Financial planner gives advice on how to get the best use out of second stimulus package

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The second round of stimulus checks is already hitting bank accounts and as the money drops, financial advisors are giving advice on how to get the best use out of the payments.

One of the biggest critiques of the new stimulus checks is that it’s considerably less money than the first round of payments. Eligible individuals are expected to get $600, married couples are expected to get $1200, and up to $600 for each qualifying child.

Financial planners said the new package should still be treated as a lifeline rather than a lottery.

Some Peoria residents gave an insight on how they would spend their checks Thursday evening.

“I want to put most of mine in my Roth IRA,” Michael King said. “After that, I would buy things for my nieces and nephews.”

“[Thinking about] just spending it on household average everyday bills,” Krisana Dixon said.

“[I would] get caught up on bills,” Tiffany Lockwood said. “

These are all ideas that Rockie Zeigler, a financial planner with RP Zeigler Investment Services, would agree with. He said the main things you’d want to prioritize are those critical payments and keeping a roof over your head.

“If you’re in a situation where you’re behind on your mortgage or behind on your rent, you have a utility bill that you’re behind on absolutely use it for that kind of stuff first,” Zeigler said. “That’s really what I feel like these stimulus checks were created for, was to help those who were in the most unfortunate situations right now.”

Zeigler said if rent is not a pressing issue, Carl Courtney’s, another Peoria resident, plan for his stimulus check would be his second choice.

“[I’d] pay off some credit cards,” Courtney said. “I just kind of want to be debt-free this year.”

“If you don’t have a situation where you have to use this money to avoid an eviction or a foreclosure or something like that, using it to pay off high-interest credit cards, high-interest debt, car loans things of that nature,” Zeigler said.

He said these actions will help bring you into the new year closer to a clean slate. Zeigler also said if you truly don’t need the money, instead of squandering it, it can be used to help out those who do need it.

“You can use it to support some local businesses around here as well,” Zeigler said.

He said anything left over is smart to stash away for a safety net and save it.

“I plan on saving a little bit,” Dixon said.

“Of course [I want to] pull up my savings again,” Courtney said.

Zeigler said financially security is the goal.

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