How to Have MORE Fun With YOUR Tax Refund in 2005

I counsel a LOT of people about money. I see the same mistakes being made over and over again.

If you've made 'em, don't worry. I'm here to help you do it right THIS year! The fact is, moneymakers need a money coach, just like gymnasts need a gymnastics coach.

As your MoneySmart(tm) coach, here are the mistakes in thinking and behavior I want you to avoid:

* Don't think of your refund as free money ? or lottery winnings. It's not! That refund is your hard-earned dollars that you loaned Uncle Sam interest free ? all last year.

* Don't spend the refund ? or OVERSPEND it - when you haven't gotten the cash in your hands yet.

* Don't spend the whole refund to pay down debt.

OK. So now you're MoneySmart(tm) about what NOT to do with that refund in 2005.

Next, here are my EASY MoneySmart(tm) moves that YOU can make to best handle your in'come tax refund this year.

First, divide your refund into thirds ? 3 equal amounts.

Why 3 equal amounts? Because we want to use that refund ? however small or large ? to handle the past, the present and the future.

Use one third to handle the PAST by paying down debts. Start with your most pressing debt?either the one with the highest interest rate, or the one with the biggest consequence for not paying it down.

Use one third for something you need or want in the PRESENT. If you can, use that money to have some FUN. Do something that is NOURISHING to you ? something that makes you feel GOOD. How about a mini-vacation, or an evening of fine dining and great entertainment, or a day at the spa?

***Of course, if the brakes on the car are shot, or you have some other pressing need, you'll need to do that FIRST.***

Finally, use one third to handle some aspect of your FUTURE. Here are several MoneySmart(tm) suggestions for you to think about.

*Put money in your Anti-Emergency� Fund. (see for details)

*Put money in your Rainy Day Fund (see for details) or save for your retirement through your 401(k), 403(b), IRA (traditional or Roth).

*Put money into college education funds (Coverdell IRAs or 529 plans) for your kids or grandkids.

Why is this "thirds" approach such a great idea? Because you'll be taking care of a variety of wants and needs ? AND taking several easy MoneySmart(tm) steps forward towards your BIG goal of financial freedom!

THAT is how you can have MORE fun with YOUR tax refund in 2005.

As always, if you have any questions, please go to my web page for contact information. I'm here to be YOUR coach, and make sure YOU succeed.



Now is also a GREAT time to "check out your paycheck":

* Re-evaluate how much money you are contributing to your 401(k) or 403(b).

* If you got a whopping refund, remember you were just sticking YOUR money in Uncle Sam's pocket. No point in giving Uncle Sam an interest free loan! Adjust your deductions so that you have just enough taxes withheld from your paycheck.


If you're paying outrageous credit card charges (and so many people are) you'll definitely want a free copy of "A Credit Expert's Secrets: You Can LOWER Your Credit Card Interest Rates". With my MoneySmart(tm) coaching, you be able to save hundreds (or maybe thousands) in credit card interest payments this year. Get a free copy of "A Credit Expert's Secrets You Can LOWER Your Credit Card Interest Rates" when you sign up for at:

Cindy Morus (�is a Certified Financial Recovery Counselor specializing in showing women and their families how to achieve financial well-being and peace of mind. She is also a Certified Credit Report Reviewer. Get a free copy of the "A Credit Expert's Secrets: You Can LOWER Your Credit Card Interest Rates"�e-book when you sign up for the "MoneySmart Nuggets" newsletter.

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