How to put your tax refund to work for you | Personal finance
“If your industry is shrinking, you’ll need a larger emergency fund,” Shorb says, because it could take longer to find a new job if you lose your current job.
Unload high interest debt
With interest rates set to rise this year, credit cards and other variable-rate debt would likely become more expensive, making using repayment money to pay it off a smart move, says Mike Biggica, CFP in San Francisco. He suggests paying off any debt bearing an interest rate of 6% or more and also focusing on student loans, medical debt and anything bearing a variable rate.
Maggie Klokkenga, a financial coach and CFP in Morton, Illinois, suggests using an online debt calculator to see how making extra debt payments can speed up the debt repayment process. This can help you decide whether to pay off your smaller debts first or those that bear a higher rate of interest. “You can see how quickly you can pay it all back,” she says.
Make room for other goals too
If you’ve already paid off your emergency fund and high-interest debt, Klokkenga suggests putting the cash repayment into high-yield online savings accounts dedicated to different purposes, such as a vacation in Cabo. or retirement. “When it’s not in your checking account, it’s harder to access and gives you pause before you can get the money,” she says.