Friday 25 December 2009

Some little financial Christmas gifts

My company closed down for Christmas Eve, giving everyone an extra day of paid leave. They're pretty generous that way. On the other hand, they gave a minimal 2% "cost of living" pay rise last year to most employees (when the official CPI in Australia was around 3% and the average wage increased by more than 4%) and this year they gave no "across the board" rise at all, citing the challenging economic climate and uncertain profit outlook for 2009. As I anticipated, they decided to give a modest bonus ($250) to all employees just before Christmas. They normally don't give bonuses to non-executive staff, and a one-off bonus means that they have locked in the wage savings gained from keeping the general salary bill increase to just 2% over the past two years.

Aside from the $250 bonus at work, I also received a 1-for-12 renounceable rights issue from Woodside petroleum. As the 19 new WPL shares I'm entitled to are priced at $42.10 and WPL is currently trading at $47.50, taking up my entitlement will result in a net gain of around $100 (assuming the share price doesn't drop too much due to dilution when the shares trade ex-entitlement).

Overall though, the "Santa Claus" rally in the share market in the past week was a bigger boost to my net worth than these little Christmas presents.

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