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The election is over. Time to start your financial planning.

At last you can turn on your television without seeing an endless stream of rants and raves otherwise known as political ads. Regardless of how you feel about the election results and our country’s path, your money issues still need to be addressed in this COVID-19 economy.

If you’re fortunate enough to have maintained a job and a paycheck, there’s a good chance that how and where you work have changed. Technology hasn’t just made us much more mobile and efficient; it‘s forced us to be.

Whether you’re working from home or still at the store, plant or office, you need to keep a close eye on your finances. Taxes, for example. Between now and the inauguration, everyone should be finishing up their 2020 tax returns.

If you’re working from home, your expenses may have decreased. Which means you may be able to increase your 401(k) contributions for the remaining pay periods of 2020. If you do have extra cash and a traditional or Roth 401(k), talk to your advisor or tax preparer.

While reviewing your 2020 contributions, you might also plan your 2021 contribution strategy. Politics and the pandemic may change things, but it’s still a good idea to have at least a rough plan in mind.

The pandemic has already derailed many careers. Just look at the airlines, for example. Fewer flights mean layoffs for pilots, mechanics, airport workers, hotel workers, and employees of nearby restaurants and other businesses. And, of course, people who need to fly for their work are also affected.

I believe the majority of skilled workers, such as pilots and mechanics, will eventually return to work. But for anyone who lacks a trade or skill, this is an opportune time to improve your skillset.

I’m amazed at the large number of help-wanted ads I’ve seen and heard throughout the pandemic. There’s not just a demand for tradesmen, many employers are actually offering to teach their particular trade.

So if you’re looking for a job, I encourage you to act now. Sure, Uncle Sam may try to help you get back on your feet, but long term it’s dangerous to become dependent on government provided paychecks.

It’s important to resist the temptation to make knee-jerk changes to your financial plan. For most of us, this isn’t the first election cycle. So, whether you like or dislike whoever winds up in the White House, at the end of the day you need to understand that your financial wellbeing rests on your own shoulders. 

Rules, laws and policies are going to change throughout your lifetime. Because those changes will make long-term financial planning a bit difficult, you need to pay close attention to them. Be prepared to review and make adjustments to your plans as needed.

Rooting for red or blue won’t pay your bills or your child’s college tuition. When all is said and done, you are responsible for your own financial wellbeing. 

Sometimes in life we get knocked off our intended track. Uncle Sam may provide a little assistance here and there, but ultimately it’s up to you to adjust. Things will rebound eventually, and there will be new rules to follow. I’m confident there will also be new opportunities that offer success for those who seek it.

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.