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Would you pay for a work trip?
Old 03-24-2016, 12:10 PM   #1
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Would you pay for a work trip?

I understand those that are contractors and s corp or others who get the trip paid for somehow...but would you pay for a trip out of your own pocket to go to say a training class or seminar, and how much would or have you paid knowing you would not get a tax break, or be reimbursed?

I ask because I am in a predicament. I've asked management 3x now about training classes and by the third time was told, there is a $1000 /person budget for our dept and travelling to a conference out of town was not going to happen. This, after first being told, perhaps we could apply the dept unused training budget to my work trip to cover costs.

I admit, 3day IT conferences are not cheap, usually $3000+ for the training, plus lodging, transportation and per diem for food.

I am interested in security and the conference has to do with IT security. Its related to my trade, but not related to the business line. I was told even a close conference where airfare likely cheaper would not be feasible.

Soo, do I fork out the $1200 to go to a 1day/of 2 session on security, or just try and learn some things online like I've usually done in the past? I feel like it could be valuable, but its still a lot for me to shell out with likely little ROI... hmmm 3rd world probs right? I want to either commit or not so I can go to mgmt a final time and see if they will contribute to my cause...either the plane ticket ($200) the conference (800) or the hotel and per diem (250) ...and if they say no, say are you willing to excuse me for 2days while I attend, if they say no... well I think I have bigger problems.

What's y'alls .02?
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:14 PM   #2
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Pay for a work trip? Out of my own pocket? Are you mad?

I'm not working any more, but NO WAY would I ever have paid for a work trip unless I had gone completely insane. I hated traveling for work, and had to do so probably a dozen times a year while working. It was NEVER fun, it was ALWAYS long long long hours of work, and why would I ever pay for that? The training classes were even longer hours and pretty grueling. Not only that, but I think that paying for my own training classes would have branded me as a loser or hanger-on among management at my work. They like to think that they can pay for any necessary training.
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:22 PM   #3
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When I was starting out as a contractor, I had the opportunity to go to a week long training class. I really wanted to attend this. I went with a person from the company I was contracting with. I ended up paying for plane tickets and room. The company paid for the training. I was not able to bill them my contractor rate for that week. Nor, was I able to work for anyone else that week. I was able to ride with the person from the company, so I did not have to rent a car.

I ended up working for the company as a contractor for years. So, it paid off in the end. But, it was an pretty expensive week for me.
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:24 PM   #4
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To call it a "work" trip is generous since it doesn't really apply to your job. If you want to go to the conference consider paying for it with your own money.

The expense may be income tax deductible as work related training to the extent that it is not reimbursed by your employer.
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgtest View Post
I am interested in security and the conference has to do with IT security. Its related to my trade, but not related to the business line.
Without knowing your actual situation, my guess would be they think you're trying to get them to fund some training that would give you a new skill for the purpose of jumping ship to get a new job somewhere else.
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
To call it a "work" trip is generous since it doesn't really apply to your job. If you want to go to the conference consider paying for it with your own money.

The expense may be income tax deductible as work related training to the extent that it is not reimbursed by your employer.
Good call on the tax deduction. I would actually consider myself mad for paying for this myself. Now, let's not be fooled, if I had to actually go on a work trip, I would at least try to see some sights as well.

I have never actually been required to go on a work trip, but I did get a trip to Hawaii paid for from a govt contracting gig to obtain a certification.
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FIRE in 2031 @ 50yrs old (+/- 2yrs) w/ a hypothetical $2.5mil portfolio, 3 appreciated homes worth $1.0mil and rental income to fund my gap years until RMD. Assets will go to an inherited IRA where I plan on watching the investments grow until I die or the trust gets executed.
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:32 PM   #7
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Many (not all) conferences are expensive boondoggles for a company. They may be more willing to pay for an online certification program or classes at a local college. Much bigger bang for the buck.
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:34 PM   #8
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Without knowing your actual situation, my guess would be they think you're trying to get them to fund some training that would give you a new skill for the purpose of jumping ship to get a new job somewhere else.
Aha, I do project work under the security team sometimes so it would be relevant.

If I were a manager I suppose I should be concerned about jumping ship...but the investment seems small to keep someone engaged, not to say I'm not but I think an employer should consider growth.
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FIRE in 2031 @ 50yrs old (+/- 2yrs) w/ a hypothetical $2.5mil portfolio, 3 appreciated homes worth $1.0mil and rental income to fund my gap years until RMD. Assets will go to an inherited IRA where I plan on watching the investments grow until I die or the trust gets executed.
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by woodguy00 View Post
Many (not all) conferences are expensive boondoggles for a company. They may be more willing to pay for an online certification program or classes at a local college. Much bigger bang for the buck.
Good call. Never thought to look locally here at a college.
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FIRE in 2031 @ 50yrs old (+/- 2yrs) w/ a hypothetical $2.5mil portfolio, 3 appreciated homes worth $1.0mil and rental income to fund my gap years until RMD. Assets will go to an inherited IRA where I plan on watching the investments grow until I die or the trust gets executed.
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Old 03-24-2016, 01:41 PM   #10
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From the IRS:https://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch12.html


"If your education isn't required by your employer or the law, it can be qualifying work-related education only if it maintains or improves skills needed in your present work. This could include refresher courses, courses on current developments, and academic or vocational courses. "


You would need to itemized deductions and include the costs as misc. expenses subject to the 2% of AGI threshold.
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Old 03-24-2016, 01:51 PM   #11
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Only reason someone would consider paying out of pocket is if you were using that new knowledge to find a new job.

If a company is unwilling to invest in your education, they're probably not paying you nearly what you're worth.
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Old 03-24-2016, 01:56 PM   #12
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I would question staying on with an employer who is too cheap to invest in its people. I was lucky in that all my employers were willing to invest in my continuing professional education. Admittedly frequently the connections that I developed were more valuable than the course material, but I don't think that is unusual.

Unless this training qualifies you to jump to a more progressive employer, I would pass.
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Old 03-24-2016, 01:57 PM   #13
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Aha, I do project work under the security team sometimes so it would be relevant.

If I were a manager I suppose I should be concerned about jumping ship...but the investment seems small to keep someone engaged, not to say I'm not but I think an employer should consider growth.
I've never done that but I would under the right conditions. One might be my continued employment at that employer. I get the training and budget issues(had budget responsibility) but a good manager should be able to work around that(I did so it isn't that difficult). So maybe your manager is afraid you'll hop, but if you have interest in security what are they going to do for you?

Yes I'd pay if I was interested but that would start looking me looking immediately.
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:01 PM   #14
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Pay for a work trip? Out of my own pocket? Are you mad?

I'm not working any more, but NO WAY would I ever have paid for a work trip unless I had gone completely insane. I hated traveling for work, and had to do so probably a dozen times a year while working. It was NEVER fun, it was ALWAYS long long long hours of work, and why would I ever pay for that? The training classes were even longer hours and pretty grueling. Not only that, but I think that paying for my own training classes would have branded me as a loser or hanger-on among management at my work. They like to think that they can pay for any necessary training.
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I would question staying on with an employer who is too cheap to invest in its people. I was lucky in that all my employers were willing to invest in my continuing professional education. Admittedly frequently the connections that I developed were more valuable than the course material, but I don't think that is unusual.

Unless this training qualifies you to jump to a more progressive employer, I would pass.
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:14 PM   #15
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If it was a conference or training that really appealed to me I would. And FWIW, I know others who have done this. But the conferences I usually attend are much, much cheaper than what you are talking about. I would make sure I attended in a location that also appealed to me personally and take a few days tacked onto the end to sightsee.
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:21 PM   #16
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I would pay for it, assuming I received some benefit from it. If I was within 3 years of retirement, no way.

Will the trip enhance your skills so that you can make extra money at some point? Maybe be worth more money to a competitor? Or allow you to become an independent contractor? Or to a place you wanted to visit anyway?

If it was just to go to a seminar, that you get not much out of it (like most business conferences), I would stay home.
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:21 PM   #17
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Put my mangler hat on. Is the conference set up in a boondoggle location? Trips to Vegas and Palm Springs were hard to get approved, ones in the Midwest much easier.
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:34 PM   #18
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At a past employer, the new CEO decreed that there would be no reimbursement for volunteer industry committee activities, and no time off, unless it had marketing or educational value. I was volunteering for my professional society in a role that didn't fall into those categories. Once I went off to a one-day meeting in Chicago, paying my own plane fare, and then I went to a meeting in Philadelphia, including mileage and a hotel overnight. It was all vacation days.


THEN they asked me to run for the Board of Directors. My boss said he'd try to get support for me but couldn't promise it. I ran anyway. I was made part of a downsizing just before the ballot with B of D candidates went out to all the members of the Society. Talk about perfect timing! I had a very good network and found a job in 6 weeks (and had gotten severance for almost 6 months).


Bottom line: think of what YOU will gain from it first. If it's something you want to learn, and a networking opportunity, go for it. Employers can be very short-sighted, especially when it comes to developing their employees.
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:39 PM   #19
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:52 PM   #20
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First off, many conferences are great for networking, but you really don't learn that much at them, perhaps they introduce some topics to you, but an online search would turn up the same topics in 10 minutes.
ex: "top 10 computer server security issues"

I agree with others, that paying for College courses would be more productive and in depth.

I would Not pay for a conference trip in cash, but I think I did once agree to training where I didn't bill for the time, ie did it on my own time.
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