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South Florida financial expert offers advice on using stimulus money

'Make a list of what's most important for you to keep your life going,' Christina Worley says
Posted at 3:12 PM, Dec 30, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — In a matter of days, many Americans will receive hundreds of dollars in stimulus money from the federal government.

But what should you use the money for?

Under a plan approved by Congress and President Donald Trump, individuals who made $75,000 or less in 2019 will get $600, and couples who made $150,000 or less will get $1,200. You'll also get $600 for each dependent child you have.

WPTV Investigative Reporter Dave Bohman hosted a Facebook Live question and answer session on Wednesday with Christina Worley, the founder and managing member of Castle Wealth Management in West Palm Beach.

Worley said whether you're receiving an actual check or direct deposit, have a strategy for what you want to do with the money.

"Failure to plan is planning to fail, and you will find that the money just evaporates and you don't get your main aims accomplished," Worley said.


West Palm Beach financial expert talks stimulus money

Based on your circumstances, Worley said to use the money to save yourself from "financial ruin" and put it toward what will benefit your family the most: next month's rent, utilities so they don't get shut off, child care, or paying off credit card balances with the highest interest.

"You kind of need to make a list of what's most important for you to keep your life going the next month or two, and then put the money into those pots that are going to do that," Worley said.

Worley said if you're able to spend a little extra from your stimulus money, pay it forward in the community and dine out at your favorite neighborhood restaurant to keep the local economy going.

"Spend a little bit at a restaurant," Worley said. "We've had a number of restaurants close in the area, and a number of them are coming back. We need to keep the ones that we have sustainable."

Worley also suggested investing the money, if you're able to, into a Roth IRA, short-term bond fund, or market index fund.

"Leave it be, five, 10, 15 years toward retirement. It will compound and grow amazingly well for you. Don't try to day trade it," Worley said. "Set it and forget it, and hopefully it'll grow for you by the time you need it."

To check the status of your stimulus payment, click here.