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Looking back at 2020 can help you look forward to 2021

Looking back, 2020 felt as if we were on a smooth boat ride that was suddenly hit by a rogue wave that knocked everyone into the drink. As a result, everyone is now looking ahead to 2021, hoping to find some semblance of stability and normalcy

In 2019, my firm updated and tested our emergency business continuation plan. At the time, I never imagined we would be implementing it within months.

The 2020 image ingrained in my mind is walking through a grocery store down an aisle with empty shelves where toilet paper should have been. Of all the things that surprised me about the pandemic, that’s the vision that’s still emblazoned in my mind. Shortages and supply chain issues wouldn’t have surprised me, but toilet paper?

I also heard a phrase during the pandemic that really had me taken aback: Non-essential workers. That phrase really bothered me because, in my mind, every worker is essential to some degree. From the farmers that work the fields, to the hands that pick the crops, and the workers that process everything from food to toilet paper. In my book, if you earn a paycheck, you’re essential.

In this complex world, everyone has a role. A lower wage earner may be living paycheck to paycheck, but anyone who gets out of bed, earns wages and pays their bills is essential. To dismiss someone by calling him or her non-essential is condescending.

It occurred to me just how important all workers are when, working from home, I glanced out the window and saw our garbage and recycle people on their trucks. If they failed to come, the residents would be screaming. They are essential without a doubt, and like most people, they prefer work to handouts.

From what I can ascertain, the vast majority of those adversely hit by the pandemic were those making less than $40,000 per year, and likely living paycheck to paycheck. These are our friends that were thrown overboard when the 2020 boat was rocked. They are in dire need of a life preserver and good advice.

Looking ahead to 2021, I will be providing a broad range of financial tips. Some advice will be geared toward those who were financially devastated by the pandemic, and some for those who maintained their jobs and income in 2020. And, of course, I will be offering plenty of suggestions for retirees.

Whatever your circumstance, a great way to begin 2021 is by taking inventory of how much and to whom you owe money. This can help you develop a plan on how to prioritize paying your bills and debts.

Whether your finances thrived or survived last year, taking inventory can help shed some light regarding any adjustments you might need to make in 2021 to help achieve your financial goals. Some fine-tuning just may be in order.

If you’re retired it’s easy to say that nothing has changed, but the world around you has changed dramatically. For example, if you historically use interest from your bank deposits to supplement your income, you might have noticed that your interest income decreased. Changes may be in order.

The bottom line, whether you’re employed, un-employed or retired, I’ll be providing financial suggestions and ideas throughout the year. Stay healthy and stay tuned.

Know Someone?

E-mail your questions to kenmorris@lifetimeplanning.com 

Ken is a registered representative of LPL Financial. Securities and financial planning offered through LPL, a Registered Investment Advisor, member FINRA/SIPC. Ken is Vice-President of the Society for Lifetime Planning in Troy. All opinions expressed are those of Ken Morris. LPL and Society for Lifetime Planning are independent companies. Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.