During these incredibly unusual and disruptive times, the federal government has made numerous changes and updates that will impact your personal financial situation for you and your family. As a result of these changes we have provided a list of financial planning categories with a few tips and action items to consider:
Direct Cash Payments to Families
- Checks or deposits are expected to be made beginning the week of April 6.
- Method of payment will replicate the same method you used to file your last tax return
- Maintain a larger than normal cash reserve for unexpected cash outlays
- Apply for state unemployment if you have been laid off or terminated
- Average state unemployment weekly benefit ranges between $200-$550 per week
- The federal government will add $600 per week over and above state unemployment benefits for up to four months
- If you are currently collecting unemployment, the expiration date on your benefits has been extended for an additional 13 weeks
- You may discontinue any payments you are making until September 30, 2020
- No interest or penalties will apply
- Any auto or direct payment on loans will continue unless you turn off auto payment
Personal Income Tax Planning
- You can make charitable contributions of up to $300 cash and qualify for a deduction above and beyond the current standard deduction
- You may skip required mandatory distribution from IRAs and 401k plans for 2020
- HSA usage has been expanded to include over the counter medications
- Review your investments to make sure you have the correct allocations of equities and fixed income assets
- Equities have lost considerable value so, for many, rebalancing into equities could make sense
- If your portfolio was too heavily weighted in equites to begin with some have now realized they should have a higher percentage in fixed income
- Most advisors will suggest not to make changes based on fear or emotions. Moving everything to cash will require a subsequent decision on when to get back in. Effectively timing the market is very difficult and can have devastating consequences to performance.
- Understand income tax consequences of buying and selling in a taxable brokerage account. You can make changes in IRAs and 401ks without incurring tax consequences.