Q: What should I tell my creditors if any fallout from a default, even if it's avoided, results in my being laid off or getting reduced hours on my job?
A: Nina Heck, director of counseling and credit management for Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Maryland and Delaware: "Consumers should make their creditors aware anytime there is an interruption in their ability to pay as promised. Explain the situation, have a financial plan in place, and provide as much information as you can regarding when you anticipate resuming payments. It's very important to not make any promises you can't keep."
Q: What should I do if I'm living off my retirement savings now?
A: Gerri Walsh, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's senior vice president for investor education: "Staying diversified is also important in retirement." But, Walsh says, in your quest to boost returns, don't turn to complex or alternative investments and take risks you "either do not understand or cannot afford. If investors do not fully understand the leverage and other risk and reward features of a complex investment, they should stop right there. A good general rule is never invest in products you do not understand."
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