Empower Blog

man at home working on his finances
February 16, 2024

Making the Most of Your Tax Return

Financial Planning, Savings
This article was recently published in CommunityAmerica's "Let's Talk Money" section of the Kansas City Star.

With tax return season around the corner, several businesses are vying for your tax return money and enticing you with incentives for purchases you might not normally make. You may find yourself with a larger sum of money than you typically have at one time and it’s important to consider ways to use your money wisely.


As you think about what to do with your tax return this year, below are eight smart ways you can put your money to good use.

Invest in Yourself

While treating yourself to new clothes or material things may be tempting, now is a good time to invest in your skillset or education that provides ongoing returns. Investing in professional certifications or classes to enhance your subject knowledge could drive future growth in your position or guide you on a path to a new career. You may also consider investing in a side job such as a resume writer or medical coder. Purchasing LinkedIn Premium to look for new employment opportunities can also be beneficial.

Enhance your Emergency Fund or Pay Off High-Interest Debt

Starting or adding to your emergency fund can provide a safety net for life’s unexpected expenses. Having funds available can prevent you from having to borrow money or open a credit card to pay for sudden or unavoidable costs. Paying off high-interest debt saves you money, can increase your credit score and provides more cash in your monthly budget you can apply to other savings accounts or investment opportunities.

Save For Near Term Goals

These are the events or items you are planning for in the next 12-18 months. Are you planning on adding a child to your family, paying for a wedding or saving for a down payment on a house? All of these are thoughtful ways to use your tax return money. Open a CD or Money Market to earn even more on your tax return.

Invest in Your Children’s Future

Higher education is a significant expense. By investing in a 529 college savings plan or Uniform Transfer to Minor (UTMA) account, you can set your child up for a future of less financial stress. Earnings from 529 plans are not subject to federal tax and generally not subject to state tax when used for qualified education expenses. Contributions to a 529 plan, however, are typically not tax deductible. There are plenty of resources for additional information on this, such as the IRS. By investing in an UTMA, you can contribute up to a certain amount of cash each year, free of gift-tax consequences. This can include cash, real estate, or other inheritances. Our Wealth Advisors can help you decide what kind of savings would serve you and your family best.

Save for Retirement

Retirement may seem far away for many people; however, the planning starts decades before leaving the workforce. You can consider opening a traditional or Roth IRA that could assist you with your retirement goals. Both are good options and have their own considerations for investing in your future self, even if it is a small amount at first.

Consider Life Insurance

Protecting your family through life insurance may not have the appeal of other kinds of investments. Still, it’s essential in relieving financial burdens if something where to happen to you.

Invest In Your Well-Being

There is wisdom in using your tax return money to invest in your mental and physical well-being. Ways to invest in your health may include joining a gym, getting dinner with friends or taking a trip to reconnect with loved ones. Balance is key when investing your money, and there are several ways to diversify your investments; it does not have to be all or nothing.

Apply Your Refund to Next Quarter’s Tax Payment

This is something to consider for small business owners. Other options may be prepaying upcoming expenses for the year, such as software services, insurance plans and IT services. Prepaying these expenses can result in cost savings in addition to minimizing your taxable net income for the year.


Everyone’s personal savings goals are unique. If you need assistance getting on the right track or digging deeper into your own financial planning, visit one of our branches to set up a free appointment with a Financial Well-Being Coach.

Was This Article Helpful?
14 of 16 people found this article helpful
About the Author
CommunityAmerica Author
Wealth Management by CommunityAmerica

Wealth Management by CommunityAmerica is rooted in helping individuals, business owners and families with financial and investment planning to help them achieve a financial peace of mind. At the center of our Wealth Management practice is a focus on you, the member.

Neither Wealth Management by CommunityAmerica nor its financial advisors provide tax advice. For tax advice, please speak with a qualified tax professional.

Securities and advisory services offered through Copper Financial Network, LLC (“Copper Financial”), a broker-dealer and SEC registered investment adviser. Member FINRA/SIPC. Copper Financial is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CommunityAmerica Credit Union (“CommunityAmerica”) and makes non-deposit investment products and services available to its members. Representatives are registered with Copper Financial. CommunityAmerica and Wealth Management by CommunityAmerica are not broker-dealers or investment advisers. For important disclosures from Copper Financial please visit here.


Copper Financial registered representatives associated with this website may discuss and/or transact business only with residents of the states in which they are properly registered or licensed.


Link to the Copper Financial Customer Relationship Summary.


Investment and insurance products offered through Copper Financial:


Are Not Deposits

Are Not NCUA or otherwise Federally Insured

Are Not Obligations of or Guaranteed by the Credit Union

May Lose Value