My rich uncle wants to give me a flat-panel, high-definition, cover-the-entire-wall-of-my-basement television.
At least, that's how I see it.
My wife thinks he wants to pay for new countertops in our kitchen.
My children, meanwhile, think he wants to provide everything from a few games of bowling to a college fund to an iPod.
That's right. We in the Kratz family have been involved for the last few weeks in the latest craze to sweep the nation: fantasizing about what to do with the tax rebate Uncle Sam may send our way.
Depending on how the politicians decide to dole out the bucks, our family of two adults and four children could get more than $2,000.
When the rebate was first proposed, I immediately recognized that amount as approximately equivalent to the price of the big-screen TV that I so desire. I even started referring to the rebate in conversations with my wife as our "big-screen TV fund."
She, however, has other ideas. She told me the other day that she was perusing an ad for kitchen remodeling and noticed that we could get new countertops for approximately the same amount we might get in our rebate.
When I asked my children what they thought we should do with the money, I received even more varied responses.
My 10-year-old daughter said, "I think we should use some for charity, some for our needs and some for fun together as a family."
When I asked her to elaborate, she added, "I want to have a nice house ... and be able to live comfortably. ... We should put some in a college fund for sure."
(I'm not making this up. She really talks like that. Clearly, she gets her intelligence from her mother.)
If we were to use the money just for fun things, she said, it would be best put toward bowling or going to movies, or maybe a trip "on an airplane for once, maybe to Hawaii."
My 7-year-old daughter took a few moments to ponder the question. Then her tenderhearted nature led her to answer that we should first give some money to poor people "so they could have a nice house like ours. And we should use some of that money to help them be fed so they won't be starving."
If we used it for something fun, she said, we should buy games we could play together as a family, and later added, "and I would like an iPod. Yay!"
When I asked my 5-year-old daughter, her answers made me think she has been reading this column.
"We should give some to the poor people," she said. "We should also give some to the bank."
Her "fun" expenditure would be "a bouncy ball."
I didn't ask my 2-year-old son what he thought we should do with the money, but I'm guessing the ball idea would be fine with him.
So, what will we do?
Well, I may dream of buying a big TV, but I know that we should use the rebate to pay off some debt. Or perhaps we should save it to help fund a vacation this summer, when gas prices are likely to top $3.50 per gallon. We also should start those 529 college savings plans I have mentioned in previous columns.
In the end, we'll probably do a mix of those things, maybe keeping $100 or $200 out for "mad money." Hey, we've got to do our part to stimulate the economy.
I'm sure many of you have gone through the same calculations and imaginations during the last few weeks. Assuming that is the case, I'd like to hear from you. What would you really like to do with the rebate check that may be coming your way? And what will you actually do with it at the end of the day?
Drop me a line to let me know, and I'll share some of your responses in this column. I'll also talk to some of the financial advisers I routinely interview to see what they think people should do with their rebates.
I'm guessing their answers won't necessarily match yours and mine, but we'll see.
Send your thoughts, or your financial questions, to [email protected].com, or to the Deseret Morning News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, UT 84110.
E-mail: [email protected]