Based on the history of events over the course of the last few decades (both here in Des Moines and beyond), you might have thought that world events would have slowed down in the last week — that there could begin to be some sense of normality.
But no. This isn’t a normal time in our nation. It’s not a normal time in Des Moines.
This might strike you as a very good thing — after all, there are important conversations being had in corners where they perhaps haven’t ever occurred. It’s hard to disagree with that. Here at Ann M. Hartz, CPA and Associates, we have been having very fruitful conversations as well with our Des Moines tax preparation and tax planning clients.
But this is, after all, an election year … and if you are paying attention to the media and your newsfeeds, you might feel a rising sense of anxiety and chaos.
In fact, a recent NBC/WSJ poll indicates that a whopping EIGHTY percent of the nation feels like the country is spiraling out of control.
This — despite a rise in good news surrounding COVID infections, a surge in the recent jobs report (to which the stock market continues to respond favorably), a calming of some of the violence in our cities, and a variety of other positive signals.
Well, I have a theory about this which might not surprise you.
Before I get there, a tax-related reminder for our Ann M. Hartz, CPA and Associates clients: estimated tax payments are not due until July 15th. BUT, there are two payments due at that time (for both the first and second quarter taxes).
If this affects you, and you are wondering what your 2020 tax situation might look like (it could be radically different, after all!), let’s talk: (515) 259-7779 or shoot me an email.
Also: don’t forget that tax returns are due July 15th. This might feel like a very distant deadline … but it is just over one month away (!).
That means that if you have been delaying the gathering of your tax paperwork, then you might need to get on your horse. Let us know how we can help.
But now let’s talk about your state of mind, and how you might be allowing yourself to be affected…
Financial Mindset Management for Our Des Moines Tax Clients
“When the storm has passed, put your energy into rebuilding your life, don’t waste time looking back.” -Leon Brown
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal put it well: our primal instincts drive us towards obsession with stressful news and the social media sites that put it in front of us.
Twitter has had a whopping 24% increase in usage in the first quarter, compared to last year.
Facebook and Instagram feeds previously filled with cute/funny videos and pictures are raging with debate, conspiracies, arguments, shaming, and rancor. And we fill our minds with it. Police brutality videos alternate with rioter violence … and we can’t look away.
And we wonder why so many of us feel like our society is spiralling out of control. Even (especially?) here in Des Moines.
It’s no wonder that this is the case. Our brains are wired to be on the lookout for threats, and have been since the days of hunting and gathering. We are quite literally predisposed to pay more attention to negative than to positive things.
And app/software/website designers know ALL about this, and have architected their systems to keep all of us hooked on the “rush” of negativity. Just one simple example is the “infinite scrolling” features of social media feeds — they go on, and on, and on … and we just can’t quit them because we unconsciously feel like we might be missing out on something we need to know about.
So what should we do about this?
My recommendation: build yourself SOME system of controlled media and technology intake. Emphasis on the word “system”.
Recognize that your proclivities towards absorption will conquer even the best intentions, and set an actual structure for yourself.
Whether that means putting your phone “to sleep” in a different place than your bedroom, batch processing the news or social media feeds within prescribed time limits, or even logging off of all social media for various periods of time — the point is, TAKE CONTROL.
Don’t allow the cycle of negativity to control your mind.
Oh and one more thing: get peace of mind by getting someone experienced and excellent to take the difficult things off your plate.
Oh, like your taxes — just to use an example.
For this, and for all of your financial needs … we’re in your corner.
“CRISIS Action Plan” for my Des Moines tax clients:
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.