It Must Be Bad Out There

For the most part, we've been numb to the mortgage meltdown / credit crunch / economic down-turn. Being debt-free, having an emergency fund, and living on a budget has left us... well, mostly unaffected. Now that's not to say that our retirement accounts haven't taken a hit - everyone's has. And it doesn't mean that we haven't been watching this unfold in great disgust - because we have.

It just means, that it hasn't caused us to drastically alter our lifestyle. We drove less this summer - who didn't? But the overall plan hasn't changed and we're still tracking pretty well. So all the reports on the evening news about this supposed recession have been mostly surreal to us. But then I saw something that really opened my eyes - a bank commercial!

I thought at first it might have been co-sponsored by Dave Ramsey as they were nearly outlining his advice! "In these tough economic times, it's important to get your finances in order. Pay down your debt, cut back your spending...."

Wait, this is a bank!?!

I guess, sooner or later, the truth comes out. A year from now, they'll be back to pushing 1% cash back rates on thier credit lines.

Here's how we brave the sorm:

The Budget - The budget is like our snowblower. A little front-end preparation will ensure that it is ready when you need it. And you will need it. When the stom comes, the budget will hep youclear away the mess you're in, and give you a clear path to follow.

The Emergency Fund - Maybe yours is only partially funded so you've got a towrope or a bag of salt in the trunk. But the real e-fund is that 4x4 pickup in the driveway (purchased used, of course). When things get really bad, when all else fails, it's there for you and can walk you through as though nothing happened.

Being Debt-Free - The unexpected benefit here is that you have the time and energy to deal with it all. To not be so stressed out and making decisions indespiration is invaluable. To have peace about your finances causes you to look at purchases and situations differently than you would have if you still had outstanding liabilities.


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