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April 05, 2021

Will you spend or save that tax refund?

Many Canadians look forward to a tax refund with great anticipation. They consider it a tax-free windfall that they can spend without feeling guilty.

Tax We’re so anxious to do so that hundreds of thousands of us choose to receive our tax refund on the spot, generally paying as much as 10 cents on the dollar for the privilege.

Most advisors decry the practice, arguing that an instant refund is a stupid to pay to access your own money and that getting a refund in the first place means you've already provided the government with an interest-free loan.

Instead, they argue, you’d be better off waiting a couple of weeks and then using any refund to pay off debt or get started on some sort of rainy day fund

But not everyone sees things that way.

In fact, money coach John Strelecky, author of How to be Rich and Happy, doesn’t agree at all. Instead, he says, people should spend that refund because the return on the lifelong memory of, say, a nice vacation, is greater than the pittance you might see on a savings account, tax free or otherwise. 

Strelecky says we don’t know what the future brings, so spend more time doing what you want.

"If you are going to spend it on something that you won't remember 30 days from now, it's a waste," he maintains. "But if you are going to spend it on a Bucket List item that will be a lifelong experience of tremendous value, you are better off doing it now."

What plans do you have for your refund? Do you buy Strelecky's argument?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money

* Follow Gordon on Twitter here.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...