(BLOG POST) - Tax season is definitely already here. All across the country, there are thousands of companies gearing up to market their services to consumers who will have extra dollars in their pockets due to tax refunds given back from the government. Unfortunately there are many people who spend that tax refund money just as quickly as it arrives. Quite a few Americans, especially Black Americans, fall victim to consumerism and spend their precious tax refund dollars on shiny, new things and gadgets that most often won't have a long term effect on their financial health and stability. Black America's spending power is said to be over one Trillion dollars in 2015. How much of that do we use to build strong businesses in our own community?
WHAT YOU "COULD" DO WITH THAT CASH
Most Americans carry expensive debt. Paying off your smaller loans in order of how expensive they are to you is very important. Get it done. Period. Next, we will talk about how difficult Black people often find it to try to get start up funds for business ventures.
Getting a sizable refund means that you could invest in your own business. Or maybe you could invest in a business that one of your friends or family is trying to get going. The fact is, that many African Americans do not qualify for loans that are being offered to the majority community. Statistically, we simply don't have the assets or collateral to get substantial loans that can be used to finance a new business venture. Most often, we find Black business owners trying to "bootstrap" their businesses. That means that they are trying to live and survive off of the sales they make and not from loans or investors.
The fastest growing demographic for starting businesses is Black women. The majority of Black women are trying to raise families alone without a spouse and it's essential that we increase the number of successful business owners in our community.
Of course giving to charity is also a very good thing to do. But, we must remember to give only a "portion" of our earnings to worthy causes. You have to take care of home first, then others right?
BE A "SHARK" FOR YOURSELF OR YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS
Very few of us will make it to the hit TV show, The Shark Tank. We won't have an angel investor waiting to hear our business pitch then offer us millions of dollars to grow. It's a very tough road when you're trying to start and grow a businesses without financial backing. Finding a certified financial adviser or consulting with a financially successful family member is probably going to be your best bet. Think twice before going on that dream vacation or buying that new luxury item. You would be better served finding an investment or paying down expensive loans before spending your money on something frivolous. There are many things that you can do with your tax refund that can have a long term positive effect on your family's financial future.
We have entrepreneurs who have started businesses but need help to keep them going. Make sure you offer help and assistance to those family members who may need it.
THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU JUST GIVE YOUR MONEY AWAY TO A "PIPE DREAM"
Of course, everyone feels as though their business will become the next FaceBook, Google or Macy's. Maybe it will, but chances are it won't. So don't take a chance on businesses that you aren't familiar with. The saying goes, "a fool and his money will surely part." If you have a family member who is asking for your financial support, you have to make an educated decision on how you can assist them. Again, get some direction from a person that is already successful in business that you trust.
If your family member really needs help, maybe you could pay for them to get some business consulting from a business expert so that the consultant can help them solve the issues in their business that may be holding them back.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS, YOU HAVE MORE OPTIONS THAN SIMPLY SPENDING YOUR MONEY ON "THINGS"
The ways that you can either start your own business, invest, or help existing Black business owners are numerous. All of them sound better to me than buying the next gadget that you probably don't really need or splurging on an expensive trip. Do your research and you may find that that wad of tax refund cash is something that can help your family get to the next level.
I'm not a financial adviser. These are just my ideas regarding this topic. Do you have any ideas or thoughts regarding this issue? Let me know in the comments below.
Make money, not excuses...
Stephen Wicks, Founder
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