March 2, 2016 by Lisa Brammer
It’s March—yay! Have you seen your first robin yet? Are the crocuses blooming or at least poking up through the thawing earth? Here in the Midwest, March brings the end of ice-fishing. All ice houses must be removed from lakes (each night) before March 1st. No one wants those little shanties falling into the water as the ice melts. For me, the thinning ice is one of the first signs of spring. Of course, people visiting Lake Geneva, Wisconsin during their recent Winter Festival found out the hard way the ice isn’t always safe through February. Anyway, I know we’ve all heard the old adage, “April showers bring May flowers,” but do you know what March brings? Tax refunds. For a lot of Americans, this isn’t tax season (as that commercial points out) it’s refund season.
The National Retail Federation conducts an annual survey about tax returns. This year’s survey says most American consumers receiving a refund plan on improving their financial well-being by either saving the money or paying off debt with it.
Since almost two-thirds of consumers responding to the survey said they are expecting a refund, we are talking about a lot of money here. Overall, 34.9 percent said they will pay off debt with their refund and a whopping 49 percent say they plan to save it—the highest percentage in the history of the survey!
The 25-34-year-old group plan on being more aggressive than the others when it comes to paying off debt. 45 percent say they will use their refund to pay debts and 52.3 percent will be socking away their refund money. The youngest group, 18-24-year-olds, are the most aggressive when it comes to saving their refund—57.3 percent.
“Americans this year see refund season as a time to improve their financial health by using their refunds to get ahead on savings goals and plan for bigger purchases in the future,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO.
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