debt

Protect budget from credit crunch

Creditors are still in a tightening cycle. Keeping your credit looking good and staying a step ahead of any problems helps you maintain access to the credit you currently have.

A word of advice to those who may face a job layoff before the economy has a chance to turn around. To help "layoff-proof" your finances, follow these steps:

5 steps to protecting finances from a layoff
  • Create a just-in-case bare bones budget that includes only essentials. Save any extra money in an emergency account for use in the event of a job loss.
  • Stop adding to credit card balances and begin an aggressive pay down of credit card debt.
  • Get a free copy of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. Make sure it's accurate. Keep your credit looking good, as many employers pull reports during the hiring process.
  • Pay your mortgage and car loans first if you find you can't meet all your credit obligations.
  • Get professional help early. This no different than seeing a doctor when you have early symptoms. Plus, you can often do this over the phone or Internet without a co-pay.

With patience, planning and a good savings account balance, you will get through this credit crunch. And yes, as my father used to say to me (even as I rolled my eyes), tough times help build character!

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