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5 Wicked Smart Things to Do with Your Tax Refund

Let’s face it, taxes are no fun. That is, until you find out you’re getting money back from Uncle Sam. That’s a sure win, but it does bring up an important challenge question:

What should you do with that money?

You could plan a trip, buy the latest cell phone, or get a new set of golf clubs to finally get rid of that nasty slice.

Or you could do something even better: You could use it to enhance your finances.

Yes, enhance your finances. Sure, it’s not as exciting as the other stuff, but it’s a smart move, particularly with the rising cost of fuel, groceries, and other things.

So how can you turn that tax return into a little financial security? Here are five ways:

  • Build an emergency fund. From medical bills to car or home repairs, unexpected expenses happen. The best way to prepare is to set aside savings in a liquid savings account. Think of it as your own personal safety net to catch you when an unexpected bill arrives.
  • Give your savings a boost. Already have an emergency fund? You can use your refund to add to it or open a higher-interest-earning account, such as a Money Market account or CD.
  • Pay off high-interest debt. Debt happens to the best of us. But paying just the minimum amount due will ensure your debt stays around for a long time. Consider using your refund to pay down high-interest credit cards and other debt. With interest rates possibly rising, now’s a great time to send debt packing.
  • Save for retirement. Whether you’re just starting your career or nearing the end of it, you can never go wrong with setting aside money for that glorious time when you no longer have to work. Talk to your tax advisor about Traditional and Roth IRAs, which could provide tax benefits.
  • Start a college fund. College costs a lot, but with some planning and saving, you can make it more manageable. If you have children or grandchildren, consider using your refund to open a 529 plan. Then, if you can, make regular monthly contributions. You’ll be surprised how quickly your fund will build.

Do the smart thing, Moneybags. Put that windfall to work for you today!