Unless you're one of the people who lived through the Great Depression, chances are you'll remember 2008 as one of your worst years, at least as far as your finances were concerned. What does that mean for this year?

Time to regroup. To make smart choices. To control what you can control as far as your savings, investments, job and home are concerned. Here's how:
In Case of Emergency
Layoffs were huge last year, and the U.S. unemployment rate has jumped to 7.2 percent. Most of us are in danger of being forced to cut back. If you only have a three-month emergency cushion, try to boost it to six.

"There is some interesting research about having an emergency savings account, and what that does for you from a mental health point of view. It makes you feel much more comfortable, and allows you to deal with emergencies if your hours are cut down or you lose your job," said Ted Beck, CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education.

Where does the money come from? Use the Web to get the most from couponing. If you joined a car pool to save money when gas was $4 a gallon, don't quit now. Have cash transferred automatically to savings each time you get paid.
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.

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