A Tax Refund Can Advance Your Financial Future

Anissa Ivy Anissa Ivy is a Member Service Representative in Gurnee.
  • Posted on 3/31/2015
If there’s one upside to doing your taxes, it’s the refund that you might get once you file. While it is a great feeling to get a check from the government, there are plenty of ways to put a refund to good use. Here’s a look at what to consider.
If there’s one upside to doing your taxes, it’s the refund that you might get once you file. Unfortunately you’re getting money back because you overpaid your taxes in the first place. But don’t let that get you down, it’s still a good feeling to get a check from the government.
There are plenty of ways to put a refund to good use. Here’s a look at what to consider.

Reduce Credit Card Debt

Use your refund to tackle any debt you’re carrying on your credit cards. Start with the card with the highest interest rate first, and then work your way down until all credit cards are paid off. Tackling your outstanding balances will keep you from paying the high interest charges making it more difficult and take longer to pay off the debt.

Add to an Emergency Fund

Do you have at least six months of living expenses in a savings account just in case? If not, throw your refund in there to get closer to that goal. Without having an emergency fund or having it fully stocked up, you could face a situation that will force you to throw an expense on your credit card. Your tax refund can provide a great start or help in increasing an emergency fund. Most financial planners agree that an emergency fund should hold three to six months’ worth of living expenses and that you should only pull money out in the case of an emergency. Although a refund is unlikely to fill your entire emergency fund, it can give it a good boost.

Maximize Retirement Savings

Start or add to your retirement savings account. If you’re not maxing out your retirement options, take some or all of your refund and put it toward that big life goal. Invest in your future, it’s always a good use of your dollars. If you’re already saving for your retirement, increase your monthly contributions. For more information on retirement saving, contact Consumers Financial & Investment Services.

Put It to Other Goals

Everyone saves more when they have a goal in mind. So what is on your wish list? Home renovations? A dream vacation? Now is your chance, if you have refund money left, add it to your “wish list” fund and get a bit closer to making it a reality. 

It’s also wise to adjust your withholdings to minimize your refund by filing a new W-4 form with your employer. The smaller your tax refund, the more you’ll have throughout the year. After all it’s your cash to begin with.

One tax return can’t do everything on this list but you can also use these ideas for any extra money that comes your way, from a birthday check from grandma to a bonus from your employer. Instead of buying things that lack long-term value, use your tax refund to reduce your debt, add to your retirement savings, or contribute to an emergency fund. You will find that setting yourself up for a stable financial future will relieve a lot of worry and anxiety about what’s to come.