash (86 percent). Of those seeing green, women are more likely to get less: 25 percent of all females say they'll get under $100. Only 7 percent of men will get less than a C note. Most employees will be stuffing their wallets with cash rewards somewhere between $100 and $500: 26 percent of men and 32 percent of women fall into this range. Only 10 percent of the rewarded few will take home the grand prize of five grand or more. Most bonuses (64 percent) will be less than 10 percent of a worker's salary.
Round Three: Now that you've got it, what are you gonna do? Forty percent of respondents who receive cash bonuses say they will save at least some of the money, and 62 percent say they'll spend it. Women are more likely to spend their windfall than men: 71 percent versus 55 percent, respectively. Rather than going shopping, most respondents (52 percent) say they'll send the money to the debt collector: Only 20 percent plan on buying gifts. Fifteen percent will use the money for vacations, and 3 percent will donate to charity.
Round Four: Talk about a bonus! After the payoff, most people tell their spouses (64 percent). Parents are the next most likely to hear the news (15 percent), followed by friends (14 percent) and siblings (10 percent). Some keep mum: 14 percent, in fact, with higher concentrations among singles (26 percent) and residents of the Western states (24 percent). Much to our surprise, Americans overwhelmingly said they won't lie about their bonus - 93 percent. But would a liar tell the truth? That's another game.