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Shutdown shudders: Paycheck turmoil, lessons to learn

  • Far-reaching consequences

    The impact of the United States government shutdown is already being felt in significant ways. Some 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed. National monuments have been shuttered. Food inspection has been curtailed. And nations around the world are asking about the impact on global equity markets.

    Here’s a look at the unintended consequences of the shutdown, plus lessons to be learned from the political communication breakdown, advice on adjusting to a temporary loss of income and insight into how your investments can be impacted by political turmoil.

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  • 10 unexpected consequences of the US shutdown

    The shutdown has led to a standstill in all sorts of functions and services most people don’t think of day-to-day.

    From fewer agricultural inspectors to cemetery closures in Europe, there have been some unexpected ripple effects. But there’s an also an upside, perhaps: free food for furloughed workers?

    According to BBC News’ Tom Geoghegan: Cafes and restaurants are offering discounts and freebies to any of the 800,000 federal workers who are no longer at their desks. There are dozens of similar deals — especially for sandwiches and baguettes — to be found in the cafes and restaurants of Washington DC and over the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia.

    For the other nine unexpected consequences, read more

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  • Paycheck panic: Dealing with a temporary income loss

    Thousands of government workers are without an income amid the political stalemate. The longer the shutdown lasts, the harder the decisions will be — how to pay the mortgage, which bills to pay first.

    If your family had a temporary dip in income, could you manage? There are steps you can take to shore up your finances.

    Among them: Consider applying for a home equity line of credit for emergencies. For more details on how to deal with a temporary paycheck panic, read Pay It Forward

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  • Can you make it work on a single salary?

    Raising a family on one salary is getting tougher, no matter where you live. The cost of living is rising in many countries and having one parent stay home is either increasingly becoming a luxury, or a forced choice due to divorce or unemployment. Nonetheless, if it's something you want to do — or need to do — there are ways to make it happen.

    The US government shutdown is suddenly forcing some people to consider whether they, too, could live on one salary.

    If you have time to prepare for a one-income life, start building an emergency fund of six-to-12 months of living expenses. For those suddenly thrown into a one-income situation, there are some small changes that can help ease the financial pain.

    Discover more ways to prepare for life on a single salary.

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  • Communication breakdown: Workplace lessons from the DC shutdown

    Negotiating well is an art. When it's not done smartly, the consequences can be ruinous.

    Acrimonious discussions can derail businesses large and small. But three top level executives — former General Electric chief executive officer Jack Welch, John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management-US and Robert E Moritz, US chairman at accountancy PricewaterhouseCoopers — say there are lessons to be learned that can be used to prevent such messes in the workplace.

    Among them: the practice of schmoozing "early and often" in order to build relationships before a big disagreement leads to a crisis, according to Welch. See what else he-and the others-had to say.

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  • Save big at the grocery story with one small change

    Whether your income is impacted by the shutdown or you just want to trim expenses, you could immediately start saving thousands of dollars a year. How? Just take a close look at your cupboard. If you consistently pass over generic store brand items for name brand ones, you are losing the opportunity to save big.

    You might be surprised who, exactly, makes generic items. (Hint: watch to find out.) Overall, consumers can save between 15 and 30 percent on average by trading in big name items for store brands. And some items offer bigger savings than the rest. Let us show you how — and where — to save big.

    Watch 90-Second Financial Fix to find out what's worth your while in generics and otherwise at the supermarket.

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  • Rolling the investment dice amid political turmoil

    Political wrangling and civil unrest can wreak havoc on an investor's portfolio.

    While investing in the US equity markets may be safer overall — despite recent political disagreements — the risks can be far greater in other countries. Of course, rewards can be big for investors brave enough to put money into countries and companies grappling with governmental wrangling. Those who take a chance by buying stocks that others are avoiding can benefit handsomely.

    Which way the investment returns go — and how long a portfolio is impacted — depends on the situation. Take a look at what happened in Japan, Venezuela, Greece and Egypt.

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