The Columbia press. (Astoria, Or.) 1949-current, February 11, 2022, Page 7, Image 7

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    The Columbia Press
February 11, 2022
Senior Moments
with Emma Edwards
Financial Focus
with Adam Miller
Time to show appreciation
What should you do with a tax refund?
In case you hadn’t noticed,
Monday is Valentine’s Day.
While it’s not a national hol-
iday, my research indicates
that folks in our country and
England probably celebrate
Valentine’s Day more than
any other countries.
It seems to be a day of cel-
ebration for the candy in-
dustry, too. As much as $18
billion will be spent on choc-
olate and other candy prod-
ucts in celebration of the
Cadbury, Hershey’s, See’s,
Stover’s and many other
market their sweets for one’s
sweetheart on Valentine’s
Card makers are probably
next in line with their beauti-
ful Valentine cards, followed
by adorable stuffed animals
and children’s clothes featur-
ing red hearts and ribbons.
Valentine’s Day is a good
opportunity to let someone
know that they are appreci-
Hey, it’s a good time to use
the day to compliment loved
ones or fellow workers or
simply to let a friend or fami-
ly member know they matter
to us.
Some think of it as a day
only for “lovers.” That’s
where we “older people” re-
member how good it felt to
receive a dozen red roses on
that day. Or that traditional
box of chocolates.
And no, a box of chocolates
isn’t always necessary, but
maybe some heart-shaped
cookies would be nice.
It seems that industrializa-
tion has made it easier with
cards. Remember when we
Are you expecting a tax re-
fund this year? If so, what
will you do with it?
Of course, the answer large-
ly depends on the size of your
For the 2020 tax year, the
average refund was about
$2,800, according to the In-
ternal Revenue Service.
But whether your refund
this year will be about that
size, smaller or larger, you
can find ways to benefit from
the money.
Here are some possibilities:
• Contribute to your IRA.
You’ve got until April 18 to
fully fund your IRA for the
2021 tax year.
But if you’ve already
reached the maximum for
2021, you could use some, or
all, of your refund for your
2022 contribution.
Assuming you did get
around $2,800, you’d be al-
most halfway to the $6,000
annual contribution limit. (If
you’re 50 or older, you can
contribute up to $7,000.)
• Invest in a 529 plan. If
you have children or grand-
children, you might want to
invest your refund in a 529
education savings plan.
A 529 plan’s earnings can
grow federal income-tax free,
and withdrawals are federal
income-tax free provided the
money is used for qualified
education expenses.
If you invest in your own
state’s plan, you might get a
tax deduction or credit. A 529
plan can be used to pay for
college, vocational training
and even some K-12 expenses
in some states.
Plus, if you name one child
as a beneficiary, and that
were youngsters -- years ago
for some of us -- and we had
to make our own greeting
Shops everywhere in En-
gland and the United States
decorate their windows with
hearts and banners on this
“Day of Love.” Oh, yes, then
there is Cupid-related mer-
chandise to help us spend our
So, what’s with that Val-
entine’s Cupid? I studied up
on it a little and did not find
much, but I did learn that
Cupid could refer to several
In Latin, cupido means de-
sire. In Roman mythology,
Cupid is the son of Venus,
goddess of love. In Greek my-
thology, Cupid is Eros, god of
Cupid is supposedly a mis-
chievous young boy who goes
around wounding both gods
and humans with his bow
and arrows, causing them to
fall in love.
A word of caution for us to
remember, however, is that
mythology is interpreted as
“a legend or an allegorical
narrative.” Forgive me, but it
is fun sometimes to imagine
and dream.
So, now do we say Merry
Valentine’s Day? Or Happy
Valentine’s Day?
Well, we say “Merry Christ-
mas,” but for New Years we
don’t say “Merry New Years.”
Then how about Thanksgiv-
ing? Merry Thanksgiving?
Merry Easter?
I think I’m going to have to
study the word merry! Merry
Halloween? Or happy Hal-
How do I get myself into
these predicaments?
child’s educational journey
does not require the funds
from a 529 plan, you may
change the beneficiary to an-
other eligible family member
of the original beneficiary.
• Add to the “cash” part of
your portfolio. It’s generally
a smart move to keep at least
a portion of your overall in-
vestment portfolio in cash or
cash equivalents, because the
presence of cash can help you
in two ways.
First, since its value won’t
change, it can help cushion,
at least to a degree, the effects
of market volatility on your
And second, by having cash
available, you’ll be ready to
take advantage of attractive
when they arise.
• Boost your emergency
fund. You could use your tax
refund to start or supplement
an emergency fund.
Ideally, this fund should
contain three to six months’
worth of living expenses, with
the money kept in a liquid,
low-risk account. (If you’re
already retired, you might
need this fund to cover a full
year’s worth of expenses.)
Without such a fund, you
might be forced to dip into
long-term investments to
pay for costly housing or
auto repairs or large medical
• Reduce your debt load.
It’s not always easy to min-
imize your debt load, even
if you’re careful about your
spending habits.
But the lower your debt
payments, the more money
you’ll have available to invest
for your future.
So, you may want to con-
sider using some of your tax
refund to pay off some debts,
or at least reduce them, start-
ing with those that carry the
highest interest rates.
• Donate to charity. You
could use part of your refund
to donate to a charitable or-
ganization whose work you
And if you itemize on your
tax return, part of your gift
may be deductible.
A tax refund is always nice
to receive – and it’s even bet-
ter when you put the money
to good use.
This article was written by
Edward Jones and submit-
ted by Adam Miller, financial
adviser at the Astoria office,
632A W. Marine Drive. To
reach him, call 503-325-7991.
Special columns in The Columbia Press
Every week: Senior Moments with Emma Edwards
Week 1: Mayor’s Message by Henry Balensifer
Week 2: Financial Focus with Adam Miller
Week 3: Spotlight on the City
Week 4: Here’s to Your Health from CMH