Well, while Tax Day is behind us...the Tax Burden we as taxpayers carry is not!
While the government is failing to take real and effective measures that will fix the financial situation in our nation, and while candidates running for President are either flip-floping on their tax plans, or want to take more of our money, we can't afford to wait for the government to help us. So, we need to take measures to personally not only survive, but get ahead, no matter what happens, or who gets elected.
So much has already been written and said about how to pull us out of financial trouble, that I won't waste time recounting what's been said. But, I will say that I think the average American seems to understand the problem and solution better than those in government!
Ronald Reagan said, "The people aren't undertaxed. The government is overfed." And isn't that true! How many of us, when faced with a personal financial crisis, would handle it the way the government has handled the national crisis that we've not seen the end of?
At the risk of sounding too simplistic, would we, for instance, refinance our home in order to pay off debt and wait a year or two before using the money to do so? That's what the administration has done., not to mention 'cook the books' by printing more and more money. It's clear that we can't wait for the government to fix things. We've got to take action to protect our personal financial sitution now and for the future.
In addition to managing our investments, two practical things that all of us can do right now is to evaluate our actual expenditures, and our real needs, and then apply what I'll call the '25% rule' that author Cynthia Yates talks about in her books on money management.
Yates suggests that cutting spending by 25% is not only possible, but with a little discipline, doable.
1) Simply Skip - ie instead of having that latte every morning on the way to work; skip it 1-2 times a week.
2) Mandate a Moratorium on Spending - in other words, buy only what you NEED.
3) Say No to Impulse - 50% of spending for the average person is based on impulse. Wait to purchase something, unless you really need it. Play a new game with your kids rather than buy them a new toy. (You'll be modeling for them not to live by impulse spending).
4) Use Things Up - be creative with the food you already have in your cabinet and freezer; don't give in to the ease of take out pizza, etc; hold off on buying new clothes, wear what you have.
5) Don't Waste - ie gasoline by driving to the store for groceries once a week instead of every day. Eat/freeze leftovers; consciously think of items you throw away in terms of cost vs. just a spoiled head of broccoli or container of sour cream.
Taking 10-15 minutes to figure out your actual needed expenditures can help you gauge your spending and help you save.
You can do this. We need to take charge of our money now, before the government takes any more of it.
Margaret Thatcher said, "The problem with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." And if some of the candidates running for president actually get elected...they'll take more, for sure.
*We have outlined the candidates' tax plans in recent shows, (which you can listen to online in our archives), and will update on the two General election candidates this month.
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