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Good Things That Happened in 2020

I am seeing a bit of comic relief with tweets, commercials and advertisements joking about what an awful year 2020 has been. Some of the commercials remind me of the scene in Holy Grail where the man being carted off during the plague sits up and says, “I’m not dead yet.” (It’s more humorous if read with a British accent!) I appreciate humor and like many, am seeking any bit of good news I can lay my eyes on as we wrap up this year.

For the fun of it, we took a survey of the office where everyone simply responded to, “Name 3 GOOD THINGS about 2020.” Below is a compilation of the responses from our team.

Personal Observations

  • Almost everyone observed the desire and ability to visit with friends and extended family—even weekly—using Zoom.
  • Many noticed neighborhoods enhanced with increased attention to landscaping, gardening, home improvements and remodeling.
  • Several noticed an overall increased appreciation of nature with the need/desire to be outside, especially when quarantined.
  • One family observed enjoying local travel and rediscovering the offerings and places to visit in the state.
  • Several mentioned cooking for pleasure, particularly “cooking for Dad.”
  • Almost everyone observed much more time to read, including self-improvement books.
  • Several indicated more time to clean and organize their home, including spaces not tended to in years.
  • Several indicated the ability to save, and one member of our staff achieved the financial goal of becoming completely debt free, including paying off the mortgage.
  • One observed that they have re-established friendships during this period, including college friends that had drifted away.
  • Many of us noticed that shopping has become easier, especially for those who do not enjoy going to the store anyway.

Community Observations

  • Overall, we seem to be supporting each other more as a community, especially our healthcare workers.
  • Our beloved Arkansas Razorbacks won three SEC games after having NOT won an SEC game in two years.
  • People are donating more to food banks and homeless shelters.
  • Non-profits became more creative and diversified in their fundraising efforts.
  • Even Congress got into the act, allowing you to deduct 2020 cash gifts to charities all the way up to 100% of your Adjusted Gross Income!
  • People are still having babies and starting families. (Who knows, perhaps there will be a 2021 Baby Boom?)

National Observations

  • Rebounding market – The stock market hit record highs this year (after a very rough period in March and April!). The Dow Jones Industrial average crossed 30,000 for the first time last month (November 2020).
  • Refinancing – Mortgage rates are at record lows (Recently the Wall Street Journal reported 30-year fixed rates averaging 2.9% and 15-year fixed rates averaging 2.41%).
  • Adopting new technologies – Many have adopted new technologies, including those in their 70s, 80s and even 90s. Whoever dreamed that an 85-year old would take master gardener classes from a major university in the comfort of her home via Zoom?
  • Watching the “race” for the vaccine unfold, and the new knowledge we have now about how to protect each other from viruses in general.
  • Witnessing major companies such as 3M, Brooks Brothers and Apple pool their resources and shift production to make millions of masks/face shields to help keep people safe. Ford, GM, and other automakers were able to make ventilators and other medical protective gear to help with the pandemic. It was impressive to see how quickly they were able to respond to the crisis.

What about you?

With the vaccines getter closer to implementation, I know we are at a different place now, able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, even though we must continue to be vigilant. Therefore, as you wind up the next few weeks of 2020, I hope you can create your own list of Good things that happened in 2020. Once you start thinking about it in your own life, you may be surprised at what you find.

Kristina Bolhouse CPA/PFS, CFP®
Vice President/Shareholder

© 2020 The Arkansas Financial Group, Inc., All rights reserved.

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