What Should Be The Response To Fergerson?

Everyone has an opinion on what should be done as a response to the decision recently made in Ferguson.  The question is what is the right response?  What action will be safe for the protesters while still getting the message across?

I have heard people planning to boycott the retail industry on “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”.  I am not saying this isn’t a good idea, but I don’t believe this is enough.  The assumption is that this boycott idea is entrenched in the Dr. King led boycott of the Montgomery bus company in the late 1950s.  If so I would like to bring to your attention that the Dr. King led boycott lasted for more than a year.  So two days, although huge revenue generating days really won’t work.  The “boycott” would need to be longer in order to have any impact.

Some want to resort to violence as a response to the Ferguson situation.  Violence is never the answer, in my opinion. That is war that the “people” will not win.  Yes executing vengeance and “blowing off steam” might feel good for the time, it doesn’t do anything to serve as a response.  Violence just gives birth to more violence, therefore poking holes in any legitimate response that will lead to change.

I believe what should happen is community leaders, religious leaders, working people, professionals, seniors and youth should come together and develop a strategic plan before an official response is offered.   If change is really the desired end goal, the sacrifice will be made, egos will be put “checked” and a “sit down” will occur.  

Christmas: Fishing Time

The Christmas season is upon us and you know what that means.

It means that retailers have already figured out where the fish (you) are and they are ready to release the bait (“the deal”) that the fish want.

On Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving - mall parking lots and department stores will be crowded with people who will be seeking a deal.  On Cyber Monday, the Internet will have quite a bit of traffic to popular retail site by deal seekers.  A deal is a great thing, but this Christmas season, let’s not seek a deal.  Let’s seek what we are in need of.  The retailers want customer to exceed their budgets and they make it very convenient to do so.

Here is a short list of five things that you can consider before you go out seeking a deal during the Christmas season:

1.      Don’t rely on the fact that you will be receiving an income tax return check in January which you will use to pay off your Christmas spending bill.  Yes you may be receiving a check during the tax season but that check could go to invest in your future or assist you in getting out of debt.  Why not consider taking one of those actions with your anticipated income tax refund?

2.      Make a list of items that you need and only seek deals for those items.  (Need here simply means that the item is a necessity for survival.)  Don’t allow the retailers to reel you in.  You have to make wise decisions for your future and that of your family.  Buy what you absolutely need.  You will get a good price on something you need. 

3.      Consider donating some or all of the money set aside for Christmas shopping to those less fortunate than you.  There are many who are less fortunate than we are.  Let’s remember them during the Christmas holiday.  There will also still be people who are displaced from the storms in the northeastern part of the US.  Help someone out, the nature of Christmas is birthed in giving to those who are less fortunate and in need of assistance.  Lend a helping hand; let’s not forget about those who are in need.

4.      Consider giving your children, nieces, nephews or godchildren gifts that will assist them in the future.  One thing that you might want to do is by a share or a few shares of stock and offer this as a gift to your children or relatives who are in the earlier stages of life.  They may look at you funny but over time if the money is invested properly these young people will thank you greatly when they get older. Think investment. 

5.      Create a budget for your Christmas spending and stick to it. This should have been the first, second and third option.  Above everything on the list, establish a budget – parameters on what you are able to spend on Christmas shopping while still maintaining your monthly, weekly and/or daily expenses.  If you do not have a plan with regard to a budget, you are most certain to spend money that you cannot afford to spend.   

The Intrusion of Black Friday

It appears that retailers are dead set on impacting the family structure this year.  Black Friday is actually starting about six hours earlier this year.  Well I guess that is another story for another time in another setting.  Nonetheless, here are three tips on how to protect yourself and your family financially on Black Friday:

Stay home enjoy family and look forward to Cyber Monday.

Enjoy your family on Thanksgiving Day, don’t eat and run so you can get in line at your favorite retail store.  Part of the dynamic of the “savings” the retailers offer on Black Friday is simply a ploy for you to buy something else that you don’t need.  Safe yourself the headache and shop around on the Internet for the item you are looking for on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Here is a tip: with the state of the economy, the later you wait to more you will probably save. No need to rush.

If you must go into the stores on Black Friday, have a spending plan.

Before you get on line outside of the store have a plan. Ask yourself what am I going to buy and what price am I going to pay for it?  When you have a plan and stick to that plan then the retailers can’t offer you their credit card in order to get an additional percentage off the sale.

Walk in with a plan, stick to the plan and walk out of the retailer with what you planned to walk out with at the right price and nothing more.  No need to layaway what you have planned for. There is no need to finance the purchase you have planned for.  There is no need to spend more than you planned.

Remember you’re on a budget

What is your budget for the Christmas shopping season which starts in a little over 24 hours?  If you don’t have a budget then you don’t have a plan and the only thing that can happen is an unwise move.  Most people can’t afford another unwise financial move this year.  Create your budget today before tomorrow comes and you aren’t prepared.

Let me know how this information has impacted you, whether positively or negatively. I’d like to hear from you. Send your responses to info@frederickotowles.com.