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Smart Uses for Your Tax Refund

A tax refund is more than just extra cash in your pocket—it provides a nice opportunity to make an impact on your financial well-being. Nearly 8 out of 10 U.S. tax filers will receive a federal tax refund this year with the average at more than $3,500.

5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Tax Refund

As you await your reimbursement from Uncle Sam, consider these five tips to make the most of your tax refund:

1) Save for emergencies. Open a high-yield savings account that serves as an emergency fund. Ideally, you should have three to six months of living expenses should an unexpected life event occur, such as home or car repair or loss of job.

2) Pay off debt. Pay down existing balances either by chipping away at loans with the highest interest rates or eliminating smaller debt first. How you choose which debt to pay off first will depend on your specific situation. Save on interest by paying off high interest loans first or decrease the amount of outstanding debt you have by knocking out those pesky loans.

3) Save for retirement. Consider contributing to a Traditional or Roth IRA with your refund. A Traditional IRA provides the opportunity for your investments to earn tax-deferred growth, while a Roth IRA can provide for tax-free growth over the long term. Both accounts are tax-advantageous and can potentially add a nice savings to use in retirement, outside of employer-sponsored plans.

4) Put it toward a down payment. The biggest challenge most first-time home buyers face is coming up with enough money for a down payment. If you intend to buy a new home in the future, putting your tax refund toward the down payment is a smart move. A greater down payment will result in more of your monthly payment going towards equity and less towards interest.

5) Invest in your current home. Use your refund to invest in home improvement projects that will increase the value of your home. Small projects - like minor kitchen remodels, entry door replacements, siding and landscaping - will provide you with the best payoff when it comes time to sell your house. And, while a bathroom addition would be nice, it is among those projects with the smallest return.

Busey is dedicated to providing support and resources to help you achieve your financial goals—whether buying your first home or saving for retirement. Visit any Busey location or call 1.800.67Busey today to get started.

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With five lines of business—personal, mortgage, commercial, cash management and wealth management—working together as One Busey, we can meet all your financial needs with confidence. Customers who partner with us are rewarded with the Busey Advantage—regional capabilities and local priorities. It's a commitment that has stood the test of time.

On the personal side, Busey Bank promises to make your banking hassle free with smart personal checking and savings accounts, convenient online banking and mobile banking solutions and consumer loans. Whether you are ready to buy your first home or simply want to refinance the one you currently own, our practical home mortgages, participation in a wide range of special loan programs and in-house mortgage expertise mean your home loan is tailored to your individual needs.

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You've earned it. We'll grow it. Busey Wealth Management provides asset management, investment and fiduciary services to individuals, businesses and foundations. We build a team of local professionals around your needs to establish the best strategy for your situation. We work closely with you to develop a personal, comprehensive plan that will help you meet your goals and objectives through each phase of the wealth management process.

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