Skip to main content

Employees Get Ready To Spend Their Tax Refunds

It's almost April 15. Are you done with your taxes?

If you're getting a refund (lucky you...), you'll get the fun of deciding what to do with it. Should you put it into savings? Pay off some bills? Do something fun? Revamp your wardrobe? Spend it on the kids? Or some combination of the above?

CareerBuilder surveyed 3,900 employees to find out what they'll do with their tax refunds this year. Nearly half (46%) of the employees surveyed said they plan to pay off bills, while more than one-third (36%) said they'll put it into savings.

These numbers are an improvement over last year, when more than half (56%) planned to pay off bills and slightly more than one-third (34%) planned to save their tax refunds for a rainy day. CareerBuilder concludes that the trend toward less bill paying and more saving indicates a more stable economic picture.

Still, six-in-ten workers are living paycheck to paycheck. That means they're in trouble if something bad (read: expensive) suddenly happens. There's never a good time for the car to break down, for a bone to break, or for an employer to break the news that an employee is losing his or her job, is there? Saving money is a good thing in the long term, but a rise in the savings rate could also indicate a higher level of employee fear.

But let's not get morose, because employees haven't had this much dosh since last April! So how are they planning to spend their refund dollars this year? Home improvements, a vacation, paying back money owed to friends and relatives, investing, and a new car top the list. They'll also use their refunds to pay for a wedding, donate to charity, go to the doctor, make a few mortgage payments, buy a new computer, and pay for college.

These are all great ideas, except for the wedding expenditures. You think "we'll just have a small wedding" but the wedding industrial complex will demand that you go big or go home. Your mother will say you need to invite cousin so-and-so whom you haven't seen since you wore braces, and before you know it you're planning a wedding for 250 people. Then everyone's upset, and you're asking Carolyn Hax for advice.

Don't listen to TLC and The Wedding Channel, kids. It's just one day, princessing is for four-year-olds, and your ass is already drowning in student loan debt. Your parents, meanwhile, should be more worried about saving for retirement than place settings and seating charts. You're not Wills and Kate; you're navigating the worst recession since the 1930s. The cost of living is high. It's okay to be practical. Talk to your grandparents, or great-grandparents. I'll get off my soapbox now. Randy wouldn't like me.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…