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I have recently returned from travelling the West Coast of America and was fairly surprised to see whilst I was there the level of poverty that seems to be common. Obviously, the entire world has suffered from some degree of economic recession but news reports had been that America was recovering well and faster than many of us in Europe and other areas. I saw many people who had become homeless after losing their jobs and houses, on the face of it these seemed ordinary, well to do people who never expected this to happen to them.

Of course, this is only one part of a huge country and economic data does suggestAmericais recovering from the downturn. Part of this recovery is down to the American people’s complete and unwavering belief in the ‘American Dream’ and also could be due to the fact that the US Government have followed a very different approach to recovery than other countries have.

Seeing the effects the downturn had had on these seemingly ordinary people really brought home to me the importance of having a really robust financial plan. We cannot simply assume that life will always be rosy – many things we do not expect can happen along the way and having good contingency plans in place is very important. For example, making regular savings, building up an ‘emergency fund’, having protection plans in place to protect against unemployment and borrowing sensible amounts to purchase your home so you are not living beyond your means, are to name but a few. These are all things we can assist with at Financial Management Bureau, and perhaps together we can build our own version of the ‘American Dream’, albeit based on far more sensible principles!

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