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Should I try to get a big refund?

Dear Dave,

Do you recommend having a person’s keep their W2 as close to their tax return as possible even if they might have to pay at the end of the year or have more taken out? It seems like every year I have been getting a big tax return, and I started thinking that if I planned it better, I could have more money throughout the year. What are your thoughts?

Charlie

Destin, Fla.

Dear Charlie,

Sure. I think that is a good idea. But you don’t want to have to pay big, big amounts at the end of the year, either. If you can hit it within about $50 – $100 then you’ve done a good job.

You really don’t want a big refund. If you get a big tax refund every year, all that means is that you have lent money to the government interest free for the whole year, and at the end of the year they gave it back to you. When they do that, some people think that Santa Clause has shown up in April, and that is not a good plan. Don’t make interest-free loans to the IRS. That is all a tax refund is. You’ve had too much taken out of your check each week and then you got it back later. Big deal. But no, Charlie, that is not a good plan.

Try to adjust your W2 so that you are hitting within $100 at the end of the year at tax time. Then you will have more of your money throughout the entire year instead of getting a chunk back at the end of the year.

Dave


Wife is addicted to BINGO

Dear Dave,

I hope you can help me out. I have a wife who is addicted to Bingo. Don’t laugh. She doesn’t seem to be willing to give up this habit, either, even though it is taking a big bite out of our budget. I try to talk to her about it all the time but she just laughs me off and pretends like it isn’t a real problem. She spends about $300 each week on playing Bingo. If I have done the math right, that is about $15,000 per year. We have only been married about 2 years and we have a one-year-old daughter. I make about $70,000 per year, but it has gotten to the point where this is an addiction just like drinking or smoking or anything else. How can I be a good husband and tell her that this has got to stop?

Mike

Louisville, Ky.

Dear Mike,

Let me start by saying yes, she truly is an addict. This is just as bad as any of those other addictions you mentioned. The amount of money that is going down the toilet is proof that this woman is addicted. She has crossed the line. Now, what do you do with a spouse that has crossed the line? I am not an expert on addiction, but I would suggest that you don’t spend another day without talking to someone.

First, you need to get with a counselor that works with addiction and get some advice on how you should deal with yourself and your child, and how you should deal with your marriage and how you deal with her. You need to find out from the counselor how to draw some definite lines with her on this, and also on how to draw her into the realization and away from denial that she has a problem. I am not mad at her, but she is sick and she needs to get some serious help. If she won’t listen to you on this matter, perhaps she will listen to a trained professional. This is a serious problem, and you need to do something about it fast.

Dave


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