A Call To Financial Action

By Cleo Brown
Wednesday - January 07, 2009
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Kekoa Davidson, Sean Behen, Tiara Perkins, Rob Netta, Kara Sullivan, Ali Sibbaluca, Corliss Whitmore, Cleo Brown, Ayesha Shepperd, Misa Kataoka, Stephanie Doyle, Justin Mueller and Jamie Omori at the ING DIRECT Café

These are frightening times for most Americans, particularly for Hawaii residents.

The national headlines include financial service failures, stock markets tanking and U.S. auto makers facing bankruptcy.

Locally, we recognize the impact on our state’s economy lags nine to 12 months. In today’s virtual world, we’re seeing this time shortened to six to nine months due to the impact of credit markets on our local businesses’ cash flow.

As we watch this economic catastrophe unfold, we’re all questioning ourselves on ways we can protect our assets and the financial futures of our families and state. One thing is certain: There are hard times ahead for a state heavily dependent on government and tourism.

As the local head of a 58-years-young financial service professional, I’m being asked daily what people can do to protect themselves during these difficult times. Frankly, I’m asking the same question of myself and others since losing 30 percent of my retirement portfolio over the past 45 days. I’ve decided to take action at ING DIRECT and use this opportunity in MidWeek’s Business Roundtable to have a frank discussion with those who care to engage.

From my perspective, A CALL TO ACTION:

1) Recognize there are no easy answers; getting back to basics as quickly as possible is critical to success. Fiscal discipline doesn’t require a degree in economics. It simply requires each of us to recognize the rule our kupuna lived by: “You can’t spend what you don’t earn!”

2) Get in touch with what and where you spend your hard-earned money. Understand the emotional pitfalls on where you chose to spend your money.

3) Pay yourself first. Put all this on paper and find the discretionary expenses you can cut, and plan to put these dollars into savings.

4) Join a savings support club that offers ways to help develop the skill and will to reduce debt and save more.

5) Go to http://www.wethesavers.com and pledge your financial independence immediately. Tap into the tools, blogs and information to help you with steps 1-4 above.

6) Visit http://www.ingdirect.com to learn how you can bank your money to earn more money on every dollar you deposit. Pull out your bank statements and add up every bank fee you have paid over the last 12 months. Recognize that had you put these funds into accounts with no minimums or fees, you would have saved this total and it could be earning more money for you.

Visit the ING DIRECT Caf at 1958 Kalakaua Ave. (corner of Ala Moana Boulevard and Kalakaua Avenue) with free parking in back of the building. Sign up for the 2009 LifeSavers Club, a series of workshops and groups to help you build your financial independence, protect your future and reduce your stress in the coming months.

I plan to join you.

Let’s all pledge to spend less, save more and support each other in 2009 to get out of debt and build brighter futures for ourselves and those we hold dear.

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