OPINION: Invest in Your Future

Ronnie Crudup Jr. is the executive director of New Horizon Ministries.

Ronnie Crudup Jr. is the executive director of New Horizon Ministries. Photo by Imani Khayyam.

The holiday season is upon us. This is the time of the year when we celebrate and spend quality time with family and friends. It is the season for school and office festivities, and most exciting for some, Christmas and New Year's Eve parties. We will be spending a lot of extra time and income during this season for gifts and other items that we really don't need. Many will stress over children wanting certain gifts, and most of us make sure they get them.

Tax season is also right around the corner. A lot of people may go into debt from holiday purchases and then spend all of their tax refunds trying to purchase items that have little value. We see it every year. Some families get $4,000-plus in tax refunds, and then spend all of that money on a vehicle that may last half a year, or even apartment leases or other quickly depreciating materials. I am simply trying to convince people to invest that money in their future instead. Stop buying items with no return on investment. Purchase something that has a long-time return: land.

Houses all over Jackson are selling for $10,000 and less that don't need much renovation work. A lot of these same families are spending more than $800 per month in rent. They can save this money to renovate a property. Now, this property may not be anything extravagant, but you have the opportunity to make it what you want without paying a costly mortgage at the same time. This idea may not be for everyone, but people who are willing to do things this way get a chance to save a lot of money in the future.

I am also pushing people in this way because things will change for Jackson in the future, and these same possibilities may not always be around. Think about cities across the nation that have gone about this type of change—for example, Brooklyn, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Portions of these cities were all suffering from economic downturn at one point, but things shifted, and now property value is up, and the cost of living is expensive.

Some people wish they had purchased property in Brooklyn when they were selling it for $10. I don't want people to lose out on the opportunity to better themselves financially.

I also don't want people to lose out on the opportunity because of the fear of crime. Without a doubt, crime is happening in Jackson. Some of it is random, but most of it is not. We need to admit what it is and face it head on. Some people will take the challenge, but some won't. We need to get young professionals to move back into the communities to show our children what that looks like. We need families to move back into the inner cities, because our children need to see family. We need positive males to move back into the neighborhoods=, because boys need to see how disciplined and positive males behave.

This is not what professionals in the financial industry typically teach, but we need a bit of a radical change and a radical mind shift when it comes to our economic behavior. Someone has to teach and lead by example. Someone has to show this to residents, step by step.

This is the time to start planning for your future. Think about having something that you can pass along to your children and future generations. Land is one of those things. Most people don't own their homes straight out, but the ones who do have extra money to purchase the things that they want. I want to help a few people get to that place where they don't have to wonder how they will pay their mortgage. I prefer their concern to be "how can I get more property for my family's future."

So don't overspend during this holiday and tax season. Create the opportunity to invest in yourself and in your future!

Ronnie Crudup Jr. is the executive director of New Horizon Ministries.


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