Local Voices: Financial Tips for Tax Season

Published in Wellness Author: Carris Health

Financial health can be a big part of your overall wellbeing. Financial instability can create stress and worry over unexpected expenses. As we make our way through another tax season with procrastination, unease or maybe a little excitement for a tax return, we asked our local financial experts for some tips to help improve our financial stability or maximize this tax season. Here’s what they had to say:

Financial planning isn’t just for your parents. I’m talking to the under 40 crowd.  The view of many is ‘I’ll cross that bridge when I get there’ or ‘My finances aren’t that complex.’  But the fact of the matter is the decisions you make now will affect you in the future. Does this mean if you do it on your own you’ll fail miserably?  No. But are you sure you’re efficiently using your hard-earned cash and, more importantly, your time?” - Tony Madsen, NewLeaf Financial Guidance LLC

It’s tempting to use tax return money to splurge, but don’t go crazy—put a little aside for fun and use the rest to  set yourself up for financial success into the future. Consider giving your emergency fund a boost (it’s best to have 12 to 36 months living expenses saved), pay down high interest debts (which could lower your monthly payment), pump up retirement savings, prepay your mortgage, or share the wealth and donate to a charity you believe in (you’ll feel great and may get a tax deduction).” - Duane P. Heiling, Financial Advisor, Ameriprise Financial

If you are a young family – don’t let the child tax credit go unnoticed.Make sure you are getting the proper credit. This could be a huge opportunity for your household to save some money or reach another financial goal. Rather than just letting that money go into your normal budget, consider, as a family, putting it aside in a longer term investment, like retirement plan or college savings.” - Thrivent Financial Redwood Area Group

The best investment mix is the one you’ll stick with – good times and bad.  The stock market in February has shown increased volatility.  But what if I told you, statistically speaking, the market hasn’t been as volatile as we should expect? Behaviorally, people enjoy taking risk when the markets are up and become risk-averse when the markets are down.  Making emotional changes can negatively impact your portfolio. If, based on what you saw in the news, you felt like making a change at any time in the last month, the question begs to be asked… Are you taking appropriate risk?” - Tony Madsen, NewLeaf Financial Guidance LLC

 Look at your bigger financial picture and what will benefit you more in the long term. Sometimes we tend to do what will save us the most money in the current year, when in reality, there are definite financial moves to make that your future self will thank you for.  Ask questions to understand your tax return before signing, and look at opportunities, such as contributing to a Roth IRA.” - Rhonda Kerkhoff, Focus Financial

 If you are over age 70 – It is mandatory that you learn of the Qualified Charitable Distribution from your IRA accounts, this could literally save you hundreds of dollars in tax from charitable donations that you were likely going to make to your local church, relay for life, animal shelter, hospital foundation, 4-H etc.” - Thrivent Financial Redwood Area Group