Congress just passed the largest stimulus package in modern history. Before I break down the numbers, I want to share with you a story from a photographer who's embodying what we should all be doing during this time -- keep creating and being creative! I also love this story because it's bringing families closer together, while physically distancing.
I am a photographer living in a NY suburb, and as you can imagine my business came to a compete stop 2 weeks ago as I had to postpone all my photoshoots and no new inquiries were coming in. This seemed like the most stressful time in my career, and I didn’t know what will happen to my business, even after the storm passes. Will the economy tank? Will people want to invest in portrait photography? I also felt useless just sitting at home while the world was falling apart. Yes, I was busy homeschooling my kids but I also wanted to show them that we can do more as a family.
Just as I was starting to lose hope, I learned about #thefrontstepsproject. It’s a movement started by another photog in Boston, and I decided to give it a try. What I do is drive to neighbors in my town and take photos of them in front of their house from a safe distance (10 ft away). I, then, email them their images and instead of getting a payment, I ask to donate to a charity to fight COVID-19.
I posted this on my FB page and the response has been incredible. I photographed 9 families in 4 days, who generously donated to local charities in need of funding. I am now completely booked up 2 weeks in advance.
Everyone that calls me to book is super excited and grateful. They welcome the opportunity to have a reason to get dressed up and put some make up on and create memorable family portraits they will talk about for years.
I bring my kids in the car, and while I shoot, they take behind the scenes videos, which makes them feel like they are participating as well. They're learning to give back to society and that makes my heart full.
While I am not making any money off these shoots, I am making a difference while building new connections in my area. I believe that the energy you put out comes back to you. And a few people are already asking to book a "real" portrait session with me once the storm is over.
If your business is struggling right now, is there a way you can help your potential clients from a safe distance? It feels so good to give back and be a part of something positive during these difficult times. Just wanted to share this in case someone is going through a difficult time and needs ideas on how to help & contribute to society.
Isn't that incredible? If you want to learn more about Oksana Pali, she can be found at https://www.oksanapali.com. She's a portrait and branding photographer specializing in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs create stunning and unique images for their online presence. Through her photography, she helps businesses elevate their image, look more professional, friendly, approachable and stand out from the competition.
Now, let's talk U.S. stimulus package.
If you're an adult, single and make less than $75,000 right now, you can expect a check for $1200. If you make in-between $75,000 and $99,000, then the payment is reduced by five dollars for every $100 of income above $75,000. If you make over $99,000, sorry you're not getting any money.
If you're married and you make less than $150,000, then you'll get a check for $2400. If you make between $150K-$198K, then it's also reduced by five dollars for every $100 over $150K. If you and your spouse make more than $198,000, then you do not get a check.
With the same income limits above, you'll get $500 for each child.
The income limits are based on what you're making this year, 2020, but to get things going, the IRS is looking at 2019 Adjusted Gross Income. And if you haven't filed your taxes yet this year, the IRS will look at 2018.
IF YOU'RE OUT OF A JOB BECAUSE OF COVID-10...GOV'T EXPANDS UNEMPLOYMENT...
This includes a $600 per week increase in your state's unemployment amount (for example, CA's weekly amount is $450, so if you apply, you'll get $1050. If you live in NY state, the weekly amount is $504, and with the Stimulus package, you'll get $1104.)
The new benefits now includes a lot of us who weren't eligible for unemployment insurance previously, like self-employed and gig workers, contractors and anyone who may not have enough work history. The new law also provides a 13-week extension of unemployment.
NEXT...IF YOU HAVE A 401(k) OR IRA AND NEED TO TAKE THE MONEY OUT...
Normally, if you take an early withdrawal from your 401(k) or an IRA, you'll need to pay a 10% penalty. The new law waives the penalty. Annuities, trusts, and deferred comp plans also qualify. However, just know that any withdrawals are still taxable.
FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS...