In Ourselves We Trust?

Traveling in Michigan and Illinois these last couple of days on this whirlwind tour for my book, "Your Money or Your Life," one name has come up again and again -- worriedly, nervously, repeatedly: "Delphi Corporation" (search).

The auto parts maker that filed for bankruptcy protection this week has many in this region nervously wondering about their own futures this week.

One woman told me Wednesday night in Grand Rapids that she's worried about her job. Her husband's worried about his too. And neither work for Delphi.

They both work for General Motors (search). The hush-hush talk is that another bankruptcy shoe will drop — maybe even G.M — and they're nervous.

Suddenly pensions don't look so sure and jobs don't look so secure.

As another young auto lineman told me as I was signing his book, "I'm just afraid the next check I sign, Neil, will bounce."

It is during times like these — when company pensions are in doubt and Social Security (search) itself is in question — that many of us have to look hard and long at our own financial futures.

How much is tied up in promises by others and not in commitments by ourselves?

This is not to say we shouldn't trust our bosses or our government, but we might be wise to better trust and rely on ourselves.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: save. Save as much as you can, whenever you can, however you can.

It would be nice to rely on promises made. I'm just not sure they'll be promises kept.

So take control of your financial life. Commit to saving your money and controlling your future.

It's good to hope for the best. But as I've sadly discovered on this book tour, it's better to prepare — just in case — for the worst.

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