Everyone’s least favorite subject is also one of the most important things to consider during a global pandemic: estate planning, the topic that brings about both the discomfort of facing our own mortality and the urge to ensure our affairs are in order. Perhaps the emergence of COVID-19 prompted you to speak with an attorney and get the ball rolling, or maybe you’ve already had your documents prepared but want to confirm that they’re up-to-date. Regardless of how far along you are in the estate planning process, it’s always a good idea to revisit your plans to make sure that you have everything you need.
As environmental and social justice matters continue to make national headlines, you may be wondering if your financial investments align with your personal beliefs and values.
In recent years, the concept of socially responsible investing gave rise to the practice of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing, which uses those guidelines to build a sustainable and ethical portfolio. Potential investments are screened for a variety of factors in each category to ensure that investments are made in companies whose leadership has demonstrated through ethical practices and policies that they care about people and the planet. Like all investing, there are both pros and cons, and it’s important to work with a financial company or advisor who is transparent and trustworthy when deciding if and how to begin ESG investing.
The lack of Americans’ retirement savings, referred to as “retirement insecurity”, is a topic we are hearing more and more about as the Boomer generation ages into retirement. Private company pensions are few and far between these days, putting the onus of saving for retirement on individuals, rather than corporations. Compounding the issue of the lack of retirement savings is the fact that Americans are living longer and will need to save more to cover living expenses and potentially higher medical costs later in life. Elected officials have responded to the potential crisis by enacting legislation such as the SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) and the OregonSaves program.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was established and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) began distributing loans to businesses in need. The goal of the program is to incentivize businesses to keep all of their employees on payroll; applicants had to affirm that they needed the funds in order to continue operating and employing their workforce. If you’ve been approved for a loan, you’re likely trying to stay on top of the requirements to have it forgiven. There’s a lot of information out there to digest and, since this is a new program, guidance is still evolving even though funds have already been dispensed. To get you started, we’ve provided answers to common questions with the information currently available.
For many of us, the COVID-19 outbreak has drastically changed the way we live, work, and enjoy our free time. Perhaps we weren’t as prepared for an emergency as we thought we were or never expected the government would tell us to stay home. Restaurants, bars, parks, and beaches all closed? No way! A line to get into the grocery store? You’re kidding. Signs along the highway reminding us to stay home to stay safe? It feels more like an apocalypse movie than real life. Without access to our usual ways of socializing and entertaining, we’re having to get creative – virtual happy hour anyone?
Since we’re all in this together, let’s do what we can to make it as comfortable and tolerable of an experience as we can. Understand that life is different right now and it’s important to adjust our expectations for ourselves and others accordingly. And maybe the silver lining is that we’ll have a better idea of what we need in order to maintain our health, happiness, and overall well-being when life returns to normal.