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FinPath May Workshop – Managing Your Household Finances After a Cash Flow Reduction

Recorded on April 10, 2022

Hello everyone. Thank you, Darryl, for giving me the opportunity to share my story about cash flow loss. But this pandemic took all of us by surprise in March was a life-changing event for me than normal. It just did not I did not see it that way at the time until family and friends or being furlough laid off terminated from their jobs due to covid little did. I know June came around in my organization would have a staff restructuring. I’m laid off for the first time a year from my starting date at this job. I now had to start filing for unemployment. Also something new to me asked around watching the news to see the latest events and how the process worked. but at the time thousands of people were applying I felt lucky that my call came through the same day. I called. Right away. I started adjusting some of my my bills to lower my expenses like my life Bill set my set my plan to even out throughout the year cancel my home warranty that cost me dollars a year. I had enough savings to last me about six months as I always put away money aside from every paycheck it came handy at as my unemployment did not start until weeks later. As you all know bills do not wait. Right after the shutdown. I had followed my taxes from a free for free at my nearby community tax Center. I have been doing them for their for some years now because I I once volunteered as an intake specialist and I Transit that’s when I transition from corporate to non-profit. End of still no job five months in and I started to intensify my job search and revise my career goals. I loved what I did as a financial coach that going back to accounting was my last resort. is here. I received several calls and I had some interviews but still wouldn’t hear any of these until almost six months after the interview. Even when I had send follow-up emails. I felt some security with that extra from unemployment in my savings were still holding me up with no worries. Thanks to my spending sacrifices today. I had a peace of mind. This gave me the opportunity to be selective to find the right job because I had saved along the way and I didn’t have to pick the First on underpaying job because I had no other choice.

In February, a friend referred me to a part-time tutoring job at a Lone Star College here where she where she works. I took the opportunity and started early February. Well, no one expected that Texas free state lockdown putting me in another setback. No extra income as classes were called canceled for a couple weeks. At the end of March I received two promising offers at once. They were both great opportunities, but that but one had the same objective objectives as I did to help people living paycheck to Patient Financial stability. Well here I am now I selected TCG Services because today I tell my story and I hope that we can help you prepare for the next on presidential situation life throws at you. Today we talk a lot about a mental health. I can share that’s reaching out to the closest friends and family members to hear me out when I doubt it myself help me very much. I would find Motivation by watching Tech talk seminars. I started doing meditation and exercise videos. I would find on YouTube to keep me in a positive mindset. Had time to write my accomplishments and goals which made me look back at what I had done right to get me where I was today, despite the unexpected events. Lastly volunteering is a great opportunity to give back give back when in transition. While you looking for a job. Thank you all and I hope I’ll now passes over to Aaron to share his story.

Thank you Jeanette, you know, I know that this can be an emotional topic and it’s tough to share our stories but really are Our Hope in doing this is to just really illustrate how things can go sideways really quickly. And what we’re really hoping to to illustrate through these two different case studies. is to really focus in on how Jeanette had set some money aside and saved and how that gave her some options in regard to her job search and living situation and how that contrasts with my own story. So for me in my experience, it started in February of . It was right in the middle of the full swing of the Great Recession and you know, everybody was a little rattled during that time but in all honesty, I just wasn’t I had at that point been five years in with a really large pharmaceutical company and quite honestly, my my career was going very very well in that so I just feel very insulated from from anything affecting me and and so I didn’t operate under the mindset that something could happen. Early in though. We got pretty much one week advance notice to stay home and expect a phone call from our direct supervisor that was going to kind of inform us regarding the future direction of our company. So that phone call came about a week later, February th and we were informed basically that our company was bought out and only things that we’re gonna remain and not be dissolved. We’re obviously our product pipe line in also our R&D department. So that really left % of the company on the street immediately. and so so there was right right in in the full swing of the Great Recession and you know, I immediately reached into my network and started contacting people that I knew within the industry thinking that it would just be kind of as it always is they’re always had been anyway and that in that industry that you could find something else very easily. Once you were pretty established in that in that business and that’s just wasn’t the case anymore at best the companies out there weren’t hiring and a lot of companies were actually in the same predicament as us. So my personal financials at the time were just completely unprepared my resources. I was lucky enough to have a severance package, but that is for a finite amount of time. You know, those don’t last forever. I had whatever I had in my checking account and then you know, I even then I knew that k is a last resort, but I I at least did have that and then I always felt like I had kind of an extra pot of money if I ever needed it because I received restricted stock options as a signing bonus when I was first offered that job Problem with that is that I didn’t understand how restricted options work and the most simple way to explain it is that they’re only you can only cash those in if they’re trading at or above the value price that those options at the time you receive them.

So I had received my options when our stock was trading somewhere around to dollars a share and in advance of the read of the buyout they had let our stock price drop to about dollars per share. So those options I had were worthless. um, so it wasn’t a resource like I thought it would be I did have my home mortgage still. I still had to pay my car note and insurance on my wife’s car. I needed to keep my family insured. So we we switched over to COBRA. And if any of you have been in the situation where you’ve lost your benefits, you know that Cobra health insurance is is quite a bit more expensive than the healthy Insurance. You’re gonna get through your employer and then I had some just other miscellaneous debt. Luckily a low balance on credit cards, but there were definitely some things that we were making payments on. A couple of additional factors that really just affected my mindset through this and how I approached it. I did have a company car for those previous five years. And so obviously I had to give that back so not an easiest thing to be down to one car and you know at the same time definitely wasn’t a good time to to buy something else job market was was very Bleak like we talked about and and we had two young children. My my son was three months old. My daughter was just almost two and my wife had been lucky enough to to be able to decide to stay home with our children, but that did mean no additional household income for us to rely on during this unexpected loss of income. So in response all this the impact it had on us is ultimately we made the decision to sell our home and moved to Dallas. And like I said, you know because Jeanette had set some money aside to save for kind of That Rainy Day scenario, and I hadn’t I really had to accept the first job offer. I got which for me, you know, really just meant that I was taking something it at a third of what I was making before and and it really did reach a point where you know, I had to make decisions on those the The bills that I could could pay and had to pay and those that were just going to have to not be dealt with at the time things like DirecTV and things like that.

So so my credit score was damaged through all of this after having a credit score above and obviously this puts a lot of stress on on a family. So we definitely had to navigate that too. Some of the things that I did in recovering I did make the decision not to buy a car at the time felt like that would be the wrong move instead. I saved money slowly over time and it did take some time but I did have some resources to get around my the job I found was downtown. So I was able to take the train every day. We reduced our housing costs by moving into a smaller apartment versus buying another house and having a mortgage so that helped our cost of living expenses. And then like Jeanette. I did collect unemployment benefits during the time that I was looking for something else. And and I also did volunteer at a local food bank. And yeah, I would agree with Jeanette that that’s that’s a good thing to do just from a mental health standpoint to stay busy and do something and feel like you’re adding some value somewhere but in reality it also helped us because I took advantage of that same service. As a way of reducing our household expenses and having some food provided through that ultimately for a short amount of time. I did need to tap into my k and there were definitely some tax and implications with that. And then I took advantage of Texas Workforce Commission and they’ve got a lot of really great resources to kind of help you retool and retrain to make a change in careers. And obviously that’s what I did and that’s why I’m sitting here talking to you about finances and not medicine. I also guys and help on my resume and received a lot of notices for employment opportunities that came through that office. So that’s my story, you know, our again our purpose in sharing this is just to illustrate some of the things that we went through personally and how we reacted to that and I’m gonna hand it over to Daryl and Daryl’s really going to kind of walk you through some of the steps that you can take you say. Well, what do you what do I do in response all this and that’s what Daryl’s going to take us through now.

Thank you so much Aaron, you know. It’s it’s really tough when when cash flow loss happens, you know, there’s really two two types and kind of as you saw on the two explanations there of those case studies, you know, it’s either unexpected or expected and in both of those cases, they were unexpected but one of them kind of had a better outcome than the other. I mean the outcome was good. But you know with the the I guess the path or the the way to get there was maybe could have been less difficult. So when you have an unexpected cash flow loss, you know, that’s usually because you’re downsized you’re terminated or you’re laid off or even furloughed like we had here during covid, you know, when you have an expected cash flow loss, you know you this is something that you’re planning for you you’ve maybe you’re planning on retiring. Maybe you’re planning on leaving your job, maybe to stay home with a new newborn or maybe you’re relocating to another state and you there may be some time that you’re not going to be working in the new state. So there’s different types. Happening, but whether it’s expected or unexpected the type of cash flow loss really dictates the urgency of your future actions. So when an unexpected cash flow loss happens. You know. You were going to need to identify your new cash flow, you know, and how do you do that while the first thing that you’re going to do is you’re going to create a budget you’re gonna attend and your budget is your budget is what is going to help you create or identify your new cat flow. And what is cash flow. It’s your income that you’re bringing in minus the expenses that are going out. So once you figure out what those are It’s Gonna Leave You with one of three scenarios, you’re either gonna have positive cash flow after this incident happens, which means you have less there, you know, there’s less work to be done in the short term positive cash flow, you know, because your income is still outpacing your expenses. You’re you’re most likely and very good shape. You’re gonna be okay. There’s not a lot of adjustment that you’re gonna have to do. Now. If you have a balanced cash flow after you do your budget. This is kind of like Treading Water, you know trading Waters no way to live and and basically what I mean by treading Waters, you’re you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you know at some point in time. Paycheck to paycheck living you’re going to want to get off that hamster will you know of just existing that way you’re going to want to try to improve at some point in time so you can do it for a little while, but it’s it’s very difficult. And then the third scenario is you’re at negative cash flow and what that means is your income is less than the expenses that are going out and it means you’re in negative deficit, you know. You need to enact the following steps immediately if you’re negative cash flow. So when these unexpected cash flow loss happens, you have to address your expenses. You need to figure out you know, what our expenses and what our Necessities you saw from the examples previously from the case studies that they did a few things but you know, one of the things you really have to identify are what are my needs? What are my basic needs? Everybody needs a place to live. Everybody needs to eat. Everybody needs to be able to get to work. They still have a job or to even to go look for a job you need communication and you’re gonna need some health care. So those are kind of the basic necessities. Those are the things that you still want to be paying for. Those are your expenses that you’re still going to have you have to separate those from the wants of the world and you know, unfortunately the wants are the things that you know, that kind of make life a little fun, you know luxury housing going out to eat at a nice place a nice restaurant, you know, getting that new car that you’ve always been wanting, you know, the latest iPhone, you know, that’s something that’s kind of a want not necessarily in me, you know. a flip an old school flip phone probably could do the trick if you really needed it to You know, your lifestyle changes really really need to be evaluated immediately when this when this kind of situation happens. I think I’m about one slide too many. Yes, we did.

Okay, so when unexpected cash flow loss happens, you know, the first thing that you need to really need to do is reduce all unnecessary discretionary expenses, you know, what our discretionary expenses, you know, they are they are the wants they are the things that are not Necessities, you know, all discretionary expenses should be on the chopping block. So these kind of things include but are not limited to gym memberships subscription such as Netflix Disney satellite TV, eating out clothes shopping movies and entertainment those daily stops at the convenience store to pick up your gum or your cigarettes or your things any of the things that you pick up and then the one thing that a lot of people can identify with is that five dollar cup of coffee at Starbucks, you know, if you’re doing that a couple times three four five times a week that can get really costly if you cut that out you can save a lot of money. So it’s a good way to hold back funds to try to create some cash flow. so creating cash flow How do you do it? You got a stockpile cash you really do you have to stop spending money. I know it doesn’t sound fun. And it it really does. It really doesn’t but you you have to do things like like saving money stop spending money. You have to save your stimulus checks. If you get one you have to save your tax returns. If you get one another good way to create cash flow. It’s a sell excess excess things excess stuff, you know, all that stuff that you have in the Attic the garage unused items. and such I’m just gonna take a pause just for a second just to make sure that is everybody hearing me. Okay, because I’m getting pinged. Aaron are you hearing me? Okay. Yes, a couple people are raising their hands. Okay, we’re gonna hold all questions until the end. So if you if you can do that, that’ll be okay. I just wanted to make sure I was just talking and nobody could hear me. Let’s continue forgive me for that.

So sell all that excessed up, you know stuff that’s in the Attic all the unused items in your home items of value. Um, you know, in in some cases people can refinance their homes when this happens you get a better rate and you get a lower payment and that’ll help you create cash flow and then also reduce debt, you know, this is really hard to do when you lose a job. But if you’re on the verge of paying some something off like a credit card or a student loan or an automobile alone continue to make those payments. So when you are done making those payments you now have that casual that you are using to make those payments that’s available for you to support the emergency that you are now in You know one of the things that’s really important or that it’s really that set out there. You know, if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you know winners coming. Well, you know, this is winter is not only coming it’s here. So are you prepared for it? And you know, a lot of people are not Um when unexpected cash flow loss happens. You want to evaluate your career options, you know update your resume be prepared for any opportunity that may arise, you know, it’s a good time to at work whichever spouse is still working or if you’re still working, you know to this maybe that aha moment that you need to grow at your current job to get that promotion. If they don’t value your that you’re worth. This may be your impetus to make a career change because you’re not getting paid what you’re worth. It’s maybe your time also, you might want to evaluate your educational and job training opportunities and programs that are out there seeks seek out to see if they can change your career trajectory and then a lot of people during this time can do things like get a second job or do a side hustle. Everybody knows all about the ride sharing that’s out there these days and there’s also internet based businesses that a lot of people do. um We’re not expected cash flow loss happens. You need to take a financial inventory. You need to look at your savings. How much do you have and how long will it last? Emergency funds. Do you have one? Have you been putting away for one? Well, guess what? This qualifies for an emergency winter is here Investments. If you’ve gone through your savings and your emergency funds this would be your next resource to tap into. Um, you know retirement savings, this is your last resort. There are many tax Implement implementation implications. Excuse me.

As Aaron was saying when he tapped into his and your future livelihood is at stake here, so if you have to tap into your k, you know that may prolong the amount of years that you have to work because you are now taking from your future earnings. So it’s really important to try to think about using that as a really a last resort. So unexpected cash flow losses are unplanned but expected cash flow losses can provide relief from the stress and anxiety of you know these life-changing situations. I want you to all pay close attention to the tone and the choices you can create for yourself. And when you see the difference between the unexpected if you just talked about and we’re going to now talk about the expected cash flows. You know. When you have an expected cash flow loss you’re prepared for it. You knew it was coming. You’ve reviewed your budget you confirm your new budget. You don’t have to make one up you already been preparing for it. Again. You have the three types of cash flows that you create when you when you review your budget if you’re in positive cash flow situation because your income is still outpacing your expenses. Then there’s not a whole lot you need to do you’re okay if you’re in Balance casual situation, My last example was trading water while Treading Water by choice for periods short periods of time are acceptable to meet and achieve specific financial and savings goals. So you might do it for a summer or you might do it for you know, maybe a year, but you want don’t want to live that way forever. Again. It’s really tough to do.

If at this point and you haven’t expected cash flow loss and you’re still in a negative cash flow situation, you need to stop and reevaluate you’re not ready to to do this because you need to get yourself into that balanced or positive cash flow scenario. You need to take some more time put aside more money because you’re just not ready to meet these obligations that you’re gonna have in the future with a lack or a loss of cash flow. So when it expected cash flow loss happens you confirm your expenses. Yeah, you have the ability to add in some of the wants. You know, you already have your needs because you plan for that, but maybe you now can go out to eat at some of the better places. Maybe you can get that iPhone now because you plan for it. So these are things that come with, you know, planning you get some choices you get to add some of the better things or fun or things in life that you have available to you. When unexpected cash flow loss happens you get to choose which expenses are unnecessary. You’re not having to go cold turkey. You’re not having to cut out all your gym memberships. Maybe you want to go work out again instead of getting rid of all your subscriptions. Maybe you say, okay. It’s time to get Netflix added in there again or Amazon Prime. Maybe you start to eat out. Maybe once a week worse. Were you see it out three to five times a week? These are all choices you can make when you plan for things. You don’t need to go cold turkey, and then you may even be able to get to Starbucks and get that five buck cup of coffee, you know a couple times during the week whereas you weren’t able to do that before. You know what Unix when an expected cash flow loss happens you don’t need to establish your cash flow. You need to confirm your cash flow. You know, you already stockpiled cash. You stop spending money you saved your stimulus you saved your tax return you sold all that stuff in the Attic in the garage all those items of value you refinance your home. You got a lower rate and you reduce your debt and you were able to pay off, you know, all the things that you needed to do, you know Winters here, but the difference is that you’re prepared you’re ready. And again, you know what you want to evaluate your career options. You’ve already updated your resume because you knew this was coming. You were ready. You’re prepared for any opportunity that arise that arises you sought out the promotion at work. It was your aha moment. You took advantage of that situation you got that promotion, or if you didn’t and they didn’t value you use that as an impetus to make your career change, you you sought out education and job training programs, you know, you’re able to review those and put those to your advantage and because you knew winter was coming. You took that second job you did that side hustle. You did the right sharing you did the internet based business at home. You boosted your cash flow because you knew you were going to need to prepare for it. um taking the financial inventory, you know. Your savings, you know how much you have and you know how long it’s gonna last for because you plan for this your emergency fund your emergency fund is already in place. You don’t have to question where you have one, you know, it’s there because you plan for this. This will be the place for your future emergencies when an actual additional unexpected cash flow a situation happens, you know. Your Investments they continue to grow because you didn’t have to dip into them. So that’s a great thing. You don’t have you don’t have to access them until you’re ready to access them. And then your retirement savings instead of it being your last resort. It ends up being your Resort, you’re good discipline afford you to live, you know a good and comfortable life in retirement. You did a good job, you know, as you can see putting the work in gives you more options and less stress when winter does arrive, you know, it’s just so important to know that you have the options when you put in the work. Things just come a lot easier, you know at this point, I’m gonna go ahead and pass this back to Aaron. He’s going to talk to you a little bit about who these kinds of things affect.

Thank you, Darryl. So, you know when we take a look at who can be affected by an unexpected loss in income or cash flow really the simple answer is everybody, you know, whether you’re in the private sector or public or nonprofit, you know, whether you’ve got a single income or dual income household, you know, whether you’re a high wage or low wage employee or new or tenured, you know, the truth is. And we really never know the set of circumstances that they can lead to a really unexpected loss. So instead of kind of focusing on you know, whether or not this can ever affect us. I think the better question to start asking is how do we how do we start shifting over to that? You know that expected side and you know, because the truth is it’s that it can also be everybody but it’s just more on common because it’s it takes a lot of planning and a lot of sacrifice and effort to get to that side. So definitely, you know, I want to thank Darrell for going over those steps because it’s all about like Darrell says stockpiling that cash and building up savings so that you can move yourself over to that expected side and just the emphasis on this being something that that you plan for. Um, so With Daryl’s guidelines there of how to really move that direction. I want to kick it over really quickly to Jeanette and she’s going to talk a little bit more specifically about some of the resources that you have available to you as well. Thank you, Aaron. So where to go for help? Here are some great resources. I found feeding america.org can find you a local food bank by using yours. Your ZIP code United Way of Texas has their own health line number An assist with can assist you with anything at any time. Then you can get connected with your they can get you connected with your closest nonprofit, which they have funding for rental assistance to counseling and signing up for government assistance programs like snapping Medicaid. Employment resources for for job searching you can set alerts in your indeed.com or glassdoor.com. Check your local job Banks United Way has their own and updates their listings every day. as Aaron mentioned the world Workforce Solution office assist with us with resume writing and job skill trainings Also, you can find multiple jobs listings will Statewide and work in Texas Comm. And lastly Network within your alumni friends use your LinkedIn and Facebook friends to get connected to to you and a good lead. So, how did I save up, years including my stimulus money. I visited my local Free Tax Center and they offer a match Savings Program. Where they were you set aside up to $, for your tax from your tax return in the savings account and you’re on a % interest at the end of the year. It’s gonna be the easiest $ you will ever make well, I hope all these resources help you in the time of need like they helped me and others. Thank you for attending today now. I’ll turn it back to Daryl to wrap up. Today’s webinar. Hey Darrell, I think we have you.

Thank you Aaron. Sorry I did a boo-boo there. Let me start that over again, as you can see live comes at you in many ways, whether it’s expected or unexpected know that you have the resources at hand you can plan and be prepared. But if something should happen know that there are resources available for live sun expected turns as you can see, we’ve got your three coaches here all their coaching information. And again, we’re gonna put this link out or this presentation out to everybody who signed up so you’ll have all of this information. So don’t worry if you’re not able to get it in this in this period of time here that we’re having I wanted to you know, I wanted to let you know that this presentation was brought to you by Finn path, you know, if you haven’t signed up and or had the opportunity to sign up for your free Finpath benefit, you know here the here’s the links that are provided for you one thing that’s great about Finpath is it’s a platform. It has a load of Educational Tools and resources at your fingertips. You can attend Finn path university courses. You can get your own Wellness score. It has a wellness score tracker on there which tells you where you’re being successful in your finances and where you maybe need some improvement. It’s got calculators and online tools and then of course you can sign up for one-on-one coaching sessions with one of us that you’ve seen here giving you this presentation. As you saw earlier while you’re waiting to join the webinar. We have a Facebook group. It is called money megaphone. It’s a financial question and talk site where you can ask individual questions. It’s Man by Folks at TCG. So you’ll be able to get some honest to goodness answers to some of the questions you have and other people who have knowledge on on this particular topics that you’re asking so it’s a really good resource to have So for all you lawyers out there, I could read this word by word, but I I’m not going to since we’re going to send you this presentation in full. So let’s go ahead and go back to the next thing again. Here’s our coaches and we’re gonna open this up for Q&A.

So if you have any questions, go ahead and hit your Q&A right now, I don’t see any submitted at this point, but we will go ahead and stick around for a few minutes while people have a opportunity to answer questions. So please submit your questions if you have any or anything or any comments that you have and we’d be happy to respond to them. I did have somebody that said something in the chat. It was like it said I I’m from Austin ISD and the webinar link was not available for me to sign up. I got this link from my colleague somehow she had the invite what do I need to do to get credit for attending this if the person who sent that question if you’re still on just go ahead and email me email me with that same question and I will forward it to the correct person at Austin ISD to make sure that you get credit for this webinar. I’m not sure exactly who that is, but I will find out and get that information to you on that. Any other questions or comments at this time again? I’ll leave it on for another couple minutes here. for anybody to ask Okay, looks like okay looks like they’re starting to come in. Okay, so we have a question. Some people are reluctant to accept unemployment payments because they think it is a handout. It is not it is insurance and we all are paying for it for the insurance. Every time we get paid for our work. No one should feel bad about Talking or taking the benefit. I kind of want to turn that back over to maybe Aaron or Jeanette Aaron. Would you like to just kind of tell him how you felt about when you were taking that benefit and kind of your perception on that? Yeah Lawrence. I appreciate that comment. And I definitely would Echo what your thoughts are on that. A lot of people don’t understand how how unemployment works, but you’re a hundred percent, right? It’s unemployment insurance. And it actually if you look at the line item deductions on your pay stubs unemployment on there. So we’re paying into this and the benefit that you get from that is directly correlated to how much and how long you’re paying into that system. so so now I agree with you and like like a lot of things it can be it can be abused and you know, but I think I think for most folks people are trying to work and want to go back to to work and they’re looking for jobs. And this is kind of that safety net that we’ve paid into so now that’s it’s definitely not a handout. It’s something that you’ve got to be paying into to even qualify for that benefit. So no, I definitely appreciate the comment and I agree with you.

Thank you Aaron. Hey, we have we have another question slash statement on refinancing. What should we ask for or are things that we should look for? For example if I have an FHA loan? I know I’m making PMI. So is that something I want to get rid of what other things should we be looking for I think is what they’re wanting to say. So unrefinancing. There’s a couple things that you should look for. I mean in in general, if you’re refinancing you want to at least lower your interest rate by about one and a half percent for it to make a difference and also depend there’s a lot of factors that it depends on how long you plan to stay in that in that home. If you’re gonna move within five years seven years. It’s probably not going to make sense for you to refinance because you cannot recoup the Savings in that short amount of time. So there’s a lot of things but this is something that as coaches we would talk to you individually about so, you know, for those who are have questions like that that’s a you can hit up one of your financial coaches with a with a session and we’ll go into the specifics of all those types of things that are more personalized towards your specific situation. Anybody else have any other questions before we close out the day? All right.

Well, I’m I think I’m gonna call it a day. I want to really think our ER coaches Jeanette and Aaron. I appreciate you guys being on here, and I want to thank everybody who joined and took the time out of their busy day to take the time to listen to our presentation. I hope you got something out of it. And again, everybody will get a copy of this presentation sent to your email address that you provided again. I want to appreciate or want to say thank you, and I appreciate everybody for joining and I want you all to have a good evening. Thank you so much!

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