Wednesday, September 17, 2008, 3:11PM
10 Ways to Protect Your Finances From the Crisis
by Brett Arends
Monday, September 15, 2008provided by[pic]
[pic]Here are ten things that this financial panic means for you.
1. Check that your bank accounts are federally insured. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) guarantees deposits up to $100,000 per person. If you have to hold more than that, spread it across multiple banks. As a taxpayer you are paying for this insurance. Use it.
2. Make sure your brokerage accounts are federally insured, too. The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) guarantees you at places like Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, E-Trade and the like up to $500,000, including $100,000 worth of cash. The same rules apply: If you have more to invest, spread it across multiple firms. Note: The SIPC is only there to make sure you get your shares and bonds back if a brokerage fails. It does not, obviously, guarantee those investments' value.
3. Put money in thy purse. If this market and this economy get any tougher, cash isn't just going to be king any more. It's going to be king, queen, emperor, lord high chamberlain, and the whole court – including the royal cat and crazy prince Ruprecht locked in the attic. The easiest way to make or find a buck is to save it. So take an axe to those family budgets. The restaurant meals. The Super Duper Everything Cable package. The rip-off checking account with the high fees and low interest. It's all costing you.
4. Set up a home equity line of credit while you still can. I usually don't like advising people to take on more debt, but if access to ready cash might be a life saver it's best to line it up. That's especially true if you are worried about your job. Credit is already tight, and it may get a lot tighter still.
5. Refinance your mortgage. The panic on Wall Street just caused a collapse in the interest rate on long-term US Treasury bonds, as lots of investors rushed there...