Greetings from self-isolation!
It’s been a Sterling tradition from the beginning to have lunch together as a team once a week. The only rule at the lunch is that no business can be discussed. We figured that social distancing was not a good enough reason to change this tradition, so on Friday, 3/27 we had our first ever remote “Lunch Luau” via video chat. The requirement was that everyone needed to pick a restaurant that they had either never tried before or would regret not eating at again.
Restaurants have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. While many states (Minnesota included) have ordered restaurants and bars to halt dine-in service, most are still offering takeout. Wondering how you can order takeout or delivery safely? The CDC recommends throwing away any packaging, menus, etc. that come with the food and disinfecting any surfaces that those materials come into contact with. The food should then be served on your own plates and eaten using your own silverware. And, as always, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before eating. More information on eating out in a COVID world can be found here.
Below are some pictures of the Sterling Team’s lunches (as well as one of Meg attempting to eat lunch in her pasture for some reason. I guess we all need to find creative ways to have fun in this day and age!).
We wanted to take this opportunity to give you a quick overview of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Some of the key components include:
- Direct payments to American Taxpayers – Eligible individuals can expect to receive payments of $1,200 and couples can expect to receive $2,400, subject to income limitations. Additional money is available for certain dependent children. The Washington Post recently published a calculator which estimates eligibility and can be viewed here. Additionally, the Star Tribune recently posted an article which laid out how those eligible to receive the payment can ensure that they do so. Star Tribune subscribers can view that article here. If you’re not a subscriber and would like to read the article, please let us know and we would be happy to forward a copy to you.
- Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) – RMDs have been suspended for 2020. As this letter is being written, we are looking through our client accounts to see who may be impacted by this change and we will reach out to our clients individually if we see a planning opportunity as a result.
- Unemployment – Unemployment insurance has been extended and eligibility has been expanded. Additionally, eligible workers can receive up to $600/week from the Federal government above what the state programs pay for up to 4 months. To apply for benefits, you should contact your state unemployment office. Minnesota residents can apply here.
These bullets are only some of the highlights of the bill, and it has many other facets. If you’d like to learn more about the CARES Act and how it relates to the recently passed SECURE Act, please read our recent blog post on the subject.
In the spirit of being a true go-to resource to our clients, the families of our clients, and the community we all share, we thought we would provide some of our favorite non-financial resources for much needed information during this time. So here they are: a link to several local gyms with free online classes, and a toilet paper supply calculator ?.
A recent blog post in Psychology Today had an interesting perspective. The article compares the current Social Distancing phenomenon to a classic psychological experiment wherein young children were given a marshmallow and told that if they didn’t eat the marshmallow for 5 minutes, they would get a second one. For those of you who haven’t seen the videos of this experiment, you really should. They’re adorable and a great way to spend a few minutes!
The children that succeeded in the study were able to distract themselves from the temptation of the marshmallow and, in the end, their patience was rewarded. When we desperately want something (like ending Social Distancing), our brains begin to play tricks on us and it is important to be patient and ignore those tricks so that we can focus on the end goal of eliminating Coronavirus and protecting those around us.
As we all continue to muddle our way through these difficult times, please remember that Sterling is always just a phone call away. We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you or your loved ones may have, and we wish you all the best.
Be kind, be safe, and be well,
Steve, Megan, Luke, and the Sterling Team
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