Could You Live On $1 Salary?

How extreme would you have to cut expenses to live on a salary of $1.00 per year? What about if you received a bonus of $1723 on top of that salary? Even the people that take living below their means to a new level would be hard-pressed to pull this off yet somehow the top executive at Google is able to do it.

Of course, Eric Schmidt might have an easier time to live on that salary because he is holding approximately 10 million shares of Google that are worth more than $5 billion. In addition to the meager salary, Mr. Schmidt received over $22,000 to offset the taxes due on a perk and also had personal security provided at a cost of over $500,000 per year.

Why is it that many top executives have a salary that is very minimal even though their total compensation with bonuses is still typically in the millions? In my opinion, it is nothing more than fluff to try and give the impression to the public that the executives are dedicated to the company and their total compensation is dependent on the performance of the company. Unfortunately, many of these executives receive their bonus and additional compensation such as personal security regardless of the company’s performance.

I’d find it much more refreshing to see a company pay their executives an actual salary and eliminate the myriad of perks and bonuses. Although that is unlikely to happen because some of those perks and bonuses are not considered compensation, which likely benefits the company financials. However, a recent regulatory filing by Google indicates that the SEC issued guidance that the perk of personal security should be listed as compensation.

If you’d like to read more about the *struggles* of living on a $1 annual salary, The New York Times has an article explaining the salaries and perks of Google executives.

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