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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

Getting Through Tough Financial Times

I have been thinking about financial wellness a lot in the last couple of months. On September 5th, I wrote a blog, "Financial Wellness ... What does it mean to you?" exploring the definition of financial wellness. Over Thanksgiving weekend, my husband and I had time to sit down and think through our financial situation. We talked about how financially secure we feel in some ways, and don't feel in other ways. Talking about it helped put the current financial situation in perspective. However, I imagine financial wellness and financial security are concepts most of us don't spend much time on until they're lacking.

Lately many people's financial security has been shaky. Overall, people's homes, jobs, and investments all seem much less secure than they did a year ago. I know many people are wondering, "What should I do about my investments?" And, "What can I do to manage a work layoff or a cut in work hours?" Or, "What are my best choices to prepare for this unusual economic time?"

University of Illinois Extension's mission is to help people make informed decisions about all kinds of topics, including finances. We recognize that this unusual economic time requires a special focus. Thus, we have initiated the Getting Through Tough Financial Times (GTTFT) initiative. The GTTFT resources are designed to help you identify ways to manage your resources wisely during this financial crisis.

The new Getting Through Tough Financial Times website provides timely resources, links to related money management resources, and a listing of events throughout Illinois. This is your "one-stop" shop for all University of Illinois Extension resources that will help you if your financial security is threatened. Currently, the website is organized around such topics as: Avoiding Money Traps, Setting Spending Priorities, Managing Your Debt, Talking with Creditors, Saving and Investing in Turbulent Times, and Spend Smart/Save Smart tips. New resources are added weekly as the economic situation evolves.

Another upcoming resource, "Saving and Investing in Turbulent Times," is a statewide teleconference seminar with campus-based professors and Extension educators (most who are regular contributors to this blog) to help answer questions regarding what to do with your money in today's market. U of I Extension provides factual information not motivated by sales of investment products. During the seminar, we will talk about:

  • How the economic situation affects different types of investors;
  • Lessons we can derive from behavioral economics and previous market history;
  • Sound investment and risk management strategies; and
  • How to choose a financial professional and protect yourself from fraud.

In addition, the final half hour will be a Q & A session. Bring your questions!

The seminar will be offered at local University of Illinois Extension offices by teleconference on December 16, 2008 at 1:30 p.m. or 7:00 p.m., and repeated on January 20, 2009. Contact your local County Extension Office for registration information. This event is part of the GTTFT initiative.

I hope that our financial wellness – both for individuals and our nation – improves significantly in the next year. In the meantime, it's up to us to manage our financial resources as best as we can. Click on my name below to ask questions or add a comment related to this blog. I would love to hear from you :)

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