What is an Avatar?
Who do I write for, and why?
An avatar originally referred to a Hindu god who manifested him or herself in a physical form. Often, the avatar had its own name (sort of like a generic drug having a different name than the original patented version). Then, as computers became more graphic, people wanted to have a representation of themselves online that was more appealing to them than a photo thumbnail. If you subscribe to this blog and make a comment, your image may well appear next to that comment when others see it. That’s an avatar, too. Of course, there’s a James Cameron movie named Avatar, and if the Internet is to be believed, there will be an Avatar 2 next year.
You may have seen my “little guy” elsewhere before. He’s my personal avatar for advertising and promotional pieces, and I use him quite often. I’m always pleased when people notice the similarity between the way I look and that character. (He was created for me by Mark Brayer, an illustrator and graphics artist that I have known for some time. If you like what what you see, please contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell him I recommended him to you.) But, returning to the point, it often makes sense to use a representation of someone to focus on a particular characteristic or highlight a special talent or skill. The avatar both represents the underlying person and the reason for the focus.
So now we get to the point. I have an avatar for you in my mind. It is a representation of the unique characteristics of the audience I am working with. When I write a blog, or put together a seminar or training I am doing so for my avatar of that audience. I know that each one of you is unique, that’s why what I do here is not considered tax advice. It does not, it cannot, take into account every special detail of each individual and family. But as a group, many of the things that come up are applicable. It just makes sense for me to understand who I am working for.
And, it also makes sense for you to know who I am talking to. I’ll say more about that later, but for now it simply means that you should let me know if I’m actually answering the questions you want answered. As I get feedback from you, I can modify my view and thereby modify my content. It doesn’t make sense otherwise. If I’m not addressing your needs, I’m just talking to the air.
Here is my vision of my avatar. Actually, two avatars–one for individuals and one for businesses. As you will see, the two overlap at several points.
My individual avatar is a taxpayer with a family of one or more children. The adults are between 35 and 55, and the kids are no older than college age. One or both of the adults work, or own a business, and they have a mortgage, contribute to charities, invest, save for retirement–or they want to find a way to do all those things. They are concerned about how to minimize their tax liability, not just for the current year, but going forward. They also want to be sure that their children are set up properly for their own tax lives as they get started.
My business avatar is an artisan or professional person operating alone or with only one or two employees. Like the individual avatar, this person is between 35 and 55. They are growing their business and want to find the best ways to maximize profits and use the business structure to benefit their personal situation in every legal way. They are concerned that they are paying too much tax, that they aren’t taking every business deduction possible, and that they are not creating issues with the IRS.
Don’t get me wrong. I will work with others who fall outside these descriptions, but my focus is on these avatars. Also notice that family, not marital status is important here. From the standpoint of taxes, there is much that a family with unmarried parents and children from previous family situations needs to know. So that’s why it’s important for you to know who I’m talking to. This is probably not the best place for tax information for retirees, not the best place for corporate moguls,nor the independently wealthy. You won’t see information about how to find offshore tax shelters for your excess income. You won’t find discussions of how to set up a deferred income contract with stock options for your position as CEO of Mega-Corp.
But you will find information you can use to your advantage. We will talk about the tax life cycle. We’ll discuss ways to combine business and personal activities to legally and safely benefit your personal pocketbook. And we’ll talk about growth–personal and business. And it will all be focused on you, my avatar.
So, this is my invitation to you to subscribe to this blog. You will get good information and, I believe, thought provoking insight into how better to handle your money.
Then, take a minute to leave me a comment. Tell me how you would see your own avatar, and either how you have used the concept or how you see it might be useful.