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7 Money Management Tips for Tough Times

This article comes from “Tips to Managing Your Money in Challenging Times” which is a publication prepared by The President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy.
Concerned Man from FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008

These 7 Money Management Tips are simple reminders to increase awareness of tools and resources to help you better understand your financial situation. It is important to keep your eye on the ball during times of financial stress. Various financial institutions are under stress and it is important to find out how your assets are protected. The FDIC insures bank deposits up to certain limits. The Securities Investor Protection Corporation insures brokerage accounts from fraud and insolvency up to certain limits but not for market losses. Also your car insurance, health insurance and home insurance help protect you from large unforeseen losses and you need to make sure you don’t let them lapse during these tough financial times.

  1. Understand how your bank or credit union account is insured. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insures all deposits at insured banks and credit unions up to at least $250,000 until January 1, 2014 at which time the insurance is scheduled to return to $100,000 per depositor, per insured bank. Visit FDIC Insurance Coverage Basics and NCUA Rules for Insurance Coverage for more details. To check whether your financial institution is insured visit FDIC Bank Find or Find a Credit Union and if you are lucky enough to have more than $250,000 in your bank or credit union you might think about opening an account at a different insured institution with the money you have over the $250,000 limit so that money will be covered too.
  2. Understand how your investments are protected. Brokerage firms are required to be members of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which insures customer securities accounts up to $500,000, including $100,000 in cash claims, when a brokerage firm fails. To learn more about these protections, visit, or the SIPC’s article on How SIPC Protects You.
  3. Always keep lines of communication open with your mortgage lender. As soon as you know you may have difficulty meeting your mortgage or home equity loan payments, contact a counselor to work out a payment plan at or by calling 888-995-HOPE (4673).
  4. Protect your credit score. Only put on your credit cards what you can afford to pay back. For other hints on improving your credit score, visit the index of’s Bad Credit Hotel. Also, to protect against identity theft, get a free copy of your credit report at the only actually free once a year credit report that is actually mandated by congress. Congress mandates that you can receive a totally free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies Equifax, TransUnion and Experian once a year. So some people suggest rotating your reports by getting one from a different credit agency every four months. That way you can keep track of your credit and any problems throughout the year for free. You can also read more about free credit reports at
  5. Make sure you have a rainy day fund. Keep an emergency fund worth three to six months of your monthly expenses in an insured account. If you don’t have an emergency fund, try to start one. Visit the budget calculators on
  6. Don’t try to cut costs by canceling your insurance. Keep up with your insurance payments, and you’ll keep in place your protection against medical costs or major loss of personal property, like your home or car. Learn more in the Life Events section on or Changing Insurance Needs on
  7. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for scams trying to take advantage of all of the recent changes in our nation’s financial markets. Educate yourself at on’s Common Fraud Schemes or’s Other Scam & Fraud Reporting Sites.

Some good additional resources can be found at


This post incorporates text from “Tips to Managing Your Money in Challenging Times”, 2008,
institution/fin-education/support-docs/did-you-know-122008.pdf, a publication in the public domain.


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