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Tax day: invest in yourself

It's tax day, April 18th. What should you do with the money if you get a refund? (Approximately three-quarters of all taxpayers get money back from Uncle Sam.)

I've come across a number of articles like this one that call for spending the refund rather than saving it. The reasoning is clever, but it leaves me cold. My top two choices remain stashing it into savings or paying down your consumer debt, such as credit cards and auto loans.

Far too many people are still living financially fragile lives.

The Generation X Finance blog is also big on savings. It knocks a number of popular spending suggestions, too. It's all sound advice. My favorite suggestion, however, is an important twist on investing in the future:

Finally, investing a little in yourself can provide the greatest return of all. If you feel as if you've been stuck in a rut or your career is sucking the life out of you, spend some time and money to see how you can improve your quality of life. Find a way to strike a better work-life balance, take a few days off to get something done you've been meaning to do for ages, or maybe even attend some continuing education or enrichment classes. For example, if you've always wanted to take up photography as a hobby but never knew where to start check your local community college. Most offer night classes for subjects like that for little more than a few hundred dollars and it will get you out of the house and experiencing something new.

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

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