Is there a Silver Lining?
Today we welcome a new contributor, Michele Burkholder, to the FinancialVerse. Michele is a CFP and a seasoned professional. Holding senior-level positions with industry leaders like State Farm Insurance, Reliance and ING, she developed a comprehensive knowledge of the financial choices available. Michele started her own practice in 2008 to work directly with individuals and business owners to create real solutions to practical, financial challenges. She guides her clients to establish efficient tax, wealth and protection plans. She helps business owners create strategies to maintain their business income with succession, retirement, key employee and estate planning. She will join us with monthly posts with her perspectives on investments, women's financial issues and what she is seeing in her financial planning practice.
Please join me in welcoming Michele!
The saying goes, “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining.” While all of us have been impacted by Covid19, Is there a silver lining to the Pandemic cloud? While I would never minimize the devastation of losing a loved one, or the number of lives impacted by Covid19, it has given us the opportunity to change the way we view what is truly important in our life. Specifically, our financial health.
While my job is to help people plan for the unexpected, the unexpected has never had such a broad impact. During the second half of March, most of my calls with clients centered around the falling market and the impact to the client’s current and future plans. I understand those concerns, this storm is unprecedented. As time passed, May’s focus turned to ensuring everyone was safe and healthy. After the initial shock, people have started to change their outlook. It has given us the opportunity to review our financial situation in a new light. There are several financial lessons I have learned from 2020:
Our definition of a “necessary” expense has been challenged
The way we spend our free time has been altered
The quality of life is more simplistic than we believed in 2019
Using another tired phrase, I choose to look at the remaining part of 2020 as “half full.” We can all make some positive changes as a result of what we have experience financially in 2020. My suggestions to review:
Stop spending on what was considered “necessary.” If you lived without an expense, and didn’t miss it the last 3 months, it’s time to remove it from your budget.
Speaking of budget, if you haven’t used a formal budget in the past, now is the time to create a plan and monitor your ability to stick with your goals.
Don’t make rash decisions regarding the market. A sound financial strategy is designed for the long-term and includes a diversified mix of holdings to help mitigate market risk.
Maintain more cash. If you have an inflow of cash, or have reduced expenses, it’s a good time to consider conservative strategies or increase your emergency fund.
As a result of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act),* you may want to consider some of the following options for 2020:
If you have a beneficiary IRA or are required to take a Required Minimum Distribution, these required distributions have been suspended for 2020. If you don’t need the money for living expenses, leave the money in the account and allow your account to rebuild from the loss it suffered in March.
If you have a student loan, take advantage of deferred payments until September 30, 2020. You could redirect that money to reducing high interest debt, meeting living expenses or increasing savings.
Finally, as a last resort, if you find yourself strapped for cash, the IRS has removed the 10% penalty for Coronavirus-related withdrawals if you are under 59.5 and expanded the loan provisions from your 401(k).
The impact to human life has been a tragedy. However, the opportunity for us to reset our financial priorities, has never been more important.
*Please consult your tax professional for more details and to discuss your personal situation.
Michele Burkholder* is the Founder of The Burkholder Team, a family financial practice whose mission is to Provide Families, Business Owners & Their Employees Optimal Guidance to Help Them Reach Their Financial Goals.
*Registered representative of and securities offered through Hornor, Townsend & Kent, LLC. (HTK), Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC 600 Dresher Road, Horsham, PA 19044, (215) 957-7300. The Burkholder Team and 1847Financial are not affiliated with Hornor, Townsend & Kent, LLC.
For Educational Purposes Only – Not to be relied on as financial, tax, or legal advice. All investing involves risk and no investment strategy can assure a profit or protect against a loss in a down market. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.