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Published: October, 2012; Vol 9, Num 5

 

Message of the Co-Chairmen (Fall 2012):

Important Public, Private Decisions at Hand

Public opinion polls show rising optimism, yet continuing anxiety among Americans about the state of the economy. Perhaps, LIFELINES can help bridge this gap. In this issue, we offer some practical guidance on budgeting, spending, credit and debt. We also ask you to think about the upcoming elections and what they may mean for your health and security.

Everyone knows that the President and Congress do not control the economy, but we also know that their policies and programs help make things better or worse. This year's U.S. election is a referendum on the conflicting outlooks of President Barack Obama and House Republicans on how to address job loss and other hardships of our enduring economic downturn. Given the polarization and simmering anger in American political affairs, we trust that you understand the importance of this election and that you will vote and urge your friends and family members to do so as well.

Still, while government policy may help or hinder, each of us has no choice but to make it on our own. Whatever the next Administration and Congress, we have to manage our personal finances carefully and with a wise eye to the future.

Today, living is costlier than ever, but, at the same time, unemployment is high and incomes are falling. If you're not part of the "one percent," chances are you're feeling this squeeze. Even if you're not directly pinched, you have parents, adult children or other family members and friends who are. No one is immune from the financial pressure and emotional stress of these times.

Any crisis is full of unforeseeable twists and turns, but those with solid plans who pay consistent attention are best prepared to make the most of opportunities while avoiding potential disasters. More than ever, it is incumbent on heads of households to have a financial plan that ensures the basics and sets strategic goals.

Do you know the minimum that you need to pay the basic cost of living for your family? Are you able to save and plan for the future? Do you manage your credit well? Are your debts under control?

In this issue, we provide an overview of sound financial management that should help you identify possible weaknesses in your approach. Hopefully, the overview will stimulate you to shore up your plan and your future.

The coming elections provide a means for Americans to influence the overall direction of the nation's policies, including its finances. Yet, while we urge you to vote as if your future depends on it, we also know that our individual fates are, just as much, about the private financial decisions made in each and every household. Whatever the outcome of this fall's elections, we each have to find our own way to financial health and security.

Hard times and an election's outcome…that's what's in store for the months ahead. Do your part and get prepared!