Income Taxes: To Spend or Not to Spend, That is the Question
Sunday, February 21, 2016

 By Porsche Miles-Grant

Tax season has finally arrived and it is super exciting to know that you will soon, if you haven't already, be receiving a great amount of funds. Many of us have a lot of plans on how we are spending our money. Some plans consist of purchasing things we want and need; vacations, new cars, homes, expensive clothes, jewelry, and much more. There are also some individuals who have already spent their tax money before they even received it. No harm, no foul! It's your money and you can choose to do what you want with it, but why not choose to be financially responsible. 
For many, the thought of taking a portion of their income tax refund and putting it into a savings account never crosses their minds. Under no circumstance does it dawn on them to utilize some of their earnings to pay on debts or maybe even pay off debts in a lump sum settlement. Ultimately, your income tax money can be used to place you back on track while helping you to rebuild your credit. Just think about it, wouldn't it be nice to use some of your refund to put in a savings account (i.e. Money Market account) where you can earn interest? This way, instead of spending all of your money, your money is making money for you. 
The way I see it, you are utilizing your refund to invest in your financial future. Yes, buying new clothes, jewelry, and taking your loved ones out to dinner is nice, but it only brings temporary gratification. However the choice to make responsible financial decisions brings about longevity and true financial success. Picture this, you have a few debts that are a burden, bill collectors continue to hassle you, your credit score has plummeted, and lenders tend to look at you in a bad light whenever you try to apply for credit and loans. 
Overall, everything that you want, need, and desire is costing a lot more money than you can afford. For the most part, you are not happy with the financial state you are in. Now picture you receiving your income tax refund, contacting all of your lenders, making payment arrangements for debts that are too big, paying off smaller debts, and putting 10%-20% in your savings account; just in case of emergencies. Subsequently, your credit score is rising, you're being responsible, rates are beginning to decrease, and lenders are more likely to lend you credit or loans in cases of emergencies.
I'm no rocket scientist, just a financial counselor, but it seems to me that being financially responsible grants more rewards than simply spending all of your income tax money on wants and desires. If you continue to do what you have always done, your financial state will never change. If you are sick and tired of being classified as broke or in debt, then you need to make better financial decisions. Make the decision to sacrifice a portion of your income tax refund on your debts and your savings. Let 2016 be the year that you increase your financial wealth.
Porsche Miles-Grant is the Community Engagement Coordinator at 
CASE Credit Union. Contact her at 517.367.1001 or send an email to  Log on to for more information.
This was printed in the February 21, 2016 - March 5, 2016 edition.

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