Unsolicited Advice FOR A DESPERATE HOUSEWIFE
Lynette gets a financial plan free of unwanted plot twists
By David Jacobson

(MONEY Magazine) – Lynette Scavo can't be too desperate--her husband Tom recently returned to work. But raising four kids isn't cheap.

• EMERGENCY FUNDS To come up with the "donation" that got their twins into snooty Barcliff Academy, the Scavos had to sell Tom's sailboat. In fact, they should have had six months of expenses socked away for times like this, says Cary Carbonaro of Family Financial Research: "Normally, three months will do when both spouses work, but because they have the same employer, they could lose their jobs at the same time." They ought to cut expenses, then deposit part of their pay in money funds.

• EDUCATION If they skip pricey suits (hers) and golf clubs (his), the harried Scavos can fund 529 plans with age-based portfolios, where managers regularly reallocate so that an infant's money is mostly in, say, growth stocks, but a high schooler's may be more in bonds and money markets.

• INSURANCE They should spend a few hundred dollars a year for a $2 million personal-liability umbrella policy to cover unexpected legal costs. Says Robert Pagliarini, creator of the Desperate Housewives Financial Profile Quiz (dhquiz.com): "Everyone is suing everyone for everything. Especially on Wisteria Lane, they've got to have umbrella coverage."

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.