Daffodils and crocuses are pushing their way through the hard-packed earth. Spring will be here in its full glory! While we don’t know when the Coronavirus “winter” will abate, it will. Humans and our economies are resourceful and resilient.
We get to decide now who we want to be in the midst of this challenging season and how we want to emerge as better people. We have financial choices to make now that will shift the trajectory of our journey from today onward.
There are four overarching themes of your financial life:
- How it comes to you.
- How you share it.
- How you protect and grow it.
- How you spend it.
What are your beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors in each of these areas now, and what do you want to consider shifting, changing, or embellishing on as we move through this time of profound change?
Money Coming Into Your Life
Are you still working? How has the “spigot” of cash flow changed over the past month? You may need to look at turning on other spigots of income. Are you on the cusp of or in retirement? Does money come to you from retirement accounts, a trust, Social Security, rental property, business assets, investments?
I find that many people have a hard time shifting from exchanging work hours for a salary to receiving income from savings built up over time. In our current environment, you need to be very strategic over which “buckets” you tap.
Considerations around lifestyle, liquidity, longevity, and legacy will dictate how you can best use the financial tools you have. The SECURE ACT of 2019 changed when and how you take money or put money into your retirement plans.
Now, The CARES Act has changed yet other aspects. For 2020, you do not need to take your RMD. However, given your personal situation, this may not be the route you want to go.
We are in very low tax brackets right now, and IRA money comes to you as ordinary income. With all the money being “lent” to our economy right now, what do you think will happen with taxes down the road?
Share What You Have
Women are natural givers, but we need to do it wisely. This pandemic has created the great equalizer. It impacts every man, woman, and child, regardless of color, creed, political affiliation, or economic standing.
Giving generously to causes and organizations as well as your neighbors is no longer a luxury of abundance but an expression of sufficiency. There are creative ways to give and the CARES Act has provided a couple new nuances.
For example, there is a new partial above-the-line deduction for cash contributions up to $300 for those people who are not itemizing their deductions.
The CARES Act has also temporarily modified the itemized deduction for 2020 to 100% (up from 60% in the past). You will also be able to carry forward that which is not offset in 2020 to future years.
Protect and Nurture Your Monetary Resources
Now is the time to revisit your estate planning and discern direction of your investments. Do you have a will, medical directives, HIPAA authorizations, beneficiary designations, and Power of Attorneys reviewed, updated, and put in place?
Does your situation warrant creative trusts, or can you keep things simple? Do you have life insurance that needs to be reviewed?
Now is the time to open your statements and look at your investments. Are there companies you want to be a part of or stay away from as a matter of principal? Socially responsible, impact- and faith-based investing are options you can consider in order for your investment dollars to speak for you.
Are there tax loss harvesting opportunities you want to avail yourself of? Now is the time to strategically reposition your portfolios to take advantage of the growth opportunities we will see in the future. Please seek wise counsel as you consider any of these financial facets.
Spend Mindfully with Joyful Intention
Never before have we experienced an opportunity to mindfully spend our money on products or services that are meaningful to us. I make a thoughtful list of items to pick up at the grocery store that will last us for two weeks.
I strive to make purchases based on “soul needs” versus “ego desires.” I don’t have it down pat yet, but an experience with a faulty coffee maker (which the supplier would simply “throw away” instead of try to fix) emphasizes the need to really think through our purchases.
With the time we now have on our hands, many are going through closets, purging things they don’t need. I’ve decided to take a pause and really think things through.
What do I want to change moving forward about how I make purchases? I can appreciate what I already have and find substitutes for things I can’t run out and purchase. We can live in sufficiency and our “enoughness.”
We can find joy in ways that circumvent the consumer world we have been immersed in. We can have economies that grow based on our soul needs and thought-out desires.
I encourage you to spend time to look at these four financial themes in your life and how you want to do your dollars differently moving forward. We are all part of the problems and we are all part of the solutions moving forward to a better world.
I am giving away my book Your Financial Revolution – Time to Recognize, Revitalize and Release Your Financial Power until the 15th of May. You will need to have an Apple itunes reader or Amazon Kindle reader to open.
In what ways are you doing your dollars differently now? What other changes will you embrace in the upcoming months? What financial decisions are the easiest or most difficult for you at this time? Please share with our sisters and let’s have a conversation.