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Q1 2023 Financial Planning Blog – You’ll Thank Me Later

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I know, I know Christmas was only about two months ago…I am talking about tax season. It’s everyone’s favorite time of the year where you have to take time out of your schedule in an attempt to come up with a number that the IRS finds acceptable for your required tax obligation for the previous year. Some people are meticulous about this process and spend hours ensuring they don’t pay a penny more than they are required to, while others sprint through the process as quickly as possible so they can get it over with and move on with their lives. And then there’s the choice of filing yourself or hiring a professional so that you ensure you get all the numbers right and maybe even take advantage of some tax codes in order to get a refund from the IRS.

When all is said and done, the average American receives a $3,000 tax refund from the IRS. Most of the recipients of these refunds see this cash as a nice spring bonus, when in reality they were just giving the U.S. government an interest-free loan for the last 12 months. The desired outcome during tax filing season should be to owe the IRS $0 and for them to owe you $0. This would mean that they would not try to charge you for not paying your taxes on time and you would not have given them an interest-free loan. But let’s say we’re the average American and we received a $3,000 tax refund. What if I told you there is a way to try to earn back that interest you missed out on while the government held onto your $3,000 during the previous year?

Instead of viewing the $3,000 as a bonus to be spent on a luxury vacation or an impulse item you’ve been coveting, invest it. Take that money and have it work for you year-over-year. If you received this same $3,000 refund over 20 working years and continually invested it, earning a moderate 6% rate of return, you would accumulate over $110,000 during that span without using a single dollar from your pocket. If you continued that practice over another 20 years (40 years total), you would have nearly $500,000 in that account!

How about that?! Why should the government be the only party that wins in this scenario? So, if you receive a tax refund this year, don’t merely view it as disposable income, but choose to use it as a tool to pay yourself back. A little discipline goes a long way when it comes to consistent investing habits. Creating these habits early and often are important to success. You’ll thank me later.

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