Let me first preface this post saying that this is NOT political. I don't care what your political affiliation is. I care about what your financial outlook is. The government is not going to offer citizens a bailout on taxes anytime soon.
This post was prompted after meeting with our accountant to finalize our taxes. We have to pay. While I am grateful for earning an income to support our family, it's also quite frustrating at times. I consider us middle class earnings. We don't live an extravagant life. My motto has always been to “save on what you need so you can spend (or save) on what you want.” The majority of our purchases involve actual necessities that are truly nothing fun (well, unless you consider a half side of beef “fun”).
After our meeting, I decided to do a search to see *what* the government's advice is to pay your taxes if you are strapped. Luckily we had our savings ready in anticipation for the amount we are paying. That is probably not realistic for many families though given the economy.
After my search, I came upon a page on the IRS site which shared a few tips to help you pay. I am disgusted to see what our government suggests (see image below that I also shared on my Instagram page).
What is wrong with this advice? Our government suggests you take a cash advance on your credit card or liquidate your savings. Yet, our government cannot create a balanced budget (I won't go there). This nation is in a world of hurt because we have fiscally irresponsible people advising us how we should pay our bills. I seriously wish they would let me teach savings classes across the U.S. and help people with their spending choices!
I'm not saying you should skip on paying your taxes at all. Please don't read into that! I'm saying that our government will never offer a citizen bailout to anyone when it comes to paying them. They advise that you to go deeper into debt to pay them. That's how much they care about your financial well being.
My point in this post is this: do NOT rely on anyone to take care of your family. Create a financial plan so you can take care of yourself. How can you start? Here's a few things that our family does:
Live below your means. We don't drive fancy cars or live in an extraodinary home. We don't need that. The most extravagant thing we paid for recently (outside of our van) is probably the extra-curricular activities for our boys.
Pay cash for major purchases. While I don't use cash to pay for our gas or food (we use a debit card, same thing to me), we try to save cash to pay for major purchases including our recent van purchase (given that ours was totaled in January).
Save a portion of your income. Whether you do this with each pay period or in one lump sum a quarter. Have money in your savings to ensure you are prepared for unexpected occurrences.
Invest. This is one that we need to do better with but we have a small start. Invest a portion of your income. You get tax breaks! Plus, you don't want to rely on social security down the road. Who knows if it will be there for you. Be prepared now so you don't have to stress in the future.
I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
How are you preparing to ensure you never need a citizen bailout?