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Making Financial Adjustments in An Unusual Holiday Season

This may not be the year to shower people with expensive presents. | Courtesy photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash

By Jean D. Koehler

As we continue to manage life under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, you might find that you need to re-think some of your holiday plans. Family gatherings, office parties, gift giving, and other aspects of the season may require a different approach to effectively manage the continuing health risks.

Balancing holiday obligations can be challenging even in a normal year, but it may become even more stressful in 2020 given the adjustments required as we try to maintain our health and a semblance of normalcy in our lives. Planning in advance can help you make solid personal and financial decisions in the months ahead. Here are some aspects to consider:

Financial adjustments

Depending on your circumstances, you might face some financial challenges at a time of year when spending tends to rise. You should determine whether you need to dial back your spending plans on gifts, parties and other facets of the holiday season to account for that. If so, be sure to set proper expectations with family members, friends or others so they are aware that you might approach things differently this year.

Gatherings of family and friends

If you are going to reduce the size of your gathering this year, it could reduce the budget required for food and beverages. Even your decorating expenses might be lower if you think that not many people will be walking through your door during the season.

Office parties

With so many people working remotely and extra efforts being made to limit personal contact, office holiday parties are likely to be limited. If you are an employer or the person responsible for a celebratory event, you may decide to scrap the party idea. An alternative is to put some of that money toward a thank you gift for each employee. This could be in the form of a specific item, a gift card, or a cash bonus.

Gift giving

If you face financial pressure due to today’s economic uncertainty, be upfront about that with family members or friends who typically may expect something from you. This may not be the year to shower people with expensive presents, but instead put more emphasis on the meaning and thought behind any gifts you provide. Even gifts that require little or no financial outlay can be very special.

Charitable support

This also may be a prime time to step up your charitable giving, particularly if you’ve cut back holiday spending in other areas. This has been a difficult year for many charitable organizations. A number have faced increased demands for their services while also seeing donations drop due to the weakened economy. Your generosity could be a truly beneficial gift for organizations you like to support.

Jean D. Koehler, CLTC CRPC CKA RICP is a Financial Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc in Arcadia, CA. She specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 20 years. To contact her, ameripriseadvisors.com/jean.d.koehler.

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