President Franklin D. Roosevelt, one of the Capital Region's more famous former citizens, once famously said, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." His words might echo well with families today as they try to navigate through a frightening economy, a government shut-down that some say cost the country $24 billion, and an overall financial future more uncertain than ever.
Here are some tips for navigating through this maze:
- Seek out level-headed professionals to advise you. They're not all crooks and some companies have solid reputations built over a century of operation. You won't see them advertising on TV...because those high costs get passed on to their clients.
- Don't give a free loan to the government...i.e., getting an income tax refund is a bad thing. Not to punish the government, but to protect yourself, adjust your deductions on your W-4 at work and get the money working for you and your family. The IRS Web site even shows you how to do it.
- Pay yourself first. It sounds trite, but there are no medals for people who pay the electric bill first. Of course you must pay your bills, but freeing up some money (see above) will allow you to save for your present needs and for retirement first.
- Beat the banks. There are fundamentals, such as the Rule of 72, that allow banks and insurance companies to take advantage of consumers. Use the rule in your favor.
- Tackle any debt. We're drowning in it. Agressive, reputable organizations can get people out of debt faster, freeing up money. And it's not bankruptcy.
Franklin Roosevelt was looked on as a hero who perhaps saved his country. Be a hero to your family.