Post-Pandemic Tax and Safety Reminders

Author: Elizabeth Ingram
Vice President of People Strategy
Insurance Trust 

The past few months have been a wild ride, and it isn’t over yet.  In the midst of all the stress of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter, remember that thinking ahead can still save you a little stress later on.  I won’t reiterate all the advice about saving if you can and helping others; it’s good advice if you can but not what it’s on my mind these days.

I know next April seems a lifetime away given how quickly the world changes, but it is coming and with it will be tax day.  Remember, you can change your W4s with every paycheck (although it’s much easier on your payroll staff if you don’t).  If you’ve had any change income (layoff, furlough, overtime) or deductible expenses (childcare, mortgage or student loan interest), it makes sense to check the IRS calculator (https://www.irs.gov/individuals/tax-withholding-estimator) and make sure your withholdings are still on target.  This could mean a little less in your paycheck now to keep you from having a hefty check to write in April; you could also switch up your direct deposit and put that money in special savings account so you know you have it.  But it could also result in a little needed cash in your pocket now.  So gather up your paystubs (& your spouse’s) and last year’s tax return and spend 15 minutes to make sure there isn’t a preventable financial surprise coming your way.

My second tip isn’t financial.  Eventually, most of us will be returning to the workplace and those of us with children will send them back to school.  But it’s not going to be the same.  Although we don’t know what life will look like come September, I’m going to assume that masks will still be part of the occasion.  And my soon-to-be kindergartener is NOT a fan.  I’m not interested in a daily mask battle, so now is the time to find a comfortable and practical style to have on hand for you and the family.  If your kiddo, like mine, isn’t tying shoes yet, a mask that ties isn’t practical.  Ear savers may or may not be worth the extra effort, so I have some on hand in case day 3 of school results in chaffed ears.  Fabric, shape, and pattern are also key; who knew that a pizza pattern was ‘more comfortable’ than the same style with a different pattern!  Lastly, we all lose things, but kids seem to lose more items that they’re wearing.  So, prepare for lost or sticky masks and have more spares than you think you need for you and your family.  You’ve got this!