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Americans to use tax refunds on personal spending, investments or debt payments

Mar 27, 2012 Mike Garretson

As the U.S. government begins to send out tax refunds in coming months it's expected to drive a brief uptick in consumer spending. Analysts also expect many Americans to use the funds to pay down debt on credit cards, mortgages and student loans. For the second year in a row, Capital One's Taxes and Savings Survey found one-third of taxpaying Americans - 33 percent - plan to spend all or part of their refund. More than one-quarter - 27 percent - plan to save at least part of the money they get back, 17 percent intend to pay down debt, and 5 percent aim to invest their refunds. The desire to spend refunds on fiscally sounds goals such as debt repayments and even investments may be an indicator of Americans' enhanced frugality in the post-recession economy. "A tax refund is often seen as free money, which makes it very tempting to spend it right away, but it's important to remember that the refund you're getting back is your own money," said Mickey Konson, managing vice president of retail banking at Capital One. "Tax season is a good opportunity for people to plan ahead, with an eye toward their future goals and financial health."