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Over the past two weeks, has been getting featured on NBC local news affiliates across the country as a great place to put your tax rebate dollars.

That got us thinking – what do people normally do with their tax refund dollars?  So we put a poll in the field.


What will you do with your tax dollars?

tax refund plans

How would you use your tax refund?

  • Spend it
  • Save for a big purchase (new car, new home, etc)
  • Invest in stocks & bonds
  • Save with no specific purchase in mind
  • Save for retirement
  • Pay off debt


Here are numbers from the online poll:

  • # of Respondents: 1609
  • Age Range of respondents: 21-75
  • Avg age of respondents:  31

3 Takeaways:

3)  Debt is a big problem. 35% of people said that they would use their returns to pay off debt.  This is a fantastic use of a tax return that we endorse wholeheartedly at Betterment.  A tax return can be a great jumpstart to helping someone achieve a debt free life. investment return rates

2)  People know they should be saving. A solid 40% of people who responded to the poll told us that they planned on saving their tax rebate.  This is a great sign and shows people are thinking about the future.

1)  People don’t look at investing as an option even though they should. It was troubling to see that while 40% of people wanted to save, only 2% of people planned on investing.  Our goal at Betterment is to show people that investing can be as easy as putting money in a savings account – but can provide people with better returns than they would see with a savings account.

This guest post is from Alan at Betterment.

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4 comments add your comment

  1. Thanks so much for posting this!

    It looks like some of the text on our graph got cut off, but wanted to make sure that the results are clear for your readers.

    “What will you do with your tax refund?”
    Spend It: 20%
    Save for big purchase: 18%
    Invest in stocks/bonds: 2%
    Save with no specific purchase in mind: 21%
    Save for retirement: 1%
    Pay off debt: 35%

  2. Lack of financial education probably plays a large part in tax payer decisions. People see this as “free money” instead of their money they allowed the feds to hang on to interest-free.

  3. I have friends that intentionally get a refund each year; just so that they can go and spend it all at once. I have tried explaining that a refund is simply money they loaned to the government, at no interest, without my success. I guess some people simply do not have the discipline to save it themselves.