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How to use your tax return to build a stronger financial future

Whether you breeze through tax time or dread the extra admin, receiving a tax refund makes the effort worthwhile. For many of us, getting a financial boost will be even more welcome this year, and you might be looking around for the best ways to spend it.

Plan how you’ll spend your tax refund wisely

Never underestimate the power of a well-crafted plan – it’s easy to watch funds dwindle when you haven’t given them a clear direction.

Recent research has revealed that 87% of us admit to splurging an average of $2,172 annually as a result of comfort spending, a figure that has increased for one in three Australians since COVID-19 hit. Additionally, 37% of us are struggling to repay debt.

Like any goal, your ambitions for this year’s tax return can be more easily realised if you have a concrete plan in place. In fact, studies have found that taking the time to write down your goals and plans can improve your chances of making them happen.

When you have a clearer picture of your finances, decide exactly how you plan to use your tax refund to avoid excitement spending once it lands in your account. This includes any money you’re hoping to use for a holiday or other splurge – work it into your financial plan to avoid spending beyond your means.

Anticipate your upcoming living expenses

When making your plan, you might want to consider your upcoming living expenses, particularly any large, irregular bills such as car insurance and registration costs, utility bills and general home maintenance.

Putting aside some of your tax refund as a cushion for upcoming expenses or into an emergency fund for unexpected expenses helps you avoid reaching for other financial support – such as personal loans and credit cards – when the bills start to build up.

Pay off debt

If you have some debt to repay, you’re not alone: the average Australian household debt-to-income ratio is around 190%, meaning we owe almost twice as much as we earn each year4 Putting your tax return towards any outstanding debts, including mortgage repayments, personal loans, and any credit card debt, may help reduce any interest charges.

Source: AMP

ICG Financial Planning Melbourne