Tax refund season is officially here. Walmart, Best Buy and Ashley Furniture have been blasting gimmicky ads all week. According to Bankrate, about half of working Americans expect to receive a tax return in 2018. Estimates show that approximately 10% of consumers receiving a refund will make a major purchase like a television, furniture or car.
Look, I get it. I have two kids and my off-white couch has seen better days. I practically salivate every time I walk past the LoveSac couch store.
But we aren’t getting the couch this year. My husband and I remind each other annually that a refund check is a large amount of money that we earned; it’s not a gift or a windfall. I also know deep down that the pursuit and purchase of physical possessions will never fully satisfy my desire for happiness.
Instead, I propose that you invest the money in yourself.
Take the advice of Warren Buffet, who in a 2009 interview on ABC said, “Generally speaking, investing in yourself is the best thing you can do. Anything that improves your own talents; nobody can tax it or take it away from you. They can run up huge deficits and the dollar can become worth far less. You can have all kinds of things happen. But if you’ve got talent yourself, and you’ve maximized your talent, you’ve got a tremendous asset that can return ten-fold.”
As a job search coach and resume writer, I truly believe that the return on investing and improving yourself is higher than any financial investment you could make. From increased lifetime earning power, to protecting yourself from unemployment and the satisfaction that comes from personal growth and success, the returns are enormous.
Consider the results from the Center for Mental Health Research. Their data from the 20-year Personality and Total Health (PATH) Through Life Project found that people who were in a bad job were five times more likely to be categorized as depressed and twice as likely to be categorized as anxious than those in good quality work. A reputable job coach can help you fast track your job search and get out of a BAD situation through preparation, quality branding and a proper job search strategy.
Lastly, remember that according to the IRS, taxpayers who are looking for a new job that is in the same line of work may be able to deduct some job-hunting expenses on their federal income tax return, even if they don’t get a new job (source).