Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Positive Developments Mark Horizon in Personal Finances

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Positive Developments Mark Horizon in Personal Finances

Article excerpt

By Chet Currier

Associated Press

NEW YORK _ Just suppose that 1993 were to go down in economic history as the banner year when Americans finally got their personal finances in order.

Don't worry about it, you might reply _ it isn't going to happen. Most of us will spend another 12 months lurching along amid one degree or another of monetary and record-keeping disarray.

But even so, there are at least a few reasons for positive thinking on the subject going into the new year.

In a current Gallup poll, 22 percent of respondents nationally say their most important New Year's resolution is to improve their personal finances.

That answer outranked all others by a wide margin, including losing weight, stopping smoking or getting more physical exercise.

The start of a new year is a logical time to take stock and set goals in any basic area of life. Where money is concerned, it also makes sense because most people must go through their accounts anyway to get ready to do their income tax returns.

"This is a good time to review your financial situation and to organize your records," said the accounting firm of Deloitte Touche.

"With that task completed, it is equally important that a long-range financial plan be developed. A reasonable, workable plan can help you in fulfilling your personal, including retirement, goals."

Added Frances Smith at the Consumer Credit Education Foundation of the American Financial Services Association, a trade group in Washington: "A good place to start in finding out where you are on your financial path is to figure out your net worth. Use a balance sheet approach _ that is, list your assets and your liabilities."

Assets include everything you own, including money, whether in savings, investments or checking accounts, and items bought on credit, such as a house with a mortgage. …

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