Dave Sather writes a column about financial issues for the Victoria Advocate.

Dave Sather

Dave Sather

It’s a pretty bold statement to say there is a “best” investment. Normally, that is hitched to some sort of flimsy sales pitch. However, with age, I’m convinced there is a best investment, an education.

An education gains value the more you use it. Education complements an individual as they gain wisdom, judgment, and experience. Continuous education keeps your brain strong and flexible. Even if you get divorced or file for bankruptcy, no one can take your education away from you.

I first started teaching at the university level 26 years ago. Despite the scrutiny over the cost of college, it remains a very worthwhile endeavor for most people. My time spent in the classroom with my Texas Lutheran University students is the highlight of my week.

College remains a phenomenal experience for young men and women to grow, transform, graduate and become productive members of society.

In addition to my affinity for college students, in the past, I have written about the benefits of trades and associated technical training.

Out of the many lessons delivered from the polar vortex, one that stands out is the need for more people who can fix stuff. Think “This Old House” meets “Dirty Jobs With Mike Rowe.” Whether electricians, plumbers, HVAC experts or anything else associated with building and maintaining infrastructure … we have a massive shortage. Furthermore, as the baby boomers slide into retirement, this skills gap will only get more challenging.

However, if we are not giving the students in our community a solid K-12 foundation, the opportunities for trade school or college are irrelevant. This opportunity is reliant upon everybody in our community stepping forward and doing their part.

Seeing the bigger picture, the higher the training, skillset, and education, the better the job opportunities. The more avenues for education, the better the opportunities for tax dollars to be generated. The more jobs and tax revenues, the better equipped a community is to pay for roads, water, electricity, first responders and everything else we expect from a modern and thriving society — including schools.

This is a self-reinforcing holistic circle that continues to benefit everyone within a community.

On May 1, Victoria will have a school bond election with early voting April 19-27.

Although my “go-to” move is to pay as little in taxes as humanly possible, I also want to live in a thriving and dynamic community. This is different than sending taxes to Washington D.C. to be funneled into some obscure project. These are our kids in our neighborhoods all in need of education.

As such, this is not a tax question, but rather an investment opportunity. This money stays in our community and strengthens the Crossroads. Building and maintaining competitive 21st-century schools, allows us to avoid a structural deficit and be proactive in offering solid K-12 education. This allows us to take a proactive role in what the future of the Crossroads will look like and offer.

Conversely, if we can’t offer a solid educational opportunity, businesses and families will relocate and our community will slowly erode. As they leave, so too will tax revenues necessary to build and maintain all of the systems and services that we want.

Lastly, I am not sure when our community will be offered the opportunity to raise funds this inexpensively again. The Victoria Independent School District’s tax rate is the lowest it has been in nearly 30 years. Furthermore, interest rates are at their lowest levels in 70 years indicating that the interest component for this debt will be highly efficient.

Given this, I am not sure there is much of a discussion needed as the alternative is unacceptable. Let’s vote to improve, enhance and build great schools and provide the educational foundation that every kid in our area deserves.

In the process, everyone in our community benefits from a tremendous return from the best investment.

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Dave Sather is a Certified Financial Planner and the president of the Sather Financial Group, a “fee-only” investment and strategic planning firm. His column, Money Matters, publishes every other week.

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