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Publication has tips for finding cash in a pinch

January 08, 2006

We've all heard the advice to sock away three, six or nine months of our income for emergencies. But let's say that's not possible, for whatever reason. Emergency strikes, what do you do? The January issue of Consumer Reports' Money Adviser offers a few suggestions, in a pinch.

Sell stuff. Most people have assorted gadgets, clothes, jewelry, antiques, sporting equipment, etc., that would probably be of use to someone else.

Ask family. Relatives (usually) want to see you on firm footing, and would like to help out if they can. Request a loan, and make sure to write down how much you borrow and when you plan to repay it.

Charge it. Some financial planners say it's wise to have a no-fee credit card to tap in extreme situations.

Home equity. All the rage in recent years, home equity can be a fine source of emergency financing. And your interest may be tax-deductible.

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As 2005 was a bit of a muddled year for the U.S. economy, this year could be more of the same, according to a survey of finance professionals.

About half, 51 percent, said they expect the economy to grow modestly this year. About 47 percent said they expect business conditions to improve in 2006, while 41 percent said they expect the results to be about the same as last year.

The biggest concern? Increased costs. Almost all of the 663 financial pros - 95 percent - said they expect higher interest rates this year, and 82 percent predicted continuing hikes in energy costs.

Solid majorities also predicted higher inflation, further boosts in the U.S. trade deficit, sharper competition from abroad and higher business investment.

The data are from a survey conducted between Nov. 30 and Dec. 10 by the Association for Financial Professionals, based in Bethesda, Md. It has about 14,000 members.

- The Associated Press

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