This will be a different kind of note today than I normally post.
Because the first thing to note is that a bona fide holiday miracle seems to have occurred: Congress agreed on another relief bill.
Given this cultural climate, this might rank up there with the never-ending oil in the lamps of the Maccabees. (Obviously, I exaggerate … slightly.)
I’ll have more details once they become available, probably next week. I’m producing this note before the final vote and the release of the text. But the basics seem to be:
- Additional $600 stimulus payments to individuals, and $600 per child (income limitations not yet available, but probably same as before)
- $284B in more PPP funding
- $300 in federal unemployment supplement, plus extension of earlier unemployment programs that expanded eligibility
- Various other grants and loans for Woodlands small businesses, plus special funding for live venues, etc.
Again … final details pending, but this will be very good news for many.
Regardless, we’re chipping away at final year-end moves for Montgomery County clients, and getting ready for the 2021 tax season. We’re right here, if you need us in the meantime:
Now … I mentioned how this would be a different kind of note.
That’s because I think one of the gifts of the holiday season (no matter where you fall on the belief spectrum) is the chance to … pause. To reflect.
And this might not exactly be your cup of tea, but I found this holiday prayer some time ago, and it’s worth looking at — if not actually praying it — that we might consider how there is almost always something deeper going on in those around us.
Aurelia Weems’ Annual Holiday Prayer
”Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” -Mark Twain
“God, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.
“Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
“Remind us, Lord, that the scary-looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares …
“Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slowly through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.
“Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.
“CRISIS Action Plan” for my Woodlands tax clients and friends — which is still relevant today:
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.