I want to be very clear about something that is central to my Action Plan: You must commit to actually taking action. This is not a book to be read and pondered. Or filed away under "Nice to know; I’ll get to it." If you care about financial security for yourself and your family, if you want to do everything in your power to protect yourself and your future, you will not get there with wishful thinking or procrastination. You cannot sit this one out, hoping that the storm will pass and everything will be just fine. If you do nothing, I am sorry to say you may be in even deeper trouble in 2010. The fact is, the new reality requires new strategies. They will not necessarily be wholesale changes in every aspect of your financial life, but tactical actions to make sure you do not let the credit crisis knock you off course.
Some of the most crucial actions require pushing yourself to stay committed to all the smart moves you have already made but may now be questioning. I know many of you are thinking there is no point in continuing to invest for retirement as long as the markets are down. Big, big mistake. Now is an incredibly smart time to invest for retirement, because the markets are down—assuming, of course, you have at least 10 years until you will nee d that money. Same goes for your 529 college savings plan for a young child.
There is to be no curling up in a fetal position on the couch in 2009 hoping that when you emerge the crisis will have passed. No assuming that there is a government bailout or Wall Street rally right around the corner that will fix everything for you without any effort on your part. You will have to get off the couch and take control of your financial life in 2009. Make that commitment this year and you will build a solid financial foundation that you can stand on when everything around you is crumbling and that you can build on when the good times return.