Friday's Handwriting on the Wall posts will feature Chuck's new ChristianPost.com column, Ask Chuck. Chuck will be answering questions about what the the Bible has to say about money. Please share on #financialfridays and submit your own questions here. @AskCrown
Originally posted at Christian Post January 8, 2016.
I know that getting out of debt is a great New Year’s resolution (I’m willing to try that one again!) but do you have any advice on something else that I should prioritize?
Looking for a New Idea.
Dear New Idea,
First, Happy New Year! This is a great question since most resolutions involve getting in better shape physically or fiscally (financially - may be a better word here)! My encouragement is to keep this as your top priority as it is likely the best financial move you can make. You should also work to establish an Emergency Savings account.
I have an idea that could kill two birds with one proverbial stone – this year get your taxes organized as quickly as possible so that you can file in January and put that money to work for you. The fact is, most of us are giving the government an interest free loan by having our withholding too high. We don’t realize that when we get that refund check that money –which could have been working for you – has been sitting with Uncle Sam waiting for you to ask him to mail it back to you.
The average tax refund is more than $3,100 – a good start on debt reduction in the New Years. You can file your taxes by mid-January, and if you file on-line, a refund won’t be far behind.
To get started, gather your tax records, and look through your finances for potential deductions. You can find some great tax tips from Crown here. One of the first decisions you need to make is whether you are a Do-It-Yourself tax preparers, whether you want to hire an accountant, or, like a good friend of mine in personal finance, do all of the above. You can save a little money by preparing your own taxes first and then having a professional take a look for a smaller fee. Your legwork can lead to savings.