Tax season—love it or hate it—is an important and decision-filled time of year. If you’ve filed your taxes and received a tax refund from the IRS, you’re probably wondering what to do next.
Before splurging on a shopping spree or jetting off on an exotic trip, it’s important to consider all of your options. Here are four ways you can make your tax refund work toward your financial goals.
Pay off your debt
There are few things in life as satisfying as the feeling of financial freedom. Being out of debt and in control of your finances can truly transform your life. Not to mention, it can take a giant weight off your shoulders. Whether you have high-interest credit card debt or are paying off your student loans, putting your tax refund toward those balances can get you a little, or a lot, closer to being completely debt-free.
Start by paying down or paying off your loans with the highest interest rates. You’ll end up with more cash in your pocket each month from the money you save on interest. This is one investment that guarantees a return.
Build your savings
Do you have an emergency fund? Most experts recommend having at least enough to cover three to six months of living expenses, including your mortgage or rent, utilities, and other must-pay bills. If that’s not the number you’re seeing in your bank accounts, this is the perfect opportunity to get that in order.
Even if you have a hefty emergency fund, building your savings is still a smart idea. From your wedding to first home, college tuition to new vehicles, big purchases to vacations, having a healthy savings account to depend on can make paying for these expenses much easier.
Invest to maximize earnings
Make your tax refund generate more money with smart investment decisions. Contribute extra to your Roth IRA and watch your retirement balance grow. You can also use your refund to build an investment portfolio as you start exploring the world of stocks.
Invest in yourself
What’s the most powerful tool to maximize your earning potential? You are. Your skills, knowledge, work ethic, experience and training all contribute toward how much you can earn throughout your career. Your tax refund can be the key to investing in those areas and unlocking new opportunities. From pursuing an advanced degree to attending a relevant conference to joining a professional organization, use your refund for career-boosting investments. They will pay off for years to come.