1. Home
  2. finance
  3. news
  4. It's tax season. Here's what to do if you get a rebate.

It's tax season. Here's what to do if you get a rebate.

Dan DeFrancesco   

It's tax season. Here's what to do if you get a rebate.
  • This post originally appeared in the Insider Today newsletter.

Welcome back! Turns out the dogfighting and flying in the "Top Gun" movies is spot-on, according to an actual TOPGUN instructor.

In today's big story, the top habits of financially free people could serve as inspiration for what to do with your tax rebate.

What's on deck:

But first, what to do with that money from Uncle Sam.

If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.

The big story

Tax time

Spring has nearly sprung. The blooming flowers and warmer weather probably have you thinking of one thing: Filing your taxes.

In reality, tax season can be a pain, but at least there's new free software to do it, thanks to the IRS.

For many filers, there is a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a rebate.

(Of course, that's not the case for everyone. But as my grandfather used to say, better to owe the government money than ask for some of yours back. To be fair, he was not an accountant, so don't take that as financial advice.)

If you do snag a rebate, what should you do with it? It's a question plenty of Americans contemplate every year. And with so much turmoil in the economy currently, it's even more pressing.

Business Insider's Kathleen Elkins has interviewed dozens of financially independent people who don't need to work thanks to passive income or their investments.

To get inspiration on what to do with your rebate, I asked Kathleen about some of the themes she constantly hears from these financial wizards.

Pay off your high-interest debt first. The top priority often cited by the financially independent is tackling debt with high interest rates. The rationale is the longer you wait, the more it will snowball. And with no definitive timeline on when rates will be lowered, that snowball could quickly become an avalanche.

Establish an emergency fund. Saving up a safety net is something else those on the path to financial freedom look to do before they even consider investing. Kathleen told me the standard amount was typically three to six months of living expenses.

Keep it simple. Investing doesn't have to be complicated, according to these experts. Many often opt for index funds over individual stocks or, dare I say, crypto. They're also not worried about timing the market since they almost always take a long-term approach.

The power of an HSA. Health savings accounts are a favorite among this group thanks to their triple tax advantage: contribute pretax dollars that grow tax-free over time until you withdraw your money tax-free to cover qualified medical expenses. The case for HSAs was so compelling Kathleen even opened one up for herself.

Don't forget yourself. People looking to achieve financial freedom are known to cut costs wherever possible. But Nischa Shah, an accountant and former investment banker, preached the value of spending money on yourself. That could be building a new skill, attending a conference, or hiring a coach.

News brief

Your Monday headline catchup

A quick recap of the top news from over the weekend:

3 things in markets

  1. Market gurus are getting worried about a bubble. Experts like former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers are worried about stocks' lofty valuations. With stocks outpacing earnings, these six market watchers detail how things could turn ugly.

  2. What part of the stock market will get the AI lift next? Nvidia, which makes AI-enabling GPU chips, was the initial benefactor of the AI boom. But Goldman Sachs sees three more broad stages of the "AI trade." That includes infrastructure players behind the tech and software and IT services with tools that will help companies utilize AI.

  3. Bitcoin's looming halving feels like a big deal. The token's fourth halving, which is expected to take place in April, is unlike others before it, crypto market experts told BI. It's unlikely to be a "sell the news" event as the excitement surrounding spot ETFs continues to build, they said.

3 things in tech

  1. All eyes are on Nvidia's Jensen Huang. The Nvidia CEO is set to host his GPU Technology Conference (GTC) this week. Nvidia employees are already referring to it as the "Woodstock of AI" and Huang is anticipated to lift the lid on B100, the next-generation version of H100 GPU — which will be a big deal if so.

  2. AI's hottest new job. Demand for prompt engineer roles has skyrocketed amid the ChatGPT hype. That's probably because you don't need a formal tech background to do the work, and companies are offering salaries that echo the buzz. But some are warning that the job is merely a fad.

  3. Advance could win big from Reddit's upcoming IPO. The Condé Nast owner's stake in Reddit will be worth $1.7 billion if the social news company's listing this week pans out the way bankers are expecting. It's a rare case of a big media company investing in a digital property and not living to regret it, BI's Peter Kafka writes.

3 things in business

  1. Quince vs. Quince. There's "Quince," the three-Michelin-starred restaurant founded in San Francisco in 2003, and then there's "Quince," the e-commerce startup known for affordable cashmere that launched in 2020. The restaurant is suing the startup, which now sells cookware, for encroaching on its territory. The startup says it's done nothing wrong. Which Quince will come out on top?

  2. The shame of LinkedIn. As much as it is a professional platform, something about posting on LinkedIn feels really personal. But that's not a dunk on the platform. It's actually pretty helpful. You just have to get over the cringe part — here's how.

  3. Some DINKs want kids — but can't afford them. In the current economic climate, more people are deciding that having children is too expensive. That's the dark side of the "Dual Income, No Kids" lifestyle, BI's Juliana Kaplan writes.

In other news

What's happening today

  • Don Lemon will release his interview with Elon Musk.

The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, deputy editor and anchor, in New York. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Jordan Parker Erb, editor, in New York. George Glover, reporter, in London. Grace Lett, associate editor, in Chicago.

Popular Right Now