Why is a big tax refund a bad idea? I’ve given you three reasons below. Let me know in the comments section if you can think of more.
Loaning your money for free to someone who doesn’t need it. What if I told you that you were going to loan someone $2,000 this year, and you weren’t going to charge interest. On top of that – you are going to wait a year to get it back, and ask for it in writing. Are you laughing at my question? If you are getting a tax refund this year, that is exactly what you have done! You loaned the government a portion of your paycheck every week, you didn’t receive any interest on that loan, and now you have to fill out a tax form to get it back.
Putting your money to work. The average tax return in 2008 was $2,683. So, you are not alone in doing this, but you should make sure it doesn’t happen again. When you see your tax preparer, ask him to adjust your withholdings so that you will not get a huge refund. I know you don’t want to owe $2,000 in taxes. Instead, aim to have the correct amount of taxes withheld. This way, you can have that extra money earning interest in your savings account, or saving you interest by going towards extra payments on your debt. That is how you make your money work for you.
You get less money with a tax refund. Are you worried that you won’t have the big check every spring for that special purchase? You might assume that a tax refund is a good savings plan. It’s not – good savings plans pay interest. Put the extra money in your own savings account instead. Divide your tax refund by the number of times you get paid each year. Then, have that amount automatically deducted from your paycheck and put into a savings account. If you want to have $2,500 saved in a year, that means you need to save about $48 a week. You are probably thinking that you don’t have an extra $48. Trust me; you will not miss money that’s not in your paycheck. Besides, if you’ve adjusted your tax withholdings, you’ll have more take-home pay.