Charles Schwab is encouraging people receiving tax refunds to resist the temptation to use the money for impulse purchases, but, rather, to use the money for long-term financial goals, especially retirement, and paying down high-interest debt.

Even though the economy appears to be out of the woods, Schwab reminds people to stick to realistic budgets and sock away an emergency fund to cover three to six months of living expenses. For those 50 or over, Schwab reminds them that they can contribute an additional $1,000 to an IRA. Parents, as well, would do well to take advantage of a 529 college savings plan, Schwab says.

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