Throughout this spring and summer, we have commented that we feel badly for “seniors” – seniors in high school, college and, of course, in age. For example, Robert’s daughter Megan is one of many high school seniors whose final semester was upended by the Coronavirus pandemic. During one of her online Zoom classes, her history teacher was excited to tell the class that they “were living through history.” Although it wasn’t something an 18-year old cared to hear after missing out on her prom, spring break trip, graduation ceremony, and countless other senior year traditions, it’s a very true statement.
The year 2020 will be one of those years that we’ll be sharing stories about with our future children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. It has been a life event that we’ll never forget. So many life experiences often seem to fade away, but we don’t think 2020 will be one of them.
The message we hope doesn’t fade away is how the last 4 months have impacted so many people in so many different ways. For some it has been tragic, for others an inconvenience, while most of us are somewhere in between. Speaking from the perspective of your Odyssey team, we’re all grateful that we can work from home, continue to serve our clients, be with our families, keep earning an income, and maintain some semblance of normalcy. Yes, some fun events have been postponed, experiences delayed and trips cancelled, but for the most part we’re doing well. We’re healthy, and for that we’re grateful.
We realize the world changed overnight for many others. Through no fault of their own in most cases. Thousands of restaurants suddenly had to adjust to take-out only or temporarily shut down. Musicians, entertainers and professional sports were all shut down. Booming retail centers went from serving large crowds of shoppers to ghost towns in the blink of an eye. The travel industry has seen many jobs lost, temporarily or permanently.
And of course, there are those who contracted the virus. Most recovered without incident, but when more than 137,000 Americans die of anything, how can we all not be impacted. Add in the social justice movement of Black Lives Matter and related unrest the past several weeks – and yes, we are living through history.
When it comes to your personal finances, we’ve advised in the past to focus on the things you can control. The pandemic has challenged that thinking for many. The reality is that your perspective and the impact you’ve felt in the past few months has had much more to do with where you live, the type of job you have, your age, your health, whether you can work
from home, and even your ethnicity rather than the things that you can control.
We share this message not to increase fear but to acknowledge it, and to offer a message of hope and confidence. Confidence that we will get through this together. And hope that those who are able, will do what they can to make a difference for others who are struggling. We want to help and we know many others who do as well.If you feel this same level of concern and are wondering what to do, may we suggest a few ideas:
- Donate to a cause that you believe in, maybe one that helps feed and clothe those who are unemployed.
- Buy gift cards and donate them to organizations who distribute them to those in need. This helps in 2 ways; the business gets needed funds and the recipient gets to buy something they need.
- Leave a bigger tip than usual when you order takeout or eat at a restaurant.
- Call someone you know who lives alone just to check on them and find out if they need anything.
- If the racial injustice movement has caused you concern, may we suggest you take a moment to listen and advocate for policies that will improve lives, not divide people.
In these historic times, we can choose to focus on the negative or we can realize how good we have it and share that goodness with others. In closing, the following is a paraphrase of a quote from the brother of a firefighter lost on 9/11, “if you’re feeling down about the current situation, go help someone else, you’ll feel better, and they will too!”
If you or someone you know has been financially impacted by COVID-19, please call us for help with your situation.
Reviewed & Approved: KM 7/14/2020 (as part of the Q2 2020 newsletter)