Time to review your financial story and make needed adjustments

The Ticker

February 12, 1999|By JULIUS WESTHEIMER

AS 1999 unfolds, your family should do a financial checkup. Here are suggestions, some from Financial Planning Perspectives newsletter: Have your circumstances changed in the last year, or do you expect changes this year? For example, do you have a new job, or have you lost an old one? Was there a death or divorce in the family? Do you plan to marry in 1999 and have children?

Review your investments. Ask yourself, "How well did I weather violent 1998 stock market swings?" If you panicked last fall and dumped stocks at the wrong time, your risk level may be too high. If so, decide to make adjustments. Remember that doing nothing is a decision, too.

Check your "mix," making sure you have the right proportion of stocks, bonds and other securities. As you grow older, reduce your stock percentage.

Prepare for a layoff. Corporations downsize, even in good times. Build a nine-month or 12-month emergency fund. Watch your debt. It may not be a problem when paychecks roll in, but debt mounts quickly if checks stop.

Some other suggestions:

Rethink your retirement. How much money will you need when unearned income must replace earned wages?

Review your insurance. Does your life insurance cover a new child? Do you have enough disability coverage? Statistics show that you're more likely to be disabled for at least three months before 65 than you are to die.

Monitor the Y2K issue. Ask your banks for written assurance that they are solving the problem.

Are you putting away enough money for college bills?

Review your financial situation and see what other adjustments you should make.

Pub Date: 2/12/99

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