By Casey Musarra
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a second post-race drug test and likely will be disqualified. Either way, there won’t be a Triple Crown winner at this year’s Belmont Stakes, as Rombauer, who didn’t run in the Derby, won the Preakness Stakes—the second leg of horse racing’s big three—and Medina Spirit finished third.
I can’t in good conscience Justify telling you to gamble your hard-earned money by playing the ponies. I’m not going to tell you not to either. But besides hitting a nice trifecta, here are some money moves you can make to come out a winner on Belmont Stakes Day.
Pay down your debt
Instead of taking a leap of faith on a dark horse, why not go for a guaranteed winner? Paying down your debt will almost always put you in a better financial position than you were before. Those are the kinds of odds we can get behind. You can make use of a debt payoff calculator to see how extra payments could help you pay off your debt more quickly and save money on interest.
Start by coming up with a debt repayment plan that works for you—whether that’s the debt snowball, debt avalanche, or a hybrid approach. If you thrive on small victories, the debt snowball method, which prioritizes your smallest debt balance and works toward your largest, could be a good fit. The debt avalanche is a wise choice if you’re all about saving money in the long-term, as it prioritizes paying down your highest-interest balance first and working toward the lowest-interest balance.
Make use of your FSA
We’re midway through the year, and if you have an employer-provided flexible spending account (FSA), now’s the time to make use of it. These accounts allow you to set aside money tax-free for medical or childcare expenses. The downside with an FSA, though, is that contributions don’t roll over from one year to the next, so you’ll likely need to spend what’s in your account by Dec. 31 to avoid losing dough.
Got a weird thing you’ve been meaning to get checked out? Haven’t had a physical since you went away to college? Nothing says summer like making sure you’re a beacon of health and taking care of that inevitable vitamin D deficiency without developing skin cancer.
Review and adjust your retirement savings
Like the finest thoroughbred, you’re not going to be able to run forever. (Though, your shelf life in the office or out in the field is probably a bit longer than the two-ish years of most racehorses.)
Whether you’re a colt/filly or a stud, it’s never too early to start planning for retirement. If you have an employer-sponsored 401(k) or 403(b), make sure you’re taking advantage of a company match if it’s offered. You may want to consider increasing and/or diversifying your contributions to put you in a better position for retirement. You don’t want to end up tacking on additional years to your working life because you didn’t put enough away to ride off into the sunset.
About the Author
Casey Musarra is a personal finance writer with over a decade of writing experience and a credit score hovering near 800. She has written several hundred articles on topics ranging from taxes to debt-free living. Previous bylines include newsday.com and philly.com.
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