Before you let your tax refund burn a hole in your pocket, give the money a purpose. Think about your personal financial situation and how you can make the most of your refund.
1. Start or Increase Your Emergency Fund
When things get tight, an emergency fund can ease major financial stress. Good practices suggest building your emergency fund up to 6 to 8 months of your salary and your refund to make a significant deposit to your emergency fund.
2. Pay Off High-Interest Debt
After establishing an emergency fund, the next best thing you can do with your tax refund is reduce or eliminate any high-interest debt that you’re carrying.
3. Spend It On Something You Need
Make the most of your refund by taking care of something important you've been delaying, like car repairs or dental work.
4. Make Home Improvements
Do you need a new roof? Is your kitchen outdated? Could new energy-efficient appliances lower your utility bills? Home improvement projects can immediately increase the value of your property while simultaneously making your home more comfortable.
5. Invest In an IRA
Depending on your income level, goals, age, and whether you have already fully funded your tax sheltered accounts, using your tax refund to get a head start on IRA contributions can be a great move.
6. Donate to Charitable Causes
On a tight budget, making charitable donations can unfortunately slip down on your list of priorities. Your refund gives you a chance to give a little back.
7. Spend It On Something You Want
You saved all year, and now you’ve earned the right to splurge a little bit. Don’t feel guilty about using the extra cash for a summer vacation or to treat your family to a nice dinner.
With more than 125 people in attendance, we had a great time at our Annual Member Meeting on March 1, 2019! Thank you to all of our members who attended.
SET CLEAR GOALS. Do you have clear plans for retirement, college, and other major life events? If not, define your life goals and then develop your financial plan to get there.
BUILD YOUR SAVINGS. Set up an automatic deposit into a savings account with as much as you can afford to put in the account. You’ll be surprised how quickly a little money can amass into a healthy savings account.
REVIEW YOUR AUTOMATIC PAYMENTS. Thoroughly review your accounts to make sure that you are not erroneously paying for old subscriptions or bills that have already been paid off.
MANAGE YOUR CREDIT. Paying off your credit cards and getting rid of those high interest rates is one of the best ways to put money back in your pocket.
REVIEW YOUR WITHHOLDINGS. If you’re intentionally withholding too much on your taxes to avoid end of the year taxes or to get a big payback from the IRS, that’s not a good practice. Use a tax calculator to make sure that your withholdings are accurate.
REVIEW INSURANCE POLICIES. Don’t insure your 10-year old car like Tesla. Make sure that you haven’t overbought on your auto, life, health and other insurance policies. Review carefully and make cuts where possible.
BUMP UP YOUR 401K. Add a little more to your 401K this year, especially if your employer does a matching contribution.
GUARD AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT. Monitor your credit reports and statements to ensure that your identity and finances are protected.
CNN Money shares these smart financial apps that will change the way you save, shop, pay, bank, invest and more.
Earmark. Avoid splurges and save. With Earmark, every time you forgo buying a latte or going out to dinner, you can place the money you would have spent on those splurges into an account earmarked for special savings.
Level. Simplify your monthly budget with this app that makes it easy to understand how much you can spend without breaking your budget.
Tax reform is here … how will it affect you in the upcoming tax season? About 42% of surveyed taxpayers don’t know if the new tax law will benefit them. EPB Employees Credit Union is here to help, providing you with information about the new tax laws and keeping you up to date.
Here are three of the most important changes:
1. Your Tax Bracket Might Have Changed
The seven tax brackets found in the former law remain, but a number of tax rates are lower. The income thresholds at which the rates apply also change. That means you can decrease your tax burden with deductions that place you in a lower tax bracket.
2. Families Find Relief
This most recent tax reform effort doubled the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000. If you’re saving for your kids’ education via a 529 plan, this creates an opportunity to increase your contribution — tax-free — without trying to find those funds in your current budget.
3. Some Eliminations and Deductions Fade
Contrary to the interpretation of some people, the tax reform change did not immediately do away with the tax penalty that accompanies non-participation in a health plan. Since the window for such participation is now closed, if you find yourself outside of a plan looking in on tax penalties, your best bet is to determine a payment strategy.