In 2020, Money CAN Buy You Happiness!
Updated: Sep 21
I. Where is the money?
By now, like most Americans, you’re waiting on the second round of stimulus checks- me too! Most of us expected the second round of checks to come in the month of August, but unfortunately, Democrats and Republicans have failed to come to a consensus- not surprising. From different articles I’ve had the pleasure of reading, it seems that the base amount of $1,200 has been agreed upon for adults and $2,400 for married couples, but the amount for dependents is still being thrown around. According to FoxBusiness.com “ President Trump called on Congress to approve a fresh round of $1,200 stimulus checks for American families by reallocating $300 billion in unused coronavirus relief funds.” Supposedly Trump was going to make an executive decision to make this happen, but he could not due to needing approval from Congress. So, once again many Americans are being left in limbo waiting on the people in power to make a decision. Until a decision is made, I suppose now would be a good time to consider how you plan to spend it. Well before we discuss how to allocate the funds from the second check, let’s go back and think about what we did with the first one.
II. Bills & Debt - How should I have spent my first stimulus check?
If I remember correctly the first round of stimulus checks went out in mid-April right around the time business and schools were closing down due to the increase in Coronavirus victims and deaths. Losing a job or having to call off work due to having to watch our children ( i.e. schools closed) caused a lot of people to lose their financial stability. So for many Americans just like myself, we used the first round of checks to catch up on bills or pay some bills ahead for the uncertainty of what the future would bring. Now generally most people would probably say that’s what you were supposed to do with that money- take care of your financial business. On the other hand, I wonder what people did who were not in financial straits. I wonder if they used their money for trips, events, or outings with friends, family, or loved ones - creating memories. Considering that unemployment was granted shortly thereafter for most people who lost employment because of the pandemic, then it would be safe to assume that some of us who chose to be responsible with the initial stimulus check could have instead chosen to use that money to make memories.
Additionally, what about the low-income residents across the United States, what is your opinion on what they should do with the unexpected lump sum of money? For some people, unfortunately living in dire straits is a regular occurrence. The lump sum of money that the first stimulus check provided for the lower-income may not have been best utilized for bills. That first stimulus check could have been the largest amount of money they had ever had at one time. Now, what would you do in that scenario? If, no matter what you paid, you still would be behind- would you rather pay that bill or pay for a lifelong memory as we see on social media as portrayed by the “financially stable”. Even if you are not considered low-income and you decided to use the first check to catch up on bills - I bet secretly you had something else you would have rather spent that money on, right?
III. Spend, Save, Stress & Repeat
Heartsill Wilson once stated “What I do today is very important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving something in its place I have traded for it. I want it to be a gain, not a loss - good, not evil. Success, not failure, in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it.” As humans every day we are faced with the choice to decide between what we need to do and what we want to do. Society has a way of convicting financially irresponsible or unstable people because of personal preferences, experiences, or opinions. However, society fails to realize that even though it condemns people for their financial spending, its ultimately no one else’s decisions, but yours. I read many articles about investing in stock, putting the funds in a high yield savings, or making an emergency account. Honestly, with the state of the economy right now and the stress, this pandemic has put on people across the world it may actually prove to be more beneficial to use that money for something that will bring you joy. According to The American Institute of Stress “Stress is a leading cause of premature deaths”. Quite frankly, of all the possible things you can die from I’m pretty sure stress is not the way any of us want to go out. Not to mention the very old phrase I’ve heard many older and wiser individuals tell me “ you can’t take the money with you when you die anyway”, thus making me wonder why we put so much effort in becoming rich and filling bank accounts with huge wads of cash - somewhat pointless honestly (minus college education and things like that). So, with that, I honestly ask you, how many of the average American people are/were actually in a position financially (pre-COVID/post-COVID) to help ensure a better future for them or their loved ones? Moreso, what big of a difference honestly would $1,200 make in the pursuit of ensuring the financial stability of you or your loved ones?
Quite frankly- not much. After careful deliberation with myself and the people in my head (just joking), I’ve decided that the next stimulus check should predominantly bring my family and me some joy. I’ll even be honest and add that a portion may go to bills as that is just in my character, but I did promise myself that after all the stress and anxiety that 2020 has already brought the nation, we deserve to create a memory worth having out of it - one that brings joy not stress. Besides, according to Corporate Finance Institute “A stimulus check is a check sent to taxpaying consumers by a government. Stimulus checks are given to boost the economy by providing consumers with funds to spend. Consumer spending is an essential component of a healthy economy and, in times of economic uncertainty, it usually decreases. Therefore, the government will provide stimulus checks to keep the consumer outlook strong and encourage spending.” If that didn’t convince you to spend the money, even though it is provided for that purpose, just remember what Marie Antoniette was accused of stating to the “peasants”- “Let them eat cake”
IV. It’s my money. I can spend it if I want too.
Thank you for bearing with me through the not so entertaining part of this blog. Now that’s over - Time For Some Fun! Remember earlier I said now would be a good time to plan how we want to spend that second stimulus check (we have finally arrived)- boy oh boy do I have some awesome ideas for you. By the way, I’m sure you may already have plans for the money; moreover, I really hope that whatever you have planned is something that brings you or someone you love great joy and minimal stress. On the other hand, if you’re like me, still pondering in your brain about what to do with the next check - then the rest of this blog is about to be your best friend. We are going to go over some sure-fire ways to
create timeless memories and “stimulate” the economy with the second round of stimulus
checks. 2020 better watch out because “HERE WE COME!”
V. Adventure Time
“We’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz”- Just seemed to be an appropriate quote to start our journey to something fun. By now, you’re wondering what is she going to tell me to do with my money right? Good question. I’m telling you to spend it. Remember though, we’re spending it on something that brings us joy.
Now I know that with travel restrictions and everything else that 2020 has brought us it seems pointless for me to suggest a vacation, but I am a firm believer that anything can be accomplished with moderation. I’m not saying go to a heavily populated area, with no mask and party like its 1965, but I bet there are some places you could visit that would provide a lower health risk with equal fun. There are museums and places open across the United States right now, yes they are currently operating at a lower occupancy, but they are still open and operating for business. I was thinking the other day that I wanted to go on vacation- somewhere you can take a two-year-old and I instantly thought of the Chattanooga Aquarium that my grandparents took me to as a child.
They have the biggest turtle I have ever seen- at least in person. The atmosphere is so much fun with children running around, exhibits, and animals everywhere, and smiling faces eager to absorb all the information and sites around. They even have they’re very own Imax theatre. If I remember correctly and I’m pretty sure I do when I went they had a Spongebob Exhibit and it was in 4D. You could feel the water and everything. It was like I was actually in Bikini Bottom- for all the people who don’t know, that’s where Spongebob lived in the tv show. The experience was unforgettable. I live in Memphis and Chattanooga is actually not that far of a drive from home. Not only would the trip be a vacation but riding there in the car with my family would definitely help create great memories. Also, I’m sure my two year old would love to see the animals in real life. It would be an inexpensive trip but would bring all of us joy. If you have any nearby cities or towns with attractions, places, and/or even restaurants you’ve always wanted to visit, now would be a great time. Use that stimulus check to expand your horizons while driving across the horizon.
VII. Something Daring & Adventurous
There is just something about an adrenaline rush that just wakes up your soul. At this point in 2020, we all might need a soul wake-er-upper, lol. So in this section not only are stimulating the economy, but literally stimulating our minds and body as well. I’ve always wanted to cliff dive and/or jump from an airplane. Seemingly, one is more dangerous than the other, but I’m pretty sure either experience would be invigorating. If you think about it, either one of those options do not require you to be around a large group of people and helps keep you at low risk for contracting the coronavirus. Imagine the view from a cliff or as you spiral in the wind coming out of an airplane. I bet the experience creates a new outlook on life. Just the idea of seemingly being able to fly if only for a moment is probably one of the closest options we’ll ever have to being superheroes- well having superpowers anyway. I’m not sure of all the places you can go to do this or if it's only offered in specific areas, but I can tell you from what I've read and stories that I have been told. According to the Wisconsin Sky Diving Center, there are five top benefits to sky diving: YOU’LL IMPROVE YOUR IMPULSIVE REACTION TO STRESS
SKYDIVING MEASURABLY, LASTINGLY IMPROVES YOUR MOOD
SKYDIVING TUNES YOUR SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
SKYDIVING ENCOURAGES BETTER COMMUNICATION
YOU’LL SLEEP BETTER
VIII. In Closing
Like Dory said, “ Just Keep Swimming”- and that is exactly what I plan to do