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How to Take Control of Your Money

Four Ways to Get a Grip on Your Finances Right Now

While there's no doubt the heads on Capitol Hill are spinning with what's been happening in our economy, it's not exactly a picnic for those of us feeling like we have a million and one unanswered questions. Watching big banks collapse and listening to what the news tells us was a horrendous day for the market, followed by the worst day ever, doesn't do much for the people anxiously sitting on the sidelines. Here are three things you can do right now to get a grip on your finances.

  1. Spend wisely and save as much as you can: Sometimes, it's easier to turn a blind eye on the things that make us anxious instead of dealing with them. Now is not one of those times. Buckle down on your budget and figure out how you can save more.
  2. Pay off debt: The economy has already lost 605,000 jobs this year and that number is likely to continue growing. You need to get aggressive with your debt (especially the high interest kind) in case you find yourself jobless — you'll need your savings for everyday expenses instead of debt repayment costs.

See two more ways to get a grip on your finances right now when you


  1. Make sure your bank is still the right one for you. The banking industry is moving toward consolidation, as we've see in recent weeks with JP Morgan Chase's purchase of Washington Mutual and Citibank's purchase of Wachovia. We could be seeing more of this movement in the months to come, so keep an eye out for any changes in fee policies that might not be favorable to you.
  2. Review your investments: See that your asset allocation is appropriate for your risk tolerance and time horizon. If your portfolio's risk makes you anxious, it could be a sign that it's time to reevaluate your investments.


Join The Conversation
4peachMoney 4peachMoney 8 years
Hindsight is always 20/20--I wonder if one way to tell your bank is in trouble is if you notice all their fees are suddenly sky-rocketing--that's what I saw happen to WAMU before the merger.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i have to say that i've been doing each one of these things even from before this whole chaotic time started. i think that it's only the responsible thing to do - to be more in touch with your finances and to have an active role in your future. when i was younger, i don't think that i even knew enough to ask questions - i just let people tell me what to do and that's not always smart because what's good for one person isn't always good for others.
Smart-Living Smart-Living 8 years
There's not really a way that I know of to decipher whether or not your bank is alright, except paying attention to the news. But as long as your accounts are FDIC insured you'll be fine even if your bank goes under.
stephley stephley 8 years
How can we tell if our bank is in good shape? I have a couple of friends who didn't know WAMU was in trouble until the last minute.
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