Well—Finally 2020 is hind sight!! And hind sight is 2020! (or so they say) But 2020 has another “visual” meaning—Someone with 20/20 vision has “perfect” eye sight—clear vision. Both of these phrases can be a positive force as we move ahead into the new year—2021.

I was asked recently to participate in an interview (you can watch that here) which I initially thought would be about filing bankruptcy during the pandemic. However, as we began to talk I was asked…”What would you advise people to do with the stimulus money they may be receiving as part of the pandemic relief package?” Of course, as things would go, I gave a dissertation as my answer and what aired on television a few hours later was a brief segment of only a few seconds of what I considered to be great pearls of wisdom…(I’m only kidding about the pearls of wisdom part.) Nonetheless, I have given a great deal of thought over the years about how money is spent especially during this time of year when tax refunds are on the horizon.

I have had innumerable conversations with people during the last 29 years of practicing law about tax refunds and how this money is spent and the stimulus money is on equal ground with tax refunds in my opinion.

The first words that rolled out of my mouth during the interview about the stimulus money was to SAVE it, if at all possible. You know, it is very difficult to save money. It seems there are always pressing needs and therefore, we have become a society, for the most part, that lives paycheck to paycheck. Thus when something unexpected arises, we have nothing to fall back on. I suggested that saving is a great habit to get into and you can always start small, even if it’s $10 week that’s $520 in a year. Or if you commit to saving $100.00 per month you will have $6000.00 at the end of 5 years. (This did not make it in the editing room ) I will add that over the years we have saved loose change and even though you wouldn’t think so, when counted, it added up to be hundreds of dollars. We were shocked!

As would happen with most of us, after the interview was over, I thought of another excellent point that I wished I had brought up. I recently was speaking with a client’s family member who was helping his brother with his chapter 13 case. He said, “We are working on helping him learn the difference between want and need.”  What an excellent point! So often I have asked someone what they spent their tax refund on and it was primarily used for furniture, electronics, clothing….goods that would more often than not, fall into the category of want not necessarily need.

In 2021, my family and I are encouraging one another to really focus on changing some old habits and developing some new ones. Spending money (old habit) and saving money (new habit) is just one category we will be working on. For us, the 2020 hind sight is that we do have the ability to adapt, we’ve learned what we can do without and I would certainly say we’ve learned the difference between want and need.

That having been said…2020 did give us clarity on so many levels of the things in life that really do matter….Family, Friends, Gratitude, Kindness, and most importantly Love!

The attorneys and staff of Bond & Botes wish you the very best and every rich blessing for 2021!!

Suzanne Carlson Shinn
Written by Suzanne Carlson Shinn

Suzanne Shinn is a shareholder of several of the Bond & Botes Law Offices throughout Alabama and Mississippi. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. She joined the Bond & Botes team in 1992 as its first associate attorney and has been helping clients navigate the bankruptcy process ever since. Read her full bio here.

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