FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Louisville, KY—February 16, 2017—Each year as tax time approaches, people begin thinking about what they’ll do with that tax refund they anticipate receiving. “Many people view a tax refund as found money to ‘play’ with, rather than as a means of improving their financial security,” said Carla Dearing, CEO of SUM180, an online financial wellness service designed to be simple and affordable.
“How many folks use their tax refund falls into the same category of magical thinking as overeating on a cruise; somehow it just doesn’t count. Even those who are careful with their finances—and about what they eat—throughout the year may go a little crazy with this ‘free’ money. The very best use for these funds right now, is to put them toward their longer-term savings,” Carla continued.
To make the most of this—and every—year’s tax refund, Carla suggests people use it to:
Add it to your cash reserves to top off your emergency fund. Unexpected expenses happen all the time, but if you have the right cushion of savings, these unexpected expenses don’t have to derail you. Your cash reserves should cover six months’ worth of expenses. After you have this six-month cushion, you should set aside a separate emergency fund; enough to cover 24 months’ of expenses for longer-term situations such as an extended illness.
Start maxing out your company 401(k) or other retirement fund. Don’t just save the minimum in your retirement funds. Use these funds to get closer to the maximum allowed, so that these funds can grow over time for you. Your benefits administrator and reputable fund companies like Vanguard and Fidelity can answer any questions you have about how to max out.
Start an investment portfolio (if you won’t need these funds for at least five years and after you’ve maxed out contributions to your retirement accounts). Select a low-cost index mutual fund or ETF with one of the high-quality, low-cost players like Vanguard, Fidelity or T. Rowe Price; they will help you choose the right one. You’ll need a minimum of $3,000-$5,000 to start.
“The primary advantage of this approach is that it helps people become passionate about saving. Immediately sock away all lump sum amounts—bonus, overtime pay, promotion, tax refund. Doing this—combined with a commitment to saving 10% of your income, no matter how much you earn—results in the confidence of knowing that you’re living within your means. These are the steps that make many other financial accomplishments possible, such as saving the down payment for a house or setting aside a college fund for the kids,” Carla concluded.
SUM180 is an online financial wellness service designed to make planning and dealing with your money simple and affordable.
Specifically, SUM180 is differentiated in the following ways:
- SUM180 meets people where they are. SUM180 plans are personalized to help people wherever they are right now on their financial journey; whether they’re just beginning, starting over or well on their way.
- SUM180 plans are simple. They start with only the three (3) most important next steps, making them easier to accomplish, and gives clients a clear picture of where they are.
- SUM180 doesn’t assume clients want to become financial experts to meet their financial goals. SUM180 provides the tools they need, without overwhelming them with “education” and details they don’t need.
- SUM180 offers a community for users, unfiltered, which allows them to explore and share.
- SUM180 serves; never sells. Earning and keeping client trust is SUM180’s highest priority.
- SUM180 never makes commissions from any of its recommendations, ever.