Poll: Most People Will Use Tax Refunds To Pay Down Debt, Build Savings

Image courtesy of frankieleon

Are you expecting a tax refund this year? While making changes to how much tax you have withheld from your paychecks during the rest of the year can get you slightly larger checks all year long, most people keep things as they are and enjoy receiving a windfall at the beginning of the year. What do they do with that refund, though?

Rather than treating their tax refunds like a true windfall and doing something fun with it, most people polled by the finance site Bankrate.com say that they plan to use their tax refunds constructively, to pay down debt or put the money away in savings.

Still, financial planners think that we’re all not seeing the big picture. The average taxpayer gets a $3,000 refund. “That’s $250 a month you could have used throughout the year for saving or spending,” a New York-based financial planner explained to Bankrate. Instead, people are lending that money tax-free to the federal government. That isn’t especially useful for anyone.

Since we insist on receiving these refunds, what do we use them for? 34% of people say that they plan to put their refund toward debt. 30% say that they’re going to invest or save the money. 26% plan to use it for necessities, and 3% say that they plan to do something fun with it.

Are they telling the truth? Maybe that depends on how you define “necessity.”

Do you want a big tax refund or bigger paycheck? [BankRate]