Stimulus checks began going out on March 17th as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Here is a summary of what you might expect to receive:
- $1,400 per individual.
- $1,400 stimulus payment for Joint filers with AGI under $150,000; single filers under $75,000. Joint-filer phaseout = $160,000; single-filer phaseout = $80,000.
- $1,400 for qualifying dependents.
- A family of four could receive $5,600 assuming income qualifying status.
So, what should I do with my stimulus check? Answer these three questions.
Do I have outstanding unpaid bills? …such as credit card statements that you are unable to pay in full each month. If your answer is yes, this should be your first priority.
Do I have adequate emergency reserves? Minimum of 3 months of household bills recommended. Unexpected stuff happens, and your best defense is adequate cash reserves. Keep this money in a (relatively) high-paying savings or money market account. Bankrate.com offers a great review for a competitive comparison.
Am I optimistic about stocks for 2021? If you have questions #1 and #2 above handled, consider investing in the stock market. Obviously, in the short term, the stock market can go up or down, but my outlook for 2021 and 2022 is very optimistic because of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package discussed here and the trillion-dollar infrastructure package that is sure to follow.
Let’s have some fun. If you invested your family-of-four $5,600 stimulus check in a Roth IRA using an all-stock portfolio and earned an annual return of 10% in twenty years, you would have more than $35,000. In forty years, you would have more than $250,000. In sixty years, your account would be worth more than $1,500,000! Eventual withdrawals by you or heirs would be income tax-free.
There are several other payment and relief programs that might benefit you under this act, including expanded child tax credits of $3,600 for children under age six; $3,000 for other qualifying children; premium assistance for health insurance coverage; additional funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance; emergency rental and homeowners assistance. For more information on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, check the link here for a more detailed review.
If you are wondering where your stimulus check is, visit the IRS government website, Get My Payment.
For weekly insights, follow The Welch Group every Tuesday morning on WBRC Fox 6 for the money Tuesday segment.
FOX 6 TALKING POINTS
My Stimulus Check…Three Questions
- Do I have unpaid bills?
- Do I have adequate emergency reserves?
- Am I optimistic about the stock market?
Stewart H. Welch, III, CFP®, AEP, is the founder of THE WELCH GROUP, LLC, which specializes in providing fee-only investment management and financial advice to families throughout the United States. He is the author or co-author of six books, including 50 Rules of Success; J.K. Lasser’s New Rules for Estate, Retirement and Tax Planning- 6th Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.); THINK Like a Self-Made Millionaire; and 100 Tips for Creating a Champagne Retirement on a Shoestring Budget. For more information, visit The Welch Group. Consult your financial advisor before acting on comments in this article.
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