Growing Savings, Income and Investments Now


Henry K. Hebeler


You know things are tough when even our local Kent, WA, courts are offering to let people pay their fines using a “flexible payment plan.”  People are searching both for ways to save in this environment as well as to find prudent ways to invest their money.


Save more:


·         Decide how much you should be saving as the first step.  (Web sites can help with this.)

·         Establish a lower family budget that satisfies your savings goal and stay within it.

·         Arrange for automatic savings deposits from your paychecks.

·         Sell things you don’t really need on the Net or elsewhere.

·         Downsize your home or rent.  Renting provides mobility to get jobs elsewhere in the country.

·         Move in with relatives or friends.

·         Grow your own vegetables.

·         Buy items with cash, not with loans.

·         Rule out cars, cell phones or IPods for children--or even for yourselves.

·         Make do with old computers, and software.  Use no downloads requiring payments.

·         May be able to get lower cost TV, internet and telephone services.

·         Turn down the thermostat and wear sweaters.

·         Consider refinancing your mortgage if interest rates now significantly lower.

·         Older people may not need life insurance or long-term-care insurance.


Increase your income:


·         Rent out a room in your house.

·         Get a second career.  Perhaps teach, start delivery service, tutor, etc.

·         See about part or full time employment for an unemployed spouse.

·         Encourage teenagers to work on weekends and pay for some of their own expenses.


Invest prudently:


·         Reduce personal debts.  When debt interest rates are higher than the return you can get from investments, paying debt off early is usually the best investment you can make.

·         Consider Savings I bonds for the entire family.  They are available from local banks and

·         Invest in certificates of deposits (CDs).  (Available from many sources.  See

·         Buy Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) in self directed IRAs or from

·         Take advantage of tax deductions, Roth IRAs and 401(k)s and tax-exempt bonds if you are in a higher income bracket.

·         Use FDIC insured accounts for immediate cash needs.

·         Buy bonds, not bond funds.  (Increasing interest rates will destroy bond fund principal.)

·         Change to mutual funds with low upfront costs, low management fees and no kickbacks to advisors.

·         Use financial advisors with low fees and no commissions.


Good health is the best medical and long-term-care insurance you can buy.


I recently was operated on by one of the most famous orthopedic surgeons.  Not noted for his bedside manners, he gave both my wife and me a lecture on eating lots of dark green vegetables and fish, but no red meat or desserts. Then he gave me a number of pages describing exercises I should do.  So--


·         Eat only healthy foods

·         Exercise and keep weight under control.