finance

Young or old: What to do in 2008

"The way you handle money -- spend it, save it, invest it -- should align with your value system. And that means knowing what's most important to you," Rowley says.

Author of "Bond Investing for Dummies" and "Exchange-Traded Funds for Dummies," Wild is a former Rodale editor and one of the founders of Men's Health Books.

Generally upbeat, he sees gathering storm clouds ahead.

"Health care continues to be a national disgrace," says Wild. "It is far and away the number one reason for bankruptcies."

What's ahead
While all is not doom and gloom, none of our experts see rainbows reflected in the skies. Caution seems the predominant mood with a possible recession ahead in 2008. Here's a brief look at how they stack up on the issues.

The Housing Market: Rowley says not to buy more home than you can afford. She sees a steady buyer's market and a deep, dark hole for holders of adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMs.

Credit Cards: Get out of credit card debt yesterday. The coming year will only present more opportunities for credit junkies to dig themselves deeper, says Rowley.

Savings and Investments: Wild says it's impossible to be dead-on when predicting market trends, but saving is always a good idea no matter what the state of the economy.

Health care: Wild and Brock have both authored books about the state of health care and both are less than optimistic that medical expenses will level off. If anything, they predict employer-sponsored health care will become even less common in the coming year.

Retirement: Brock says retirement won't be an impossible dream in 2008 for those who have done their due diligence, and admonishes youngsters to keep future plans in their sights as they traverse though their working years.

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