Your chance of being born on February 29 is one in 1,461. The chance is one in four that any given year will be a Leap Year. Every four years we get an extra 24 hours because our calendar year is not perfectly 365 days long. It takes the earth 365 days, plus five hours, 48 minutes, and 56 seconds, to travel around the sun. Therefore, the purpose of February 29 is to keep our calendar aligned with the earth’s revolutions around the sun. But what does this mean for our economy?

The answer: not much. There is ample debate around whether salaried employees are working “for free” on the extra day. But that’s not entirely true. You are not working for free, you are just working for less. If you do the math, 2024 is 0.27% longer than a regular year. The typical employee is compensated for an average of 261 days in a regular year. In a leap year the average increases to 262 days. For a salaried employee making $50,000 per year, that income translates to $191.57 per day in wages, or $190.84 in a leap year – $0.73 less per day. So that day you thought you were providing your employer with eight hours of indentured servitude, you’re actually just making a little less that day. If you are an hourly worker, congratulations! You just got a little extra cash in your paycheck this year.

Winners of Leap Day include renters and anyone with a parking or public transportation pass. They get a “free” day of usage. Members of a fitness club get an extra day to burn off some calories. The drawbacks of an extra day include additional consumption of fuel and utilities, plus more eating (if you consider that a drawback!).

Some people think Leap Day should be considered a national holiday, but the idea has been apparently slow to gather steam. In 2016, for example, retailer Zappos started a petition to the president and Congress, arguing that because Leap Day is a bonus day, it should be used to do good, for your community, family, or yourself. Unfortunately, the petition only gained 23,383 signatures. Oh well.

Whatever your plans for Leap Day 2024, celebrity astrologer Kyle Thomas predicts you’ll feel “a very fun and sweet energy” today. Who couldn’t use more of that?

Author Matthew D. Armstrong Financial Advisor

Matt has been involved in the financial services industry since 2005. He was recognized by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce as one of their “40 Leaders Under 40” and is a graduate of Leadership Rockford and the Rockford Leadership Alliance.

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