Two women holding shopping bags while walking, talking and laughing

Welcome to Money Moves. I’m digging into all things money — moves that can impact you, links and insights, and the one thing I can’t get off my mind.

What happened:

It’s tax season. And if you’re expecting to receive a tax refund this year, some surprises are in store. On one hand, the average individual return is roughly 13% higher than in 2021, coming in at around $3,300. On the other hand, it could take a little longer to receive that refund. As of March 25, the IRS had 7.2 million unprocessed individual returns. While the slowdown is expected, it’s still a tough pill to swallow.

Why it matters:

Despite the delay, the boost has many excited about extra cash in their pockets. These days extra money is especially welcome as inflation continues to eat away at our paychecks. Many Americans are struggling with higher prices at the pump, the grocery store and most other places. A larger refund could provide some extra relief.

What it means for you:

Spare cash is fun to have, but now is the time to prioritize. You told us you’re going to use your refund to double down on the smart money habits you adopted over the past two years:

  • 50% of you plan to save your check
  • 30% say you’ll pay down debt
  • 25% will invest all or part of it
  • 16% will offset higher expenses from inflation
  • 16% are going to use the money for travel

 

If you’ve already received your refund (lucky you!) and you want to make it work harder for you, remember you can still make a 2021 contribution to your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) through Tax Day (April 18, 2022).

 

Purple background with magnifying glasses. Text overlay: On my mind.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk bought a chunk – to the tune of 9% – of Twitter shares and this week was added to the social media company’s Board of Directors. Having a guy like that on your board is a good thing. He’s a serial entrepreneur with a solid track record, is passionate about the platform (if you don’t follow him on Twitter, you should), and garners a lot of respect for his visionary ideas. But does someone who already helms four different companies have time to help improve Twitter’s operations and profitability? There is such a thing as getting stretched too thin, and while being a board member is not the same as being a CEO, it does require a solid time commitment. If you’re a Twitter or Tesla shareholder, it will be interesting to watch, so stay tuned.

Purple background with coins falling. Text overlay: Spare change.

Check out what else we’re reading this week.

Illustration of a laptop showing a virtual meeting, a stack of sticky notes with a pen, and a pen holder. Text overlay: Go figure: Meetings are up 250% since the start of the pandemic. Source: The Atlantic, “This is What Happens When There Are Too Many Meetings”  

Have comments or questions? Post a message below.

 


 
 

Expert Take with speech bubble icon

Headshot of Lindsey BellLindsey Bell, Ally’s chief markets & money strategist, is an award-winning investment professional with a passion for personal finance and more than 17 years of Wall Street experience. Bell’s unique ability to connect the dots between data and real life and craft bite-sized money ideas that people can use and apply stems from her deep background as an analyst, researcher and portfolio manager at organizations including J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank. She is known for demonstrating why and how an understanding of all things money improves a person’s finances and overall well-being. An ongoing CNBC contributor, Bell empowers consumers and investors across all walks of life and frequently shares her insights with the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Kiplinger’s, Forbes and Business Insider. She also serves on the board of Better Investing, a non-profit focused on investment education.

More content from Lindsey Bell.