April 22, 2013

5 Smart Things To Do With Your Tax Refund

What is a tax refund? I know it may sound silly, but I really want you to think about it. What is it? A tax refund is just that – […]

What is a tax refund? I know it may sound silly, but I really want you to think about it. What is it?

A tax refund is just that – a refund of your own hard-earned money. It is not a random gift or a stroke of good luck. It didn’t just come out of nowhere, and it’s not extra money. It’s money that you worked hard to earn.

According to Time Magazine, 3 out of 4 Americans receive refunds after filing their taxes, averaging around $3,000 each. And while that may seem like a huge relief to some people, it may look like a free shopping spree to others. But today I want us to look at what it really is.

See, we (and I’m not just talking about Americans here…) live in a total ‘microwave’ society today, where we do what we want, when we want, just because we can, without giving any thought to our financial future. And where has that gotten us? We have traded our financial freedom for more stuff, more debt, and more bondage.

We fall into the trap of "more more more," until we find ourselves buried alive in debt. So many people are in constant financial strain, and yet we are more concerned about our stuff than we are about our long-term financial future!

But here’s what I know about you. You are not called to be one of those people. You were designed for wealth and freedom. How do I know that? Because you are here right now, reading this. Because you have a desire to succeed financially. You have a desire to see your children, your friends, and your community live debt-free, totally financially independent lives.

I know right now you’re saying, "Okay Dani, so what does this have to do with my tax refund?"

There’s one rule that has proved to be true over and over again, and it is true here. Find out what everyone else is doing and do the exact opposite. You may have heard me say this before: 98% of the population will end up dead or dead broke by the age of 65, dependent on their friends, family, or the federal government as their main source of income. 2%, on the other hand, is doing well financially.

Nothing can replace the feeling of financial freedom, but sadly, 98% of the population will never know that feeling. The majority of people are waiting to win the lottery or to get their tax refund check, but the moment they have it, it’s gone!

So what can you do to cross over from the 98% to the 2% this tax season? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Keep your goals in mind. When you get a large unexpected (or expected) chunk of change in your hand, it can be easy to lose sight of the financial goals you have set for yourself. Whether you have a goal to pay off $10,000 of debt, give $10,000 away to orphans, or invest $10,000 this year, do not lose sight of that goal!
  2. Resist temptation. There are all kinds of sales and advertisements, and even articles from so-called ‘financial experts’ giving tons of ideas of how to spend your tax refund this year. They are trying to sell you everything from new clothes to a new grill, video games, or even a down payment on a new car. I’m telling you, don’t go there!
  3. Pay off debt. Use that hard-earned tax refund to pay off your debt. Instead of continuing to pay interest on something you bought 6 months or even years ago, use your tax refund towards your debt.
  4. Invest. There is one investment where you can get a 100% return on your money. In fact, this particular investment will pay you forever. That is an investment in yourself, your education, and your skill set. This is the best investment you can make, because nobody can take away your skills. You have complete control over the return you get from it, because you decide what you will do with those skills. So instead of spending your tax refund foolishly, choose to make a wise investment into yourself.
  5. Give. There’s a principle that has been around since the beginning of time, and it says that if you give, you receive. You reap what you sow. A stingy man will be impoverished, but a generous giver will always have his needs met. I strongly recommend giving at least one dollar out of every ten you make. Since my husband and I began consistent monthly giving, our needs have always been met. In fact, we have found that even more comes back to us.

It seems like "if it feels good, do it" has become the standard of what is appropriate today. But it’s time that we move beyond that. It’s time to raise the standards if we want to become part of that remnant of people who will succeed financially in today’s world.

So you have a choice to make today. Which side of this story will you be on? Will you be one of the "98%ers" who will never know the feeling of financial independence? Or will you step up and make wise decisions that will set you up for long-term financial success? It’s up to you.

Listen, you and I both know our world is hurting today. There are millions of people who are struggling financially, and a lot of them are putting their hope in their tax refund check. But I believe the letter you’re reading right now has the potential to help them to think bigger than that single check. I believe this can help them to cross over into that remnant of people who are living in financial freedom. So let’s pass this around to as many people as we can. Email this to them, post this link on Facebook and Twitter, and even print it out and pass it along to your friends, family, co-workers, and clients. Together, we can help people come out of financial struggle and into total financial independence.

I would love to know what you think about today’s Daily Fix. Are you getting (or have you gotten) a tax refund this year? What do you plan to do with it? I can’t wait to read your comments. You can leave them below!

 

In great faith,

 

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