Hi everyone, this is Brandon Copeland aka Professor Cope and you are now locked in another episode of Face the money.
With the third and possibly the last stimulus payout slated for soon, here are some ideas on how to put the money to good use. Although I cannot tell you what to spend the money on, as every situation and every household is different, the way you manage money could offer many benefits.
Check out all of Brandon Copeland’s features on money management at Kiplinger.com.
So when can people expect to receive their stimulus payments? Some of you may have already received these direct deposit payments last weekend, so everyone should be on the lookout.
Have I already received mine? No? I don’t have any, I don’t have any? Oh.
If you haven’t received yours yet, I wouldn’t worry as these things may take a little longer to reach us. As we know, sometimes the government likes to promise too much and not keep its promises. Also, before you begin, know that the Kiplinger family have put together a lot of resources to help you navigate things like the changing maze of unemployment benefits, or exactly how much money you should expect. To view this and other useful information, visit kiplinger.com/tools.
First of all, if you’re having trouble paying your everyday bills, by all means, we’ll take care of it first. Paying utilities, buying food, keeping health insurance and debt payments up to date, probably in that order. I have linked to a helpful column written by my colleague Riley Adams that can help you confidently find an order for invoices to be paid.
Second, if you have credit cards or personal loans that bear interest, consider paying them off or even wiping them out altogether. Any payment towards the principal on these accounts saves you the current interest rate it charges. Also, if the item is now refunded, the money you used for that expense can now be used for another expense, or even saved.
Maybe the things you use every day need to be fixed or replaced. A car, computer or household appliances are just a few examples of such items. The repair needed to make something work again, or the outright replacement, can free up your time to tackle other projects. Maybe the item is something you use in your business, and now this fix will allow you to continue or even grow.
The value you receive by replacing or repairing this item could be invaluable.
Alternatively, or in conjunction with, consider saving money as part of your emergency fund. What if you don’t have one at all? Maybe now is the time to start one. We cannot predict when the car will need repair, a medical problem will arise or an unexpected bill will arrive in the future.
With an emergency fund, it could make the difference in easily handling this unforeseen emergency, rather than facing it with stress and anxiety. You want to aim for three to six months of your recurring monthly living expenses as a number to go for when you start saving for an emergency fund.
Another thing to consider is saving money in some type of retirement plan, such as an IRA, Roth IRA, or other retirement plan. Since a stimulus payment is considered tax-free income, that’s really good, you may be able to turn contributions to a retirement account into additional tax savings now and in the future.. You can also donate the money to a charity, as this could also give you a tax deduction.
However, in these two examples, the individual circumstances will vary. So checking with your tax professional is probably a good idea.
Finally, for those who already have the emergency fund, this may be the perfect time to look to invest in the stock market. I know it’s hard not to dive into some of the more popular titles, but getting rich this way is like winning the lottery. And personally, I wouldn’t bet my son’s next meal on that kind of odds.
Consider investing in some of the reopen or raise games. What benefits when the world is closer to normal, or what our new normal looks like. Now, while some of these companies you can think of have already factored the price of this reopening into their stock price, there are still some good buys out there, especially when you have a longer time to invest. Airlines, travel reservation services, and casinos are just a few of the examples of industries that will clearly benefit when the world becomes more normal again. If you’re not comfortable picking an individual stock, take a look at an industry-correlated ETF for exposure.
As mentioned, these are just a few ideas on how to maximize the money received from the last stimulus payment. I’m sure you can think of several other ways as well. But the point is to have the conversation, and think about what works best for you and your family. Money, as we know, can be hard to come by and it doesn’t grow on trees. So making the most of your situation is always the smart thing to do.
If you want to stay on top of the development of Stimulus Deployment, sign up for Kiplinger’s free daily newsletter, Kiplinger today, by simply going to kiplinger.com/email.
Another tip from Professor Cope. If your personal circumstances allow this test to move you forward and closer to your dreams, then by all means, let’s perform the greatest discipline we have ever used in our life, and make sure this test does. . Let’s not waste this thing trying to look cool on social media. Until next time, your boy, Professor Cope, logs off here. Another episode of Face the money in the books. I’ll see you soon.