How to weather a financial market crunch

 

DO NOT PANIC

Make no rash decisions

Think long term

If you have no plans to sell or rearrange your investments consider not opening  

  statements or watching the news if it creates stress

 

TAKE CONTROL

Stop buying things you can’t afford to impress people you don’t know.”--Suze Orman“

Cut back & save to build a nine month reserve

Keep contributing to your Roth--if you are not already in retirement

If your investments or income are down, it may be a good time to convert IRA’s to Roth?

 

CUT THE CLUTTER

Stop wasteful catalogs and annoying phone calls--To Opt Out call 1-888-5OPTOUT         

   (1-888-567-8688) Or visit www.OptOutPreScreen.com  or  DoNotCall.gov

Declutter--Clean your home, garage, basement, car, office--Organization is power

   Give away, throw away, sell anything you do not need--Those with little have even less    

   now--Another great reason to go through your giveaways--clothes, toys, furniture

   Or call 1-800-GOT JUNK   Freecycle.org   AMVETS   PurpleHearts

 

PROTECT PRIVACY

Get a good cross shredder for papers with your name, address or account numbers

Be sure to shred any unsolicited mail from credit card or financial companies

Put your photo on credit cards

Do not carry anything with your social security number

 

AUTO PILOT

Eliminate accidental late fees & finance charges with auto paying through your credit

   card or checking account with prearranged overdraft protection

Save on stamps, envelopes & time

Improve your credit score with on-time payments

Arrange direct deposit with your employer and set up auto savings as well

Simplify monthly bills by paying a year or two in advance for cable, newspaper, 

   trash…any annoying smaller monthly bills

 

 

WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER?

Check all three credit bureaus for FREE and clear up any mistakes on your credit report. Close any accounts in writing not in use.

You will have to pay for your credit score. This is the number that will influence your  

interest rate. Your goal is over 780.  www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228

Better yet, call me and I will refer you a mortgage person willing to make suggestions to improve your credit.

 

GET A CLUE

Ask for a CLUE Report. (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange)

   Mistakes on your property insurance claims report can prevent a home sale.

   www.choicetrust.com or call 1-866-527-2600   

 

SECOND OPINION

Get a professional review of the last few years of tax returns, retirement/investment plan,

   home/auto/health insurance, & will/trust. Family changes require an update.

 

HOME IMPROVEMENTS

If you are planning to sell in the next few years and have plans to do work, why not take

   advantage of more affordable materials and labor now and enjoy the finished product?

 

PAY IT FORWARD

Donate your time--Habitat for Humanity, church, community

Donate any extra food or household items to your local food pantry

Donate better work clothes to a woman’s shelter

 

ENTERTAINMENT

Invite friends & family in for game night or potluck

Trade books, movies, games or puzzles

If dining out--skip appetizers, dessert, and drinks-- but tip Big!

 

WORK

Make yourself indispensable at work.  Consider a second job or outside consulting

 

HOME

Unplugged TV’s, alarm clocks, DVD players in rooms rarely in use

 

Call me if you just received your property tax assessment and want to appeal. Or if you are contemplating any home improvements for best possible pay off. Call if you want to know what homes in your area are selling for.  Or if you want help staging your home to sell. And please call me if you just want to show off a new kitchen, bathroom or basement! 

 

All phone numbers and web sites are from my Money Magazine subscription. If you have any other tips, please e-mail me at elizbeth.bryant@century21.com or Cell 847-814-7895

 EB 11/08