Distracted by an obscenely expensive Presidential Campaign, most Americans cannot fathom the enormous impact our Financial Meltdown is having. And yet, rapidly grinding Economic Machinery is steadily chewing through the financial lifelines of employed Americans: loss of jobs is here, and there's nothing that GwB nor his Merry Band of NeoCONs and SuperCONs in Washington can do to reverse or ease your pain.
Christmas 2oo8 will be the bleakest experienced by Americans living since the Great Depression.
Job losses reached avalanche proportions in November. Failures in Corporate America gush down onto Main Street instantly, affecting shops and service industries nationwide. Inability for Retailers to find short-term loans to purchase merchandise for filling Holiday shelves became a Reality in October. But even greater is the inability of Americans to be able to afford Christmas 2oo8.
What can you do to protect yourself as this calamity oozes into your personal and family life?
The worst thing you can do is wait, expecting your government to fix anything. Those who are wise have started planning defensive measures. Those who are not will whine their way into an uncertain future. Here's our top 10 best moves to regain control over your personal and financial life. Do it NOW.
Strategy #1: Immediately stop buying anything that you do not absolutely need to have. Make a shopping list, reduce it by a third, and stick to it. No impulse buying.
Strategy #2: Pay down ALL of your personal debt ASAP. Becoming as debt free as possible is your Number One Goal. Zero is a great number!
Strategy #3: Start with Credit Card debt. Get down to ONE card only. Use the convenience of charging, BUT make sure you pay it off every month. Throw a party, and invite your friends and neighbors to celebrate cutting up their retired Credit Cards.
Strategy #4: Move your personal banking business out of commercial banks, and into a Credit Union as soon as possible. Member owned Credit Unions will do whatever possible to protect their members, while commercial banks will be looking for every way to increase their falling profits. Commercial banks must increase profits to satisfy stockholder expectations. In Credit Unions, YOU are the shareholders. And Credit Unions still have money to lend when commercial banks have run dry.
Strategy #5: Pay off and retire ALL in-store credit cards. Charges, even when paid and the card cancelled, remain on your credit history for 7 years, affecting your overall credit score. If you are addicted to paying with a card, buy in-store gift cards. They cost you no interest, help teach you to live within limits, and in the long run improve your credit score. And using LayAway costs you no interest.
Strategy #6: Begin thinking about what you can do for Christmas presents that requires spending as little money as possible. Spend your time being creative, rather than worrying about how you'll survive the Holidays. Make it. Bake it. Repair it. Repaint it. Color comic pages make great wrapping paper. Use your imagination, unleash your creativity, and start planning NOW.
Strategy #7: Empty your closets and storage sheds. If you haven't used it during the past year, re-gift it, or give it away to an agency collecting to make someone else's Christmas better. Always a good idea, this will mean so much more to many more folks this Christmas than ever before.
Strategy #8: Get serious about conservation. Carpool. Walk. Bike. If every car that has only one person in it has two or three instead, there would be no energy crisis, slashing dependence on foreign oil. Most Americans live near a public park or recreation center. They're yours. Use them. Find out what your Public Library has for you in books, CDs and DVDs, recycled magazines. They're already paid for, and cost you nothing.
Strategy #9. Stop exporting jobs. Buy American made. Support your locally owned businesses, not super chain stores. Find your local farmer's markets, art and craft shows. If you have to buy foreign made, buy it USED at thrift shops and flea markets. Nothing bought USED goes back to China or anywhere else. It all stays here. And buying USED instead of new foreign goods improves our trade balance with other nations.
Strategy #10. Do something kind for someone every day.
There are 13 Zeros in ten trillion dollars. That's what GwB and his Merry Band of NeoCON Thieves 'gave' to us as our National Debt.
Give 'em back your Zeros this Christmas. Zero debt. Zero non-essential spending. Zero worries. Zero unhappiness.