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Roseville, Calif.- With tax season looming, millions of Americans will reap a refund from the IRS. While many people view tax refunds as a gift from Uncle Sam, the tax windfall is really an excellent opportunity to improve your long-term financial outlook.

“If you are anticipating a tax refund in 2015, you may be tempted to splurge on a big-ticket item like a flat-screen TV or a high-tech gadget,” said Gene Todd, Managing Director, First Bank Wealth Management Group. “But wise use of the refund can really serve an important springboard toward investing in your financial future.”

The following are five timely tips from First Bank to help you maximize your tax refund:

  • Save for emergencies. Instead of spending, open up a “rainy day” fund in a liquid account such as money market.
  • Pay yourself first. Consider using all or part or your refund to contribute to your IRA or Roth IRA. Don’t have one? Make an appointment to see your local financial consultant.
  • Think about the future. Establish or contribute to your children’s college savings plans. For a tax-advantaged college plan, see your financial consultant.
  • Make it mutual. Open a mutual fund account with your refund and add to it every year.
  • Press your advantage. To minimize your taxes for 2015, consider opening a tax-advantaged investment fund (municipal bonds, tax-deferred annuity).

First Bank is one of the largest privately owned banks in the country with $5.88 billion in assets and 129 locations in Missouri, Illinois, Florida, and California.ย 

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