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Myth: Getting a big refund on my income taxes is a good way to save money.
Truth: If you get a large tax refund, you’re allowing the IRS to take too much money out of your paycheck. You’re loaning the government your money—interest free. That’s money you could use to pay off debt and/or build wealth each month.
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Getting a chunk of your money back at tax time is not the same as taking it home in your paycheck each month. According to the IRS, the average tax refund will be $2,800 in 2010. That’s about $230 per month you can’t use because you’re sending it to the government!
If you’re following the Baby Steps—Dave Ramsey’s plan to get you out of debt and building wealth—$230 will go a long way. In Baby Step 2, you pay off all debt (except the house) using the debt snowball. Imagine how much more quickly you could accomplish that by adding $230 each month to your payments. And, because you’d be paying down principal, you’d save on interest, too.
Or, instead of giving your $230 a month to Uncle Sam, invest it in a Roth IRA earning a 12% rate of return. In 10 years, you’ll have $53,438. Got some extra time? After 32 years, your Roth IRA will be worth over $1 million—tax free!
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Your goal is to pay nothing at tax time and not get a big check back from the government. To do that, do some figuring now to determine what your taxes will be for next year. Fill out a new W-4 to have the proper amount withheld from your paycheck. You can get an idea of your potential savings by using the withholding calculator at irs.gov.
More than one million families have turned to Dave and his common-sense approach to money. Dave has also developed a network of service providers who implement this approach into their businesses. You can work with one of these tax services Endorsed Local Providers to determine what adjustments you need to make to keep more money in your paycheck.