By Gerry Mitchell
The Meridian Star
Is a tax refund coming your way? If you have already received your refund for the 2013 tax year or are about to receive it, you might want to think about the destiny of that money. Here are some possibilities.
Start (or add to) an emergency fund. Many people don’t have a dedicated rainy day fund, only the presumption that they might have enough cash in case of a financial tight spot.
Invest in yourself. You could put the money toward education, career training, personal improvement, or some sort of personal experience with the potential to enhance your life.
Use it for a down payment on a car or truck or real property. Real property represents the better financial choice, but updating your vehicle may have merit - cars do wear out, and while a truck also ages, it can help you make money.
Put it into an IRA or workplace retirement account. If you haven’t maxed out your IRA this year or have a chance to get an employer match, why not?
Help your child open up a Roth IRA. If your under-18 son or daughter will earn income this year, he or she can open a Roth IRA. Your child’s contribution limit is $5,500 or the amount of his or her earned income for 2014 (whichever is lower). You can actually make this Roth IRA contribution with your own money if your child has spent his or her earnings.
Pay down debt. Always a smart choice.
Pay for that trip in advance. Instead of racking up a bigger credit card bill, consider pre-paying some costs or taking an all-inclusive trip (some are not as pricey as you might think).
Get your home ready for the market. A four-figure refund may give you the cash to spruce up the yard and/or exterior of your residence. Or, it could help you pay a professional who can assist you with staging it.
Improve your home with energy-saving appliances. Or windows, or weatherstripping – just to name a few options.
Write a proper will. Your refund could pay the attorney fee, and the will you create might end up more ironclad.
See a doctor, optometrist, dentist or physical therapist. If you haven’t been able to see these professionals due to your insurance situation or your personal cash flow, the refund might provide a way.
Give yourself a de facto raise. Adjust your withholding to boost your take-home pay.
Pick up some more insurance coverage for cheap. More and more affordable options exist for insuring yourself, your business and your property.
Pay it forward. Your refund could turn into a charitable contribution (deductible on your federal tax return if you itemize deductions).
Last year, the average federal tax refund was $2,744. That’s a nice chunk of change – and it could be used to bring some positive change to your financial life and the lives of others.
Gerry Mitchell, CFP®, AAMS® is a Financial Consultant with Community Investment Professionals and may be reached at (601)693-0200 or email@example.com.