Many things happened in the economy in the last couple years to make people’s lives very difficult.
People are making changes and adjustments to protect themselves going forward even as they try to recover from the financial setbacks they have experienced. Folks fortunate enough not to be badly affected are assessing their situations to make sure they are protected if things go bad again.

What should you be doing? What should your perspective be?

Benjamin Franklin is credited with the oft repeated phrase “‘Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” However, in the song “Trouble Man” Marvin Gaye sang about a third certainty: “Trouble.”
We have to be prepared for trouble in one or more of its many forms: sickness, job loss, income reduction, accidents, crime, etc. Things keep happening which affect lives, finances, jobs: the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in April, flash flooding in Arkansas in June. From a financial perspective both common sense and wise decision-making are needed. Planning and preparation are essential although we cannot plan for everything.

Everyone should assess his or her current financial situation and make regular assessments going forward. Some basics to consider: A budget, spending control, regular savings, debt elimination, insurance, a will and long-term planning.

A budget allows you to know what you spend and how much, and enables spending control.
Savings allow you to deal with the unexpected and have financial flexibility. An automatic savings program is the best place to start.
Insurance is protection for you, your family and your belongings. Some types of insurance are required (auto, homeowners), others are optional but necessary (health, life, renter’s).
Planning for the future, including a will, sets you on a course toward achieving your life goals and objectives.

I encourage you to begin addressing those things in your life that will enable you to have smooth financial sailing.

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