It feels to me that we’re all in need of some good news.
I have some great news for the young (ish) and the old (ish), but before I get there, I’d like to encourage EVERY person who is reading this:
Keep your head in the game.
Yes — we can so easily get caught up in seemingly-nefarious schemes on every side. Whether you are Team ReOpen or Team StayLockedDown … there are data points and new stories plentifully available to bolster your case.
But what are you doing about what YOU can control?
That’s the game right now.
Many people receive these notes that I send out. But of all of them, in point of fact, there might be only a small handful that have actual power to enact change by influencing minds or implementing action.
So what are all the rest of us doing?
When we argue on Facebook or shake our collective fists at the wind, we are merely creating yet more noise.
Let’s raise our game. Let’s be the people who pull one another out of the pit, and provide tangible help and encouragement.
This is a difficult season for everyone, including our political leaders. Believing the best, let’s focus on the things within our control and leave the arguing to the small-minded and easily-distracted.
We have better things to do.
Like — saving money!
First … some good news for the young (particularly those with student loans):
The new CARES Act indicates that you do NOT need to pay interest or ANY payments on eligible student loans for six months. (!)
Effective 3/13/20 and through 9/20/20, borrowers will have no interest accrued and NO payments due. Even better, the adjustment will be automatic; there is nothing borrowers need to do for the interest waiver to be applied to their eligible federal loans.
Even better … there will be no penalties or late fees assessed.
Because the relief is in the form of waiving interest rather than the federal government making loan payments for borrowers, borrowers will see no difference in their student loan balances between now and September 30, 2020 unless they choose to continue making payments. Any payments made on eligible student loans during this period will be applied to principal (after paying interest accrued prior to March 13, 2020).
This is wonderful news that I should have highlighted sooner. Further, student loan debt collection has been suspended, and employers who contribute to student loan payments can add even more to what is being paid off.
Good news, all around.
And … for the more seasoned among us, good news for you:
RMD is suspended.
The CARES Act allows you to NOT take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) for 2020. Did you get that? You do NOT have to take one of your minimum distributions in 2020 if you don’t want/need to.
So, if you are over 70 1/2 and you normally take your minimum distribution in December each year, AND you don’t really need that money this year, you just might want to consider NOT taking that distribution this December.
That will save you some taxes!
For those who are in-between … there is still plenty of helpful news out there.
And we are here to help you find it.
Let’s not forget those 2019 taxes (due July 15th). And until that time … we’re in your corner.
Emelia Mensa EA, CPA
Emelia Mensa CPA
“CRISIS Action Plan” for my clients and friends:
1) Don’t marinate in other people’s panic. Be mindful of your social media consumption.
2) Continue to stay financially and logistically prepared for worsening situations.
3) Make sure you have some ready, liquid assets, if you are able. (I.e., cash in the bank, and in hand.)
4) Set aside plans for any big spending until the dust settles — but especially look out for your small business owner friends and vendors.