Parenting Connection: How to maximize child tax credits

Parenting Connection

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: How to maximize your upcoming child tax credit payments

Starting later this week, an estimated 39 million U.S. households will begin receiving advance payments of the 2021 child tax credit. These payments, which were set up and expanded under the American Rescue Plan, will mean families will get $3,000 per child aged 6 to 17 and $3,600 annually for children 5 and under — with those monthly payments of up to $300 per child being placed in your bank account starting in a few days and going through December.

Financial experts say, if you’re currently behind on your bills or struggling to put food on the table, then these payments should go toward supporting your family’s immediate needs first. If you are not in a financial predicament, money experts say this money could then be used in ways that can improve your financial future — and here they are:

*Fund or start an emergency savings account. Experts recommend you put away three to six months’ worth of living expenses.

*Pay down high-interest debt. This not only can improve your credit score but reduces future costly interest payments.

*Invest in your children’s education. The child tax payments can be used to start a 529 college savings plan or something similar to give them a head start.

*Put some away for future medical expenses — for those unexpected trips to the doctor’s office.

These monthly payments begin Thursday, July 15, and should arrive the same way as your stimulus payments did…. so be on the lookout.

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