Just because economic pundits can't decide whether the country is headed into recession doesn't mean that individual investors, savers and spenders must teeter on the brink of financial insecurity.
Tony Hayden, a financial planner for Keating & Associates/Raymond James Financial Services in Lawrence, offers his own suggestions for bracing your finances and investments against times of economic turbulence:
¢ Analyze asset allocation. "Make sure your asset allocation - in stocks, bonds and other asset classes - are in line with your time horizons. In the last couple years, things have grown. Most people have not rebalanced in the last three years because everything's grown.
"Make sure you're rebalanced, and take a fresh look at that."
Someone looking to retire within the next 10 years, for example, might want to reallocate to have a portfolio that is about 60 percent equities and about 40 percent fixed income, such as cash, CDs or bonds.
"You should be able to weather any kind of market with that kind of a portfolio."
Bottom line: Check with your adviser and update the balance.
"Then, if we do go into recession, so what? You've already rebalanced, and your portfolio is supposed to take the ups and the downs."
¢ Don't be afraid. "Whether things go up or down in any situation, there is always opportunity. In the fixed-income area, there have been babies going out with the bath water, with this subprime mess. Find out what those opportunities are."
¢ Look inside. "Look at your budget. Go through it from top to bottom. Get organized. Take a look.
"If you do have to cut off fat - because maybe things get more expensive, or maybe you need to shore up your savings - the easiest way to do it is to make sure your ship's in order. And that never hurts.
"But especially in times of uncertainty, when you know your ship's in order, that builds confidence. When you go into a down time with confidence, you're better off."