It’s been some year so far...one that we will never forget! This global pandemic has reached deep into our everyday life and our lifestyles.
Like the famous song and movie, The Way We Were, we may all yearn for life as we knew it. Just some 100+ days ago we can almost recall living our lives “normally." We now know that we must adjust our life and lifestyles to a New Normal². What is New Normal²? It’s the combination of new norms in health, finance and social behavior. Not only are we experiencing a global economic recession, but we are having to adapt socially to protect our health in everything we do on a daily basis. Our mask has become our "friend." Facing the unknown future poses many questions which may bring you feelings of anxiety, fear, fatigue and possible frustration. However, if you can create and control a bit of your New Normal² each day, you can build confidence and comfort. Whether it’s daily exercise, scheduled tasks around your home or office or scheduled social interaction, all of these things can energize you to take the next steps in one of your bigger projects or goals. It's mid-year 2020 and I hope that we all can look forward to a more positive year. Practice taking small, controlled steps each day that will improve your mindset and help you reach your bigger dreams and goals. We wish you and your family a healthy Summer Season!
Marilyn and Ora
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants employers to adhere to some new guidelines as they prepare for the return of some or all employees this summer and fall. These guidelines might also affect the way people commute to their jobs.
Four recommendations stand out. One, the CDC recommends a temperature check for each employee at the start of the workday. Two, common areas, such as kitchens and break rooms, should be free of any seating. Three, desks within the office should be 6 feet or more apart; if a workplace’s layout cannot allow for that, plastic shields should be erected between them. Four, everyone in the office should wear masks or face coverings. In addition, the CDC guidelines encourage employers to open windows for greater ventilation and toss out "high touch" items like coffeemakers and bowls containing bulk snacks. Taking mass transit is a risk, the guidelines note; at the moment, the CDC thinks workers are better off just getting in a car and driving themselves to and from their jobs. While larger employers may have already planned out some of these adjustments, small businesses and nonprofit organizations could be hard-pressed to put them into play. As many employees continue to work effectively from home, employers, large and small, may decide to wait out the pandemic before bringing back the majority of their personnel.2
Perhaps you know someone who carries no cash. Maybe that someone is you. Ten or 15 years ago, it would have been anomalous and occasionally frustrating to go through the day without any bills or coins on you. Now, not so much. In 2018, Americans used debit cards more than cash at the point of sale for the first time, according to a Federal Reserve survey. This year, many merchants have encouraged cashless payments to discourage money from changing hands, an effort to reduce the threat of COVID-19 transmission. Given developments like these, will cash disappear within a generation or even a decade? The chance of that happening still seems small, at least on a macro scale. In fact, the value of cash in circulation has risen in developed nations since the 2008-09 credit crisis, according to Bloomberg. Digital payments are common in some countries, yet still uncommon in others. China, which possesses the world's second-largest economy, is planning to introduce its own digital currency in the near future – but most consumers in India, the world's fifth-largest economy, rely on paper currency. In America, it appears that coins and bills are not going away just yet.3
Serves 5 to 6
Graham Cracker Crust:One 1-lb. box graham crackers¼ cup, plus 1 Tbsp., unsalted butter, melted⅓ cup sugar
Filling:3 egg yolks2 tsp. lime zest1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk⅔ cup freshly squeezed or store-bought Key lime juice
Topping:1 cup heavy or whipping cream, chilled2 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
Graham Cracker Crust* Preheat the oven to 350° F. * Break up the graham crackers, place in a food processor, and process to crumbs. (If you don't have a food processor, place the crackers in a large plastic bag, seal it, and crush them with a rolling pin.) *Add the melted butter and sugar to the crumbs and pulse or stir until combined. *Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a pie pan, forming a neat border around the edge. *Bake the crust until set and golden, around 8 minutes. Set aside on a wire rack; leave the oven on.
Filling* Meanwhile, in an electric mixer, with the wire whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and lime zest at high speed until very fluffy, about 5 minutes. *Gradually add the condensed milk and continue to beat until thick, 3 to 4 minutes longer. *Lower the mixer speed and slowly add the lime juice, mixing just until combined, no longer. *Pour the mixture into the crust. *Bake for 10 minutes, or until the filling has just set. *Cool on a wire rack, then refrigerate. *Freeze for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the most nutritious, right? Not always. Shoppers coveting produce from the local farmer's market might be surprised to learn that frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are not as inferior as some make them out to be. Undeniably, the most nutritious fruits and vegetables are found at the point of harvest. Once you pick or unearth a fruit or vegetable from its native environment, it reacts by starting to consume its own nutrients to maintain the life of its cells. Refrigerating or freezing produce, however, can often help to slow this degradation. Research from the University of California, Davis shows that some vegetables rapidly lose nutritional components when kept at room temperature over a week. As an example, spinach loses 100% of its vitamin C value; carrots, 27%. With frozen vegetables, oxidation has been slowed – but as a prelude to being frozen, the vegetables are commonly subjected to high temperatures for a few minutes (in a process called blanching) to rid them of undesirable enzymes, insects and other bugs, and many harmful pathogens. Fruits and vegetables are (literally) heated to an even greater degree before being canned, and sometimes sugar and salt are added along the way. As the BBC notes, fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamins E and A (fat-soluble vitamins) generally keep more nutritional value while canned than those rich in Vitamin C (since water-soluble vitamins are more likely to leech out during the heating and canning processes).4
In today’s fast moving business world, seeking and forming a support network can be a critical success factor. You may start with your alumni association, a professional organization, or a set of business colleagues with whom you have affinity. Helping one another, without keeping score, is a great way to build a new relationship, friendship and many more steps in your desired direction along your career path. The old adage of a great digital “Rolodex” that you use by helping and supporting others, will bring you the reciprocity you deserve.
Your network is the people who want to help you, and you want to help them, and that's really powerful.—Reid Hoffman
My Golden Rule of Networking is simple: Don’t Keep Score.—Harvey Mackay
Linda and Peter are worried about their financial future. “We want our one-year-old son, Raymond, to go to college, but we’re concerned that in 17 years, the cost might be more than we can afford,” says Peter. “We also need to save for our retirement,” adds Linda. “Can we reach both of these goals?”
Linda and Peter aren’t alone. Millions of Americans are finding it a struggle to balance the high cost of higher education while saving for their own retirement. If you’re one of them or would like to help someone faced with this situation, put your worries aside. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help overcome this double-sided planning hurdle.
For example, because Linda and Peter won’t need their money for 17 years, they decided to begin investing now and often. Starting a regular investment program long before needing the money can potentially work in their favor. That’s because of compounding — which is what happens when previous earnings from an investment remain invested and, in turn, earn more money.
They also decided to make the most of their contributions by investing in vehicles that would generate important tax benefits. They chose to funnel $100 each month into a 529 College Savings Plan, which would allow their contributions to benefit from tax-deferred growth and tax-free withdrawals. Meanwhile, they also set aside $200 a month into an IRA. When they receive raises, Linda and Peter will increase their contributions to both accounts.
Getting a Late Start
Sandy and Paul have a different issue. “We don’t want to be a financial burden on our kids when we’re older, so we’ve always opted to max out our 401(k)s and IRAs, which limited the amount left to contribute to a college fund,” says Sandy.
“Now our twins are 16, and we’ve only managed to save $8,000 for their college expenses.”
“Fortunately, my parents have helped out by investing $22,000 in UGMA custodial accounts,” says Paul. “We should be eligible for loans and maybe the girls will receive scholarships. It won’t be a cake walk, but at least we should be able to get them through college without sacrificing our retirement.”
Planning Is Key
If you’re feeling overwhelmed while investing for long-term financial goals, why not create a workable financial plan and begin to invest regularly? Over time, even small sums of money invested could potentially add up. And by all means, don’t forgo investing for your own Golden Years. After all, there are no retirement scholarships. Investing in an IRA has many benefits. For example, assets held in an IRA will not affect your eligibility for financial aid, and if need be, usually you can make penalty-free withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses. 1 With a traditional IRA, you may benefit from a tax deduction now while your earnings grow tax-deferred. With a Roth IRA, you make contributions with after-tax dollars, but qualified withdrawals will be tax-free.
Don’t Do It Alone
These are just some ideas for saving money for both college and retirement, but don’t make important financial decisions in a vacuum. Remember the role that your financial consultant can play in helping you solidify your financial future. He or she has the experience and the resources to help you evaluate your situation and may be able to help you maintain your financial equilibrium.