Attacks highlight the need for financial security

The Ticker

October 17, 2001|By JULIUS WESTHEIMER

IN THE wake of the terrorist attacks, how should we handle our finances? Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine for November says:

"Of all the new kinds of security we need - extra awareness, strong national defense, protection against terror - financial security may not seem high-priority but it's the cornerstone of a well-led life. ...

"Invest in yourself. Your earning power is the most valuable asset you will ever own, and it won't be wiped out in a market crash. Keep your earning power growing through continuous education and personal development.

"If you work in a field prone to periodic layoffs or falling earnings, think about a career change.

"Protect your family. Make sure you have enough insurance to cover life's big risks - serious illness, disability, early death. Most young families are woefully underinsured."

MORE TIPS: Financial Planning Perspectives says, "Reassess your 401(k), 403(b) and your personal portfolio. Most planners say the market will bounce back and they advise not to sell out of panic in a down market.

"Prepare for financial emergencies. As the attacks devastatingly demonstrated, disasters strike without warning. Many people have a thin financial cushion. A job loss is devastating if you don't have a three months' emergency fund.

"Be prepared for death. It's grim to contemplate but there's a critical need to prepare for the unthinkable. Have a will, power of attorney and `living will.' Roughly six in 10 Americans have no will."

"Keep money at home for gasoline and food in case automatic teller machines become disabled." (CNBC-TV)

"Use the attack as a `grim reminder' of what we should be doing with our money while we're still alive." (Journal of Financial Planning)

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