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Don't Let Your Tax Rebate go to Waste; American Express Offers Financial Solutions.

MINNEAPOLIS, July 10 /PRNewswire/ --

The check is in the mail. Or, at least it will be soon, if you're one of the millions of Americans who will be receiving your federal tax rebate check early, thanks to the last two digits of your social security number. What will you do with this windfall?

If you are like most Americans, the entire amount will be spent quickly on necessities or small luxuries and in a month you won't be able to remember where the money went. But, with careful planning this "gift" from the government can actually go to work for you -- by putting more money in your pocket or protecting you in the future.

American Express Financial Advisors offers these tips to make the most of your rebate:

-- Invest. The average single person of moderate income could receive

approximately $300. If this money is invested today earning eight

percent interest annually it may be worth approximately $648 in

10 years.(1)

-- Pay off debt. The interest paid on debt is money out of your pocket.

Putting money toward reducing credit card balances, mortgages and car

loans can lower the amount of interest you will have to pay over time.

And, if you pay off the debt, that's one less bill to worry about every

month.

-- Save toward retirement. Take advantage of the new tax legislation by

investing the money in an IRA. Any earnings can grow tax-deferred(2)

to provide some extra income during your golden years.

-- Invest in education. The new tax legislation has also increased limits

on Education IRAs and 529 plans. Investing the tax rebate in your

child's education helps ensure that the benefit will last a lifetime.

-- Start an emergency fund. You may not want to think about it but

reports of widespread layoffs, natural disasters and major accidents

are constant reminders that your life could change in an instant.

Don't be caught without a nest egg if this happens to you. The amount

needed varies for everyone, but the rule of thumb is to have three

months of salary in an accessible account should the worst happen.

-- Pay next year's taxes. If you owed money to the government last year

you may want to put the rebate money away in a savings account or

short-term investment toward your 2001 taxes. You may not spend so

many sleepless nights next April knowing this money is available.

-- Support a charitable institution. Putting the money toward a nonprofit

you believe in will benefit a worthy cause, make you feel good and can

be deducted from your taxes.

-- Purchase a financial plan. Getting your financial life in order is a

first step to achieving your financial goals.

Tax rebates don't happen every year. Make today's rebate work for you tomorrow through careful planning.

American Express Financial Advisors is one of the nation's leading financial planning companies. It is part of the American Express Financial Corporation, which currently owns or manages more than $253 billion in assets. Through a network of more than 12,000 financial advisors and its online brokerage, the company provides comprehensive, long-term financial planning and high quality financial products to more than 2.3 million clients throughout the United States.

For more information, visit the company's Web site http://americanexpress.com or call 800-GET-ADVICE.

American Express Financial Advisors Inc. Member NASD. American Express Company is separate from American Express Financial Advisors Inc. and is not a broker-dealer.

(1) The hypothetical rate of return is for illustrative purposes only and

is not meant to represent the past or future returns of any specific

investment or investment strategy, or to imply guaranteed earnings.

(2) Tax-deferred earnings and contributions aren't taxed until withdrawn.

Amounts withdrawn prior to age 59 1/2 may also be subject to a

10 percent early withdrawal penalty.

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