As a certain series of advertisements (that will mercifully be disappearing soon) like to pronounce, for many tax payers this is “refund season” – the time of year when the government helpfully returns the money you were overtaxed throughout the previous year.
Leaving aside the question of whether or not allowing your paycheck to be intentionally overtaxed is a good idea (it isn’t), nearly 80 percent of taxpayers receive a refund every year. According to the IRS, the average refund payout is about $2,800.
So what should you do with that money? Pay down debt? Put it in savings? If you’re unsure what to do, your best bet is probably to consult with a financial planner or a budget counselor.
If you’re feeling a bit more astrological, however, you could always consult with the stars. What does your horoscope say you should do with your refund? (The following is not intended as investment advice - and really, you probably shouldn't ever rely too heavily on star formations to help you make important financial decisions.)
Aries (March 21-April 1)
“They're eager, dynamic, quick, and competitive. Not much holds this sign back. When it comes to getting the ball rolling, an Aries is the best.”
By all accounts, Aries seems to be a self-starter who isn’t easily satisfied. That sounds like the characteristics of a successful small business owner to me. As an Aries, you should set your refund to work and invest in yourself. If the thought of starting a new business seems daunting, consider investing in a profitable hobby. Use your refund to help secure a new source of sustainable income for you and your family.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
“Strong, dependable Taurus leads the way when it comes to reaping the rewards of hard work. Lovers of everything that is fine and beautiful, Taureans surround themselves with material gains.”
Those born under the sign of the Bull sure do love their stuff. But there’s nothing wrong with taking pleasure in material possessions, especially if you shop smart and live within your budget. You work hard. If it’s time for a new couch or a new car, go for it. Just make sure you understand your limits and aim for quality over quantity. If you’re going to splurge, splurge wisely.
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
“On one hand, the Gemini can be outgoing, flirtatious, communicative, and ready for fun, fun, fun. Yet when the other twin is present, you can find this air sign contemplative, serious, restless, and even indecisive.”
Gemini is a bit all over the place. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with having dueling personalities, but if you’re feeling restless and indecisive, throw your refund immediately into savings and forget about it. The last thing you want to do is spend your refund in a manner you’re soon to regret. Let your money sit in a savings account until the perfect opportunity presents itself.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
“Emotion runs strong for this sign, and when it comes to family and home, nothing is more important. Sympathetic and empathetic, Cancerians are greatly attuned to those around them.”
There’s nothing quite like spending time with family (for better or for worse). If your sign is Cancer, you can rarely go wrong investing in family experiences. Whether that means a family vacation or planning a big holiday gathering, considering using all or some of your tax refund on creating new memories with the people you hold most dear.
Leo (July 23-August 22)
“This dramatic, creative, and outgoing sign has the keyword magnetism for good reason. Fiery and self-assured, a Leo's charm can be almost impossible to resist.”
Bold Leo is a risk-taker, which is a laudable quality. But big risks often come with an equal chance of big reward or big disaster. Don’t be afraid to take chances! That said, maybe it’s a good idea to store that refund into a new emergency savings account, just in case some of those chances don’t quite pan out.
Virgo (August 23-September 22)
“The Virgo is the sign in the zodiac most dedicated to serving. Their deep sense of the humane leads them to caregiving like no other.”
Money is just a tool. We use it to serve our needs, our wants, and our values. For a Virgo, the best way to use their tax refund might be by serving the underserved. A donation to the right charity could potentially maximize the impact of your tax return in ways you’d never imagine. If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you can use the money to fund a charitable experience, taking your skills and hard work where they’re needed.
Libra (September 23-October 22)
“Peace loving and judicial, this sign abhors being alone. Partnerships are very important for the Libran, especially those on a personal level.”
The Libran is family-oriented, and should spend their refund accordingly, based on shared goals. Money could be directed towards a new house, college savings, a family vacation, or whatever goal fits your family. If you don’t have a family of your own just yet, spend the refund on a shared experience with friends or family. Or you can always use the money to pay off debt, because having a family isn’t cheap.
Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
“Beneath a controlled, cool exterior beats the heart of the deeply intense Scorpio. Excellent leaders, Scorpions are always aware. When it comes to resourcefulness, this sign comes out ahead.”
Scopio is nothing if not calculating. That means maximizing return, while minimizing risk. If you’re dealing with debt, put your refund against the balance with the highest interest rate in order to save money on future interest charges. If you’re debt-free, speak with a financial advisor about potential low risk investments, like a money market fund or Treasury notes.
Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
“Extroverted, optimistic, and enthusiastic, it can be almost impossible to keep the Sagittarius down. They love change. In fact, change is essential for this sign to feel their best.”
Sure, a Sagittarius could spend their refund money on a big trip, filled with exciting new experiences, but the kind of change Sagittarius really craves is a deeper sort of change. It’s the kind of change you get from learning new skills and taking your life and career in unexpected new directions. So put that refund towards education! Take a class. Learn a new skill. Give yourself the tools necessary to create a real, lasting change in your life.
Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
“This practical sign loves to tackle life in the most conventional of ways, leaving no stone unturned.”
Horoscopes writers have struggled for centuries trying to find polite new ways to call Capricorns boring. As a Capricorn myself, I would be offended by this if it wasn’t largely true. But there’s nothing wrong with being thorough and predictable! And careful Capricorn is best served by investing his refund money in a long-term savings account or bond. If you don’t absolutely need that money right now, let it go earn Future You a little extra cash.
Aquarius (January 20-February 18)
The Water Bearer
“While very much attuned to the energies around them, Aquarians have a deep need to take time out alone and away to rejuvenate themselves.”
Researchers have long claimed that experiences are some of the best investments we can make, especially when it comes to personal happiness. If you need time alone to feel your best, as Aquarians often do, consider investing your refund into a trip or excursion. Money should always serve you and your needs, not the other way around. If you’re budgeting wisely and meeting your financial obligations, it’s important to do the things you need to do to stay mentally fresh and happy.
Pisces (February 19-March 20)
“Easygoing and generally accepting of others around them, Pisceans are often found in the company of a variety of different personalities. Their willingness to give of themselves emotionally lends to an aura of quiet empathy.”
Pisces is kind and empathetic, but can be generous to a fault. Don’t let your generosity get the best of you. Resist the impulse to give away your refund to whoever asks the loudest. Consider your needs and goals before acting. Giving of yourself emotionally is grand. Giving of yourself financially only makes sense if you’re in the right position to do so.