Don’t Let Down Your Financial Guard – Dollars & Sense by David Uffington

By on July 29, 2011

Depending on which pundit you listen to, the news on the economic front still isn’t good. Purchases of homes are still down. There was a small upward blip in advance of the tax credit for homebuyers coming to an end, but then the figures and prices fell again. Consumer confidence is still down, and not too many people are expecting to buy big-ticket items soon.

   Still, if you know where to look and are willing to take small changes as indications of a recovering economy, it’s possible to find hope:

   -More shipping containers are being processed in ports. More trucking companies are hiring drivers. Stores wouldn’t be ordering merchandise unless there was an indication that consumers will buy.

   -Small local banks in many parts of the country are posting profits again, no longer barely hanging on.

   -In a survey by Advantage magazine of small business owners comparing 2010 with 2011, fewer owners think we’re still in a recession, a higher number expect revenue to be as good as last year, the majority plan to keep staff and approximately one-quarter even plan to hire.

   -Divorce rates are rising again. Think about it: It takes some confidence in the financial aspect of one’s life to file for divorce. There’s the house (Will it sell? Is there any money to divide up?), the prospect of paying alimony (Is there enough job security to make alimony possible?) and the division of assets. The emotional aspect should be included here: If it’s perceived that the bad financial times are over, maybe having a partner isn’t as important now.

Even if the news were all bad, it’s still possible to live a secure and contented life in spite of the economic news.

Your own money plan should continue as it has for the past few years. Your goal should be to spend as little as possible. Save every dollar you can, ideally in an interest-bearing account, until you have your rainy day fund. You should know within $10 what your actual bills are each month. Keep credit-card debt low or nonexistent so you’re not spending money on interest and fees. Take care of your health, reduce stress and get exercise daily. Focus on friends and family, and look for free activities. Keep your vehicle in good shape to avoid expensive repairs.

Just don’t let down your financial guard — not yet.


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