Tax Refunds: Being Impatient Can Cost You

Everyone wants a refund fast, but you don't have to pay through the nose to get it.

Apr 12, 2014 at 5:50PM

It's hard to wait for your tax refund to come from the IRS. Tax preparers know that, and they have plenty of programs that can give you your tax refund even faster. But in many cases, the cost you pay is far greater than it's worth.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at the various ways you can get your refund. Dan notes that the best way is to file your return electronically and arrange for direct deposit of your refund to your bank account, which the IRS says can take as little as 10 days. By contrast, many tax preparers offer immediate tax refunds through a variety of financial products. But what many people don't realize is that the fees and charges on you'll pay to get your refund just a week or two earlier can be huge, making even payday loans look benign by comparison. Dan concludes that the better choice whenever possible is to be patient and refuse to allow preparers to take a big piece of your tax refund for themselves.

Take advantage of this little-known tax "loophole"
Want a bigger tax refund? Recent tax increases have affected nearly every American taxpayer. But with the right planning, you can take steps to take control of your taxes and potentially even lower your tax bill. In our brand-new special report "The IRS Is Daring You to Make This Investment Now!," you'll learn about the simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule. Don't miss out on advice that could help you cut taxes for decades to come. Click here to learn more.

Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

Something big just happened

I don't know about you, but I always pay attention when one of the best growth investors in the world gives me a stock tip. Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner (whose growth-stock newsletter was rated #1 in the world by The Wall Street Journal)* and his brother, Motley Fool CEO Tom Gardner, just revealed two brand new stock recommendations moments ago. Together, they've tripled the stock market's return over 12+ years. And while timing isn't everything, the history of Tom and David's stock picks shows that it pays to get in early on their ideas.

Click here to be among the first people to hear about David and Tom's newest stock recommendations.

*"Look Who's on Top Now" appeared in The Wall Street Journal which references Hulbert's rankings of the best performing stock picking newsletters over a 5-year period from 2008-2013.

Compare Brokers