Five smart options for your tax refund

 A grandmother smiles at her grandchild while his mom holds him up.

You may not get much of a thrill from filing your taxes, but the process becomes much more enjoyable if you're expecting a refund. So, if one is headed your way, what should you do with the money?

Here are five smart strategies for your tax refund.

1. Pay down some debt. At some time or another, most of us probably feel we’re carrying too much debt. If you can use your tax refund to help reduce your monthly debt payments, you’ll improve your cash flow and possibly have more money to invest for the future. 

2. Build an emergency fund. If you are faced with a large unexpected expense how would you pay for it? If you did not have the cash readily available, you might be forced to dip into your long-term investments. To help avoid this problem, you could create an emergency fund with the additional money.

3. Look for other investment opportunities. If you have some gaps in your portfolio, or some opportunities to improve your overall diversification, you might want to use your tax refund to add some new investments.

4. Save for retirement. Whether you have an employer-sponsored plan, an individual retirement plan or both, putting some of that refund money toward retirement can pay off in the long run. It's a great opportunity to start or continue to build your nest egg.

5. Invest in a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). If you have children, it might be a good time to start saving for their future education needs. It might be the perfect time to start preparing for the day when your child is ready for post-secondary school.

A refund gives you a chance to improve your overall financial picture. Whatever strategy you decide to use, consult with your Edward Jones financial advisor to help you weigh your options and choose a course of action that makes the most sense for you.