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Keep on Shopping: Retail sales increased for the month of June, after dipping through the late spring after they had surged earlier in the year with the distribution of stimulus. As states and local governments continue to ease Covid restrictions, the increased spending is mostly being found in restaurants and bars, clothing and accessory stores. Spending fell in areas that benefited from demand during the pandemic—furniture, sporting goods and building materials. The increased sales are another indication of a stronger economic recovery.

Back to Work: Some states are implementing early termination of emergency unemployment benefits, arguing that continuing them is impeding labor supply.  In June, 3 million individuals lost their access to these emergency benefits. We are all very curious how this impacts the labor market in the coming quarter.

Taxes on Child Credits?: As you’re likely well aware, the Biden administration passed the American Rescue Plan that includes a child tax credit for families falling in the $75k-$150k income bracket. What is worth confirming is whether you will owe taxes on the credit by next year if the money is immediately spent. Consult with your CPA as you don’t want to spend all that money in one place if it is indeed taxable.

2022 COLA: Social security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and Medicare Part B numbers look uncertain for 2022. The recent inflation surge has some experts forecasting a very hefty COLA, but final numbers are determined in the 3rd quarter. With several wild card factors, Medicare increases are particularly hard to predict. While we wait for final numbers in late fall, it’s worth remembering that the annual COLA is one valuable feature of Social Security because it aims to keep seniors even with inflation.

Reaching Goals: At Compass Ion we talk a lot about reaching goals. For one 14-year-old girl, a dream was worked towards and reached after just 2 years: Zalia Avant-garde became the 96th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee champion. While winning the title is a grand achievement, it is extraordinary because she only recently set her sights on the title. In 2019, she placed 370th in the competition. Not bad. But she worked hard. “For spelling, I usually try to do about 13,000 words (per day), and that usually takes seven hours or so,” said Zalia. “We don’t let it go too overboard, of course. I’ve got school and basketball to do.” (Which, by the way, she holds 3 basketball related Guinness World Records.) Anyone else feeling like they need to revisit their approach to goals?