Now, I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fan of large tax refunds (see March 1 blog). In fact, if you are consistently getting a large tax refund, you should probably adjust your withholdings so you can dedicate that money to your financial why’s every paycheck. After all, allowing the IRS to hold your money is a bad investment. If you should find yourself receiving one, though, you may be wondering how best ways to use it. It’s only normal to be tempted to do some retail therapy or splurge on a fun experience. However, it’s best to see how you can get your money to work for you before giving in to that temptation.
The very first thing to consider is how much debt you have. Large amounts of debt, whether it be student loans, credit cards or other outstanding financial obligations, can cripple you from saving for your goals. Using your tax refund to pay down debt might be the very thing to get you closer to saving for your goals.
You also want to make sure to bulk up your emergency fund. An unplanned repair, medical expense or job termination can all cost a pretty penny. Without an emergency fund, we may feel tempted to use our credit cards to cover the unexpected expense. As I just mentioned earlier, this simply takes us farther from our goals. Ensuring that we have an adequate emergency fund can make sure that we stay on target regardless of what life may throw at us.
Your tax refund can also be used to work towards your financial independence. Maximize your contributions. If you don’t have a plan, establish one. A little money can go a long way with the help of time and compound interest. Remember: there is no do-over when it comes to saving for retirement, so be sure to do as much as you can now because that time will be here before you know it.
I understand that using your tax refund check to indulge in something today can be quite tempting. More often than not, though, these distractions simply take you off your path to financial independence. You need to make sure that you’re making the money you receive today work to build the life you want to live tomorrow.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.