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Published: October, 2012; Vol 9, Num 5

 

Do It Yourself Budget Basics:

Plan for Financial Health and Security

In good times and bad, a clear sense of your own financial situation is fundamental to success.

LIUNA General Secretary Treasurer and LHSFNA
Labor Co-Chairman
Armand E. Sabitoni

"Every household's goal is to live well in the present while preparing well for the long-haul," says LIUNA General Secretary Treasurer and LHSFNA Labor Co-Chairman Armand E. Sabitoni. "Yet, as everyone who struggles to save knows, these objectives often conflict. Worse, due to emergencies and unforeseen circumstances, the future must sometimes be sacrificed for household necessities in the present."

Costlier Than Ever: Living

A few pennies here. A few pennies there. No doubt about it, the middle class is in a financial squeeze. The Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) finds it costs 1.7 percent more to live – to pay for the basics – than it did a year ago.

Meanwhile, though officially over, the effects of the nation's worst recession since the Great Depression continues. Official unemployment is 8.3 percent, 12.3 percent in construction. With so many out of work, wages have fallen five to seven percent since 2008, and a wide swath of workers – including many Laborers – who want to work full-time are working part-time, instead.

Under these circumstances, most experts recommend learning to cope rather than relying on dramatic improvements in the economy.

Being prepared for life's twists and turns is a never-ending enterprise. To this end, managing your cash flow is among your most fundamental and most important tasks. Yet, it's something we generally learn "on the job." No one trains us to manage money well. We learn from experience, from trial and error, from insights of family and friends and, increasingly, from self-proclaimed online experts and financial advisors.

"While every family is unique and each is at a different stage of life, the basics of financial management are the same for everyone," Sabitoni reports. "You need a budget – including a plan to save – and you need to wisely manage your credit and debt."

In the following articles, we invite you to check your financial basics: