By Jim Donovan: If you have a tax refund check coming your way, consider using it to bolster your personal balance sheet. The average refund has been around $3,000 for the past two years, a nice chunk of change. Now the personal finance experts at Kiplinger’s have outlined ten good things you could do with your tax refund.
- Pay off credit card debt—using your refund to pay off a balance with an 18% interest rate is like earning 18% on your investments—an incredibly valuable use of the money!
- Rebuild your emergency fund—many people have raided their emergency fund over the past several years and have had little extra money to restore it.
- Boost retirement savings—you can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA for 2013 tax-free.
- Fund a taxable account—use the extra cash to buy shares in a mutual fund or stock you’ve been considering but perhaps feel is too risky for your IRA or not available in your 401(k) plan.
- Fill gaps in your insurance—for less than $1,000 you can get coverage for flooding and liability.
- Build your college savings—it’s always hard to juggle saving for college and retirement; here’s an opportunity to use your extra money to contribute to a 529 account.
- Help your kids save—contribute to a Roth IRA to help your child save for the future.
- Prepay your vacation—set aside some money for vacation rather than using your credit card and paying interest long after you have returned.
- Invest in your home—your refund won’t be enough to redo your kitchen or bathroom, but it can pay for some smaller home improvements like adding a backsplash, painting a room or sprucing up your yard.
- Give to others—if you have your financial bases covered, consider using your refund to make a charitable donation to help others in need.
For more information from Kiplinger’s visit: http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/taxes/T065-S001-10-smart-uses-for-your-tax-refund/index.html.