Five Smart Ways to Use Your Tax Refund

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For those of you receiving a nice check from Uncle Sam this year, here are 5 effective ways to use your tax refund:

  1. Pay off credit card debt 

  2. Boost your emergency savings (you should have at least 3 months of essential expenses and debt payments in the bank at all times)

  3. Pay off other debts like student loans or your mortgage, especially if interest rates are variable or on the high side

  4. Make an IRA contribution for 2017

  5. Make a 529 college savings contribution for 2017


By Carl Richards, The Behavior Gap

There are many good reasons to save and spend less. But at some point that approach can turn into an unhealthy relationship with money. Your money begins to control you, and you find yourself overly fixated on storing up wealth for the future … all for good reasons, but not well-balanced with life today. So for those of you who feel guilty spending money and love to save, consider this insightful directive to “spend the money.”

And for those of you legitimately not in a place to spend - you’re paying off credit card debt, building essential savings - I see you. I know it’s hard. Keep your sights on why you’re putting so much effort into your savings and debt payments. Keep up your efforts and be proud of your progress, regardless of how small or slow.


WHAT I’M READING: “Student Loan Forgiveness Program Approval Letters May Be Invalid, Education Dept. Says”
By Stacy Cowley, The New York Times

This is a PSA for anyone pursuing student loan forgiveness under the Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program. This is the first year in which people will complete the requirements to receive loan forgiveness. If you’re currently certifying work through the PSLF program, keep tabs on this story.

If you’re debating on whether or not to go for PSLF, check out this article with tips on “What to Consider Before Trading a High Salary for Student Loan Forgiveness”.