Liz Weston: The checks that could change your financial life

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Beginning this summer, most parents of minor children will start receiving monthly payments of up to $300 per child. That’s thanks to the American Rescue Plan, which temporarily increases the child tax credit. Half will be paid in installments, July through December, and the rest can be claimed on taxes next year. The money could shore up a family’s finances by providing emergency savings, reducing high-cost debt or going toward important future goals like retirement, college or a home down payment. Here’s how to estimate how much your family is likely to receive and some suggestions for how to put it to work to improve your financial stability.

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