Author Topic: Wife gets five-figure 'wife bonus' from husband, mindless consumerism ensues  (Read 10205 times)

mustachepungoeshere

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http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/i-get-a-wife-bonus-and-i-deserve-it/story-fnet09y4-1227374394691

This piece is supposed to provoke debate on the concept of a 'wife bonus', but I couldn't get through it without my skin crawling at the conspicuous consumerism.

The author takes any opportunity to name-drop a brand or price.

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As I stroll around the mall on a recent trip to Houston, Texas, moving from designer store to designer store, my mind is crunching numbers. Will I splurge on the elegant $750 ($AU980) French navy Chanel ballet pumps that I’ve been lusting after for months? Or shall I be pulling out my gold card to grab a pair of limited-edition $800 ($AU1000) Louboutins, with striking red Valentine’s hearts on the toe, to match their distinctive sole?

To be fair, she does admit to saving for things that matter. It's just that apparently wedding dresses are the only things that matter.

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That’s not to say I’m just frittering my bonus away. I also try to save my share for things that matter. My mother passed away shortly before we married, and I used some of the money she left me to buy my bespoke $4,500 ($AU6000) wedding dress by the designer Naomi Neoh. I’d like the honour of being able to buy Lala her wedding dress with the money I’ve saved too.

She believes the 'wife bonus' is essential for her and her husband to be financial partners, each to his own. That doesn't rile me nearly as much as the emphasis placed on spending and Stuff.

chesebert

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Why are Hermes bags so expensive? Do they literally last forever?

meg_shannon

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My employer pays an annual spouse bonus to some employees. Most are five figures but a few six.

There was a minor ruckus a couple years ago when management met with spouses and found out quite a few were not aware of the bonus because their spouse failed to mention it. Now management sends an annual letter directly to spouses regarding the bonus. This no doubt leads to shoe and handbag shopping trips in some cases.

Why would an employer pay a spouse bonus? Do the spouses host a lot of company dinners (or provide some other value)?

Friar

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Why are Hermes bags so expensive? Do they literally last forever?

Like, so forever. Until, like, the next season.

DagobertDuck

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Why are Hermes bags so expensive? Do they literally last forever?

They act as a costly signal.

slugline

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The best part is that she's already dreaming about how to spend the 2016 bonus. I guess the husband is in a part of the industry unaffected by slumping oil prices?

I'm a red panda

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For someone wearing Louboutins, a $4,500 wedding dress sounds downright frugal...

partgypsy

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uggh. It seems there are always first person articles, typically of women in these British type tabloids designed to enrage people.

If you break it down, put aside the pumps, handbags etc, I actually agree with the concept, that is, the spouse left her lucrative career to follow the husband and care for children. When they get his bonus, they each get a fifth and bank the rest. That sounds reasonable to me. I'd prefer that over a gift.
Personally, my mother told me that it was always good to have some mad money. Mad money could range from having enough for a phone call and taxi if you were on a bad date, to, a respectable kitty if things went south in your marriage. When my mother received an inheritance she made she it was kept in her name and not in the general fund, for just that purpose. B

If her husband is making 150K alone in bonuses every year, uh, I'd hope by the time daughter is old enough to be married she has saved more than enough for a wedding dress for her child. Priorities.

gaja

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Is this an equal opportunity thing? Do husbands get the same, or is it reserved for wives? What happens if someone is single; does the bonus go to the mother? Or will s/he get paid less than the married coworker?

Davids

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My employer pays an annual spouse bonus to some employees. Most are five figures but a few six.

There was a minor ruckus a couple years ago when management met with spouses and found out quite a few were not aware of the bonus because their spouse failed to mention it. Now management sends an annual letter directly to spouses regarding the bonus. This no doubt leads to shoe and handbag shopping trips in some cases.
I see your location in Latin America, is that the culture there. I don't think any USA company offers a  spouse bonus, if so then i am switching jobs immediately.

Guses

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While I think spending more than 50$, let alone 1,500$, on a bag to put your shit in (i.e., a purse) is batshit fucking crazy, they are actually banking 60% of their 150,000$ per year bonus!!!

They seem to be happy with the arrangement and the wife gets to spend time at home with her kid. Win-Win in my book.

I do find the practice of splitting the bonus a little bit weird, but that is mostly because my wife and I share everything. All the income gets pooled into the same pot, bonus or not.


greenmimama

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I think the concept is great, it is honoring a stay at home moms contributions to the family. I am a SAHM and I do a lot that contributes to our good financial standing, but my DH and I share all of our money, if I really wanted a crazy expensive handbag, he would probably take me to see a Dr. because that is not who I am at all, but if it was, he wouldn't care too much if I spent in accordance with what we make.

I found the articel sad because it sounds like she is just trying to impress people with all of her expensive brand names, it speaks a lot about her personally, when you are that obsessed.

TheGrimSqueaker

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My employer pays an annual spouse bonus to some employees. Most are five figures but a few six.

There was a minor ruckus a couple years ago when management met with spouses and found out quite a few were not aware of the bonus because their spouse failed to mention it. Now management sends an annual letter directly to spouses regarding the bonus. This no doubt leads to shoe and handbag shopping trips in some cases.
I see your location in Latin America, is that the culture there. I don't think any USA company offers a  spouse bonus, if so then i am switching jobs immediately.

Here, the wife (not spouse) bonus is very discreet: it's just an increased probability of a married man getting a raise or promotion. Part of it may be due to having access to two people's labor and being able to give more at the office because someone else is covering the housework and kids. There is no corresponding statistical benefit for being female and married; in fact many married women's incomes go down (due possibly to mandatory child related absences).

It's normal for married people to be given preferential treatment in terms of shift work, or flexible scheduling. Soloists, especially those with no kids, frequently end up coming in early, working late, working weekends, or covering for absentees. There's generally no financial benefit associated with this especially in salaried positions, because absentees (regardless of the reason for their being absent) are paid the same even though they are less productive due to leaving early, taking multiple smoke breaks, or having extended lunch breaks.

There is, however, a preferential income tax system that offers more filing options and a sizable tax incentive for married people. So the refund check most married people get after filing can be considered a spouse bonus. Add in all the medical, inheritance, and other incentives, and marriage is heavily subsidized by the US Government. (It must be miserable to require so much financial subsidy.)

RunHappy

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I need to get married.

mlipps

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I mean, on the bright side, at least her engagement ring was relatively inexpensive. My coworker has a ring from Tiffany's that I looked up & estimate at $14k+ (I can't decide if it's 1 carat or 1.25). (Kidding guys. Both are obscenely expensive.)

Also, her $4500 "bespoke" wedding dress looks like something from David's bridal. Pretty, but nothing remotely special.

Erica/NWEdible

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Bespoke is my least favorite non slur word in the entire English lexicon.

MgoSam

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It's normal for married people to be given preferential treatment in terms of shift work, or flexible scheduling. Soloists, especially those with no kids, frequently end up coming in early, working late, working weekends, or covering for absentees. There's generally no financial benefit associated with this especially in salaried positions, because absentees (regardless of the reason for their being absent) are paid the same even though they are less productive due to leaving early, taking multiple smoke breaks, or having extended lunch breaks.

I heard this a lot from our previous office manager for me spending more time in the office. I'm not married and don't have kids, so therefore in his eyes I "don't have a life" and therefore should be willing to come in on a Saturday and stay late and come early. He failed to see that I usually was here well before him, stayed longer than him, and as most of my customers call me on my cell, I am on call on Saturdays, but then again he wasn't the smartest person in the world. I can't imagine what it is like in a corporate setting.

gimp

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Why are Hermes bags so expensive? Do they literally last forever?

Luxury items seem to have an inverted price-demand curve. Normally, you increase price and reduce demand. For luxury items, you increase price and increase demand. This is an obvious example of that. It is expensive because if it was inexpensive, nobody would buy it.

mm1970

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Quote
It's normal for married people to be given preferential treatment in terms of shift work, or flexible scheduling. Soloists, especially those with no kids, frequently end up coming in early, working late, working weekends, or covering for absentees. There's generally no financial benefit associated with this especially in salaried positions, because absentees (regardless of the reason for their being absent) are paid the same even though they are less productive due to leaving early, taking multiple smoke breaks, or having extended lunch breaks.
Every place I've ever worked, such was rewarded with higher pay, bigger raises, and faster promotions.

Assuming, of course, that the "extra hours" actually resulted in "getting more done".  Depending on the boss, the reward went to whomever got more done, regardless of how many hours they put in.

Cressida

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There is, however, a preferential income tax system that offers more filing options and a sizable tax incentive for married people. So the refund check most married people get after filing can be considered a spouse bonus. Add in all the medical, inheritance, and other incentives, and marriage is heavily subsidized by the US Government. (It must be miserable to require so much financial subsidy.)

I don't think this is correct. When a couple files jointly, one of the spouses is unable to put any income in the lowest tax brackets. I paid far more income taxes after I got married.

RunHappy

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I re-read the article and I got something a little different this time.

She says they each take 20% from her husbands year end bonus and then save the rest.  If they are each taking the same amount then doesn't this amount to the "fun money" many people on here split with their spouses?   The only difference is they are earning more and she is buying luxury items.

bzzzt

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I don't think this is correct. When a couple files jointly, one of the spouses is unable to put any income in the lowest tax brackets. I paid far more income taxes after I got married.

Ditto. If it was just based on tax purposes, I would really try to get a "paper" divorce. Same joke once you start having children. The only monetary benefit of marriage has been that we can share my insurance and ditch hers.


Noodle

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The best part is that she's already dreaming about how to spend the 2016 bonus. I guess the husband is in a part of the industry unaffected by slumping oil prices?

In the paragraph above, she specifically mentions that there might not be much of a bonus this year based on current oil prices.

This piece is a reaction to a recent book about the anthropology of Upper East Side wives--there was a NY Times article about it: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/opinion/sunday/poor-little-rich-women.html. The wife bonuses there seem much creepier--the amount the wife gets depends on her "performance" at various criteria like getting the kids into a good school.

Honestly, although I don't agree with the spending choices, the fact that they have an agreed-on way to split the extra income, each spouse has discretionary money, and the fun money comes out of the bonus when received (as opposed to building their family lifestyle around the bonuses, or buying the luxuries on credit) seems pretty healthy to me on the spectrum of financial behavior.

Tabaxus

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I don't think this is correct. When a couple files jointly, one of the spouses is unable to put any income in the lowest tax brackets. I paid far more income taxes after I got married.

Ditto. If it was just based on tax purposes, I would really try to get a "paper" divorce. Same joke once you start having children. The only monetary benefit of marriage has been that we can share my insurance and ditch hers.

Pretty widely known that there is a marriage penalty for dual-income families and marriage bonus for single-income families.  There are spots where the marriage bonus extends to dual-income families with disparate incomes too.  All comes down to where the tax brackets fall out.

Chris23

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Why are Hermes bags so expensive? Do they literally last forever?

It's a combination of reasons. Hermes bags are made by hand by a small group of artisans using hand-selected animal skins. I read an interesting book called "Deluxe: The End of Luxury" that talks about how almost every luxury brand makes their products in Chinese factories. Hermes is one of the very few that still has products handmade by individual artisans (I think their non-leather products are made in factories, though).

Of course, there's still a huge amount of mark-up just for the status.

Rural

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Why are Hermes bags so expensive? Do they literally last forever?

It's a combination of reasons. Hermes bags are made by hand by a small group of artisans using hand-selected animal skins. I read an interesting book called "Deluxe: The End of Luxury" that talks about how almost every luxury brand makes their products in Chinese factories. Hermes is one of the very few that still has products handmade by individual artisans (I think their non-leather products are made in factories, though).

Of course, there's still a huge amount of mark-up just for the status.


You know, I can hand-select an animal skin and handcraft a bag that will hold a lot more and a lot heavier stuff than a Hermes bag for a tenth of the cost at most. I don't buy the "handmade by individual artisans" bit - that's just a rationalization for that status markup you mention.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 04:03:20 AM by Rural »

MsPeacock

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Why are Hermes bags so expensive? Do they literally last forever?

It's a combination of reasons. Hermes bags are made by hand by a small group of artisans using hand-selected animal skins. I read an interesting book called "Deluxe: The End of Luxury" that talks about how almost every luxury brand makes their products in Chinese factories. Hermes is one of the very few that still has products handmade by individual artisans (I think their non-leather products are made in factories, though).

Of course, there's still a huge amount of mark-up just for the status.


You know, I can hand-select an animal skin and handcraft a bag that will hold a lot more and a lot heavier stuff than a Hermes bag for a tenth of the cost at most. I don't buy the "handmade by individual artisans" bit - that's just a rationalization for that status markup you mention.

Well, that is how Hermes explains the cost - but as you note, it is nonsense. A very similar looking leather, well constructed handbag can be purchased for $300 - $400 dollars and will be just as nice. It just won't be from Hermes (and won't be hand sewn by magical sparkling rainbow flavored artesian elves either...). The reason their bags cost 10k is because people are willing to pay that much and the brand is associated with celebrities  and such as quite a status symbol - and if you carry one everyone knows you can afford a 10k bag. (I think Beyoncé had one that was 200k and was super hideous.)

Maybe that middle one?

cripzychiken

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I re-read the article and I got something a little different this time.

She says they each take 20% from her husbands year end bonus and then save the rest.  If they are each taking the same amount then doesn't this amount to the "fun money" many people on here split with their spouses?   The only difference is they are earning more and she is buying luxury items.

This was my take away, stupid spending, but it was from a set aside "fun account" that already had savings accounted for, and 60% isn't too shabby.  Now, there is a huge chance that the stupid spending goes past the yearly bonus, but this article about the 'wife bonus to buy consumeristic crap' actually had a single hidden nugget of wisdom.

As for the 'wife bonus' I actually liked the idea.  If someone gives up their career, her work at the house allows him to work more (now why HE wants to work more is a different story).  And having the bonus as a predetermined (and equal) part of his bonus makes sense.  Now if only someone can help her not be stupid with her spending... we can hope.

RunHappy

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I re-read the article and I got something a little different this time.

She says they each take 20% from her husbands year end bonus and then save the rest.  If they are each taking the same amount then doesn't this amount to the "fun money" many people on here split with their spouses?   The only difference is they are earning more and she is buying luxury items.

This was my take away, stupid spending, but it was from a set aside "fun account" that already had savings accounted for, and 60% isn't too shabby.  Now, there is a huge chance that the stupid spending goes past the yearly bonus, but this article about the 'wife bonus to buy consumeristic crap' actually had a single hidden nugget of wisdom.

As for the 'wife bonus' I actually liked the idea.  If someone gives up their career, her work at the house allows him to work more (now why HE wants to work more is a different story).  And having the bonus as a predetermined (and equal) part of his bonus makes sense.  Now if only someone can help her not be stupid with her spending... we can hope.

She probably does spend beyond that in order to maintain "the lifestyle". 

I would be interested in how many SAHDs get a "husband" bonus.  I actually know more men who are at-home than women.

My mom was a SAHM and I think the only "bonus" she got was my dad maxing out her IRA every year.  They both retired with more than 100k in each of theirs.

Scandium

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Why are Hermes bags so expensive? Do they literally last forever?

Because it's three letters away from Herpes

lifejoy

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Why are Hermes bags so expensive? Do they literally last forever?

Luxury items seem to have an inverted price-demand curve. Normally, you increase price and reduce demand. For luxury items, you increase price and increase demand. This is an obvious example of that. It is expensive because if it was inexpensive, nobody would buy it.

Related: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veblen_good

mlipps

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Why are Hermes bags so expensive? Do they literally last forever?

Because it's three letters away from Herpes

Pretty sure it's only one letter away...

Scandium

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Why are Hermes bags so expensive? Do they literally last forever?

Because it's three letters away from Herpes

Pretty sure it's only one letter away...

well yes, change one letter. I was going m>n>o>p. Threes steps..

CommonCents

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I don't think this is correct. When a couple files jointly, one of the spouses is unable to put any income in the lowest tax brackets. I paid far more income taxes after I got married.

Ditto. If it was just based on tax purposes, I would really try to get a "paper" divorce. Same joke once you start having children. The only monetary benefit of marriage has been that we can share my insurance and ditch hers.

Pretty widely known that there is a marriage penalty for dual-income families and marriage bonus for single-income families.  There are spots where the marriage bonus extends to dual-income families with disparate incomes too.  All comes down to where the tax brackets fall out.

Yes, this.  There are even calculators on the internet that can show it graphically.

Rural

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Why are Hermes bags so expensive? Do they literally last forever?

It's a combination of reasons. Hermes bags are made by hand by a small group of artisans using hand-selected animal skins. I read an interesting book called "Deluxe: The End of Luxury" that talks about how almost every luxury brand makes their products in Chinese factories. Hermes is one of the very few that still has products handmade by individual artisans (I think their non-leather products are made in factories, though).

Of course, there's still a huge amount of mark-up just for the status.


You know, I can hand-select an animal skin and handcraft a bag that will hold a lot more and a lot heavier stuff than a Hermes bag for a tenth of the cost at most. I don't buy the "handmade by individual artisans" bit - that's just a rationalization for that status markup you mention.

Well, that is how Hermes explains the cost - but as you note, it is nonsense. A very similar looking leather, well constructed handbag can be purchased for $300 - $400 dollars and will be just as nice. It just won't be from Hermes (and won't be hand sewn by magical sparkling rainbow flavored artesian elves either...). The reason their bags cost 10k is because people are willing to pay that much and the brand is associated with celebrities  and such as quite a status symbol - and if you carry one everyone knows you can afford a 10k bag. (I think Beyoncé had one that was 200k and was super hideous.)

Maybe that middle one?


$10k? You're fucking kidding, right? I can buy a house for that here.

MrsPete

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Why would an employer pay a spouse bonus? Do the spouses host a lot of company dinners (or provide some other value)?
To make a guess, I'm thinking that these companies (probably few in number) want to encourage their employees to have a stay-at-home spouse.  This means the employee is free from duties that most of us spouses share:  dropping off the kids at day care, leaving work when the child becomes sick at school, taking off an afternoon to take the kids to the dentist.  It means the employee is free to fly out on a business trip at a moment's notice or to work late any time.  Having a stay-at-home spouse definitely makes a worker's life easier; he -- I say "he" in spite of political correctness because we all know that's the way it works most of the time -- is more able to focus on work because he has a full-time person running his home and family.

I suppose some employers are willing to pay for that.
And I can imagine that if the worker were considering changing jobs, this wife bonus might make her say, "Hey now, ___ has been good to us.  You should stay." 

As for the article, I agree that the wife in question is an idiot for spending on all these big designer tags. 
and if you carry one everyone knows you can afford a 10k bag.
I could easily afford a 10K bag; I'm 100% sure other people on this board could too.
But why would anyone want to? 

expectopatronum

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I mean, on the bright side, at least her engagement ring was relatively inexpensive. My coworker has a ring from Tiffany's that I looked up & estimate at $14k+ (I can't decide if it's 1 carat or 1.25). (Kidding guys. Both are obscenely expensive.)

Also, her $4500 "bespoke" wedding dress looks like something from David's bridal. Pretty, but nothing remotely special.

Tiffany's is a racket. You pay premium dollar for name brand. I used to think I would definitely have a diamond, and while we were shopping I managed to half-convince myself the prices were reasonable. Luckily I was able to see past the "diamonds are forever/it's all about size and quality/a man who makes good money will buy at least a carat BS" and he got me a Moissanite. I love it.

$4500 for a bespoke dress does seem cheaper. I'm surprised someone considering a $750 bag would go for a $4500 dress. I wonder if she looked in thrift shops or if that was beneath her. I ended up getting a five-figure designer dress for my original budget, totally by luck.

I feel no shame in either of these decisions, but I'm sure there are those who would look down upon them. Ahhhh, consumerism.