“On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha/ You can listen to the engine moanin’ out his one-note song/ …But your thoughts will soon be wandering/ The way they always do/ When your ridin’ 16 hours/ And there’s nothin’ much to do/ And you don’t feel much like ridin’/ You just wish the trip was through”
Bob Seger sang the hit “Turn the Page” in 1973, a song about the emotional and social ups and downs of a rock musician’s life on the road. To many, the lyrics may represent the year 2020 when the emotional and social ups and downs of a pandemic all but consumed our lives. This, however, is a story of optimism and hope!
Having the distinct honor of writing the last Carson blog of 2020, I am taking the opportunity to put a bow on this year. After all, as wealth planners, we spend our time thinking about the future!
Human optimism never ceases to amaze me. It is an interesting phenomenon that occurs every December, as we get ready to turn the page from one year to the next. A sense of hope permeates our being, as we seek to leave all the bad things behind us and eagerly anticipate that our lives will be better when January arrives. All this happens with the change of the calendar, every 12 months, timely as clockwork. And after the year, 2020, how could we possibly be wrong?
Congress has passed another fiscal stimulus package as many of CARES Act provisions are scheduled to expire toward the end of December. Included in the latest stimulus:
- Extend supplemental unemployment benefit payments
- Extend the moratorium on evictions
- Increase funding to help small businesses
In addition, a new president will take office in January. COVID-19 vaccines, though available in December, will ship in earnest, in the first quarter of 2021.
Assuming a 70% vaccination rate, 231 million of a 330 million population may be vaccinated and considering 95% efficacy, another 11.55 million may not be protected. So yes, we should continue to wear masks, social distance and diligently wash our hands as it will take time to vaccinate the population while still protecting those who are vulnerable to coronavirus in the United States.
The rollout and acceptance of a successful vaccine combined with effective therapeutics may eventually lead to face-to-face social time instead of viewing the world through a screen. Workplaces may return to what passes for normal.
Given the potential magnitude of the ongoing problem – and the solution! – we may have an opportunity to:
- hug our grandchildren
- lessen our level of stress and worry for loved ones
- get together with family members
- not be sequestered in our homes or apartments
- be able to eat our favorite foods in our favorite restaurants
- feel comfortable going to stores for other than the essentials
- get on a plane or cruise ship
- attend church, weddings, graduations, concerts, annual meetings, sporting events
- take a stroll in the park
- have a little more bounce in our steps
The second half of 2021 may provide people with an opportunity to connect, emotionally and socially, in a manner closer to the way they did in 2019.
If you are not a music buff, my view of 2021 comes from Star Trek II, The Wrath of Kahn, when Captain James T. Kirk in eulogizing Spock says, “Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.” Here’s to the hope of a more human 2021 as we seek to turn the page.
We at Carson wish you and your loved ones a healthy and happy new year!