Tax returns do's and dont's

Tax returns do's and dont's

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

It is the middle of tax season and those who have already filed are waiting for the return. 

In 2016, the average return in Texas was more than $3,000, according to the IRS.  

Investment Planner Barry Malone said to slow down and consider more options on what to do with that money. 

"Probably not the best financial advice to say let's throw a party because I got a tax return," Malone said. "It depends on everyone's individual circumstances."

Malone said the first thing you should do is pay off debt. 

"If you owe money to someone, or owe on credit card, owe money on student loans, you probably should apply to debt reduction," Malone said. 

Malone said once that is done, the next place that money should go is to an emergency fund.  

 "You should have somewhere in the neighborhood of three months of your monthly salary," Malone said. "You should have it sitting in a savings account somewhere."

When that is in check, Malone said to think about how you are saving long term.  

  "If you don't have an employer sponsored retirement plan, like a 401K or some other type of plan you can contribute to, open up an IRA," Malone said. "Talk to your tax professional, talk to an investment adviser to tell you where's the best place to put that money."

Benji Snead with the First Bank and Trust said it could also provide an opportunity to be charitable. 

"Invest back into your community, you can do a few things with that," Snead said. "You help people in need, goes to a good cause, and you can take that money and it'll be another deduction for you next year." 

However, if you already have finances in check - there is no shame in treating yourself.

"Take some of that money and reward yourself, give yourself a treat," Malone said. "Don't think an investment adviser is snively whiplash that's going tie to you the railroad tracks if you don't save all your money."

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