2020: The Year of “The Little Things”

As we can all attest, 2020 has been a year full of changes and challenges. It also brought us a very unique opportunity to connect with one another unlike any year we’ve ever experienced. During the early months, our stay-at-home mandate required us to change our traditional comfortable lifestyle, forgive our daily habits and press on with our lives under the new normal of quarantine. Challenged to identify different ways to occupy our newly found idle time, our collective creativity led to more than few extraordinary innovations – virtual travel, birthdays and happy hours to name a few. Friends and families began virtually sharing treasured family recipes, photos and stories. We began dusting off otherwise unused card and board games, pool tables, dart boards, bicycles, records and a multitude of other items to provide relief from our isolation. It’s often said that uncertainty leads to many of life’s greatest opportunities. While the pandemic brought strife and uncertainty, it required us to slow down and replace our prior daily habits with life’s past treasures and memories. Most importantly, it forced us to reset our lives and reflect on those things that mean the most to us.

While our office meetings became virtual meetings and phone appointments, the team at KIG found the meetings to be more personal and connecting than ever. We’ve enjoyed your stories of virtual multigenerational dinner nights, family reunions and connecting with long lost friends and family. Inspired by this and what we’ve learned over the past months, I will no longer classify 2020 as “unprecedented.” Mother nature, in her own unique way, offers us life lessons from time to time. In this instance, she had a plan to bring our lives into greater perspective and remind us what’s most important – the little things in life are free and often overlooked. I prefer to view 2020 as the year of "The Little Things" and I hope I never forget the significance of life's little moments, regardless of what the next chapter brings.

We hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter. We’ve included several timely articles covering a range of topics from year-end tax planning tips, Roth conversion considerations to important lessons learned from lockdown.


Thank you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving,

Any opinions are those of Jack W. Kennedy and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. Sector investments are companies engaged in business related to a specific sector. They are subject to fierce competition and their products and services may be subject to rapid obsolescence. There are additional risks associated with investing in an individual sector, including limited diversification.

Lessons from the Lockdown: A Back-to-Basics Holiday

If there is one thing the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders demonstrated, it was the need to find joy in simple pleasures. In fact, 43% of respondents to one survey said they had "changed their ways for the better" as a result of the lockdown.1 By applying some of the lessons learned from pandemic purgatory to the holiday season, families may be able to create new and meaningful traditions while saving money.

Travel. While confined to their homes for several months, people discovered the benefits of virtual get-togethers via video calls. The same survey cited above found that many people who used videoconferencing technology reported that they connected more with loved ones during the lockdown than before restrictions were put into place.2 This holiday season, if you can't be with your loved ones, consider scheduling a virtual gathering to open gifts or share a meal together. An added benefit of less time and money spent on travel could be lower stress overall.

Experience vs. "stuff." Of course, sharing experiences in person can be more rewarding than a video chat. Stay-at-home orders prompted many people to reflect on how much they took for granted, especially the opportunity simply to spend time with loved ones they don't see on a regular basis. As many grandparents would likely contend, time spent with family can be a much more valuable gift than the latest gadget or fashion trend. Moreover, while in lockdown, many families discovered they could actually live without many of the material goods they purchase on a regular basis. Rather than spending a lot on "stuff" this season, consider intentionally downsizing the piles of gifts exchanged and focusing more on the shared celebrations and traditions.

Food. During the lockdown, many people rediscovered the simple joy of preparing and eating home-cooked meals and baked goods. And because ingredients were often limited due to supply-chain disruptions, creativity became a valuable kitchen skill. This holiday season, instead of spending a small fortune dining out, why not put some of that pandemic culinary prowess to work? Simple meals that the whole family helps prepare can be cost-effective as well as memory-making. Wrapped up with a beautiful bow, your creations can also make thoughtful, inexpensive, edible gifts. (You might also consider supporting local businesses by having food gifts delivered or purchasing gift cards.)

1-2) OnePoll, studyfinds.org, May 23, 2020; 3) U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, June 30, 2020

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