NINETEEN eighty-eight will bring some tough times, but there are rays of hope.

The biggest problems will be in the realm of money. Because so much is happening to the nation's finances, money will be the dominating factor of the year.

If you thought October 19 was bad, watch out for the middle of February. That mid-month conjunction of explosive, left-sided Uranus with stern, oppressive, right-winged Saturn can bring a far-reaching financial crisis. The stock market tumbles; even insurance company investments will go soft. No general panic, but people will lose confidence and fear for their savings -- and not just in the United States. The majority of foreign markets, all so closely tied to what happens here, will encounter serious drops. If we turn our backs on our friends, we'll suffer even more.

What shall we do? Some sections of the economy will hold up; real estate values will be maintained so losses will be controlled. Foreign investments will stay profitable as the comparative worth of other currencies drops. Our best bet will be to keep our chins and construction schedules up.

But where is our hope? First, in foreign affairs. Indications in the comparative charts of the United States and the Soviet Union suggest a cautious optimism. There could be a new and spectacular arms reduction treaty that would make the recently signed INF agreement seem small and out-dated. It could actually bring the promise of a nuclear-free world.

There will be opposition! Those who gain power (and make money) from continued hostilities will set their sights on scuttling such a treaty. It may cost jobs now, but the money saved can be used to promote dramatic new advances.

But even as we pull ourselves out of the money mess, we'll face another problem -- a problem of public health.

We will see a rise in the incidence of AIDS, frustration in the seeking of a vaccine and increasing bitterness toward AIDS sufferers. Attempts at separation and segregation will be divisive; schools will be hard-pressed to educate children about AIDS.

The hospital situation, worldwide, will become desperate. A large segment of the population will refuse treatment at centers where AIDS victims are kept. There will be a rise in the number of AIDS-only hospitals and sanitaria, some of which will be manned by victims themselves as long as they're able.

Still another problem we face is the specter of hunger. Tough financial times will cause the loss of many jobs, and particularly in major urban areas, desperate people may be moved to desperate acts. Added to this, there will be problems in our prisons and jails. (For many, jail may be the only place to get a meal.) Though older people will suffer, the very young take the worst beating. This can mean the rise of a new gang subculture.

But escape, at least mentally, is possible. There will be happy times in the entertainment field. Benevolent Jupiter takes a hand to help. No starving actors now, as there will be great demand for entertainment to take our minds off our troubles. Look for a renaissance of high society and high style, as the apparently mighty set examples for the less fortunate to follow. Look for theaters to provide free admission to people who can't afford to pay. Look to museums to set aside days of free instruction and even a hot meal for those who want to learn. Look for tax-supported schools to offer radically new courses -- gardening, woodworking, astrology -- in more practical, everyday subjects.

Washington astrologer Warren Kinsman contributed to this article.

ARIES (March 21 - April 20)

The year begins on a reasonably stable note. You will be in a receptive frame of mind and thus able to listen to good advice from older people. Someone in the medical field will be of particular aid to you, perhaps as a consultant.

This is a time to keep busy, both mentally and physically. Try to get away for a winter vacation -- to a place where you can enjoy the cold and snow.

If you have planned a research paper or if you have wanted to take some courses, now is the time. The coldest days find you warm at heart, compassionate and helpful to friends.

As warmer weather arrives, be judicious in pursuit of romance. You will be sought by several members of the opposite sex, but be wary; this is not the time for involvement.

Spring is the time to concentrate on your job and career. Put into motion plans and suggestions that could help your employer. Your efforts will be acknowledged and appreciated.

Keep your job in perspective. Don't move too fast or too aggressively. A steady hand at the occupational helm gets you best results.

The warmer days are the year's most disappointing for you. Nothing seems to go right. Your world seems filled with nagging -- albeit minor -- problems. People around you seem uncooperative and progress is slow.

Be sure that you keep your automobile in good repair. A check on your brake system is now in order.

And, as the days begin to cool, you'll find living more easy. Make time for several weekend trips. Go alone, re-think your job, and make plans for the near future. Keep your dealings on the job honest; build trust among your fellow workers, especially those with whom you have clashed. Don't be afraid to apologize to someone you recognize as extremely sensitive.

Colder days at year's end bring controlled action. You will be called on to solve problems, be a peacemaker and organize gift-giving. Just try to allow some time for yourself and family.

You'll be working so hard that the holidays will catch you unprepared. You'll finish the year in good shape -- satisfied with the results of your hard work. TAURUS (April 21 - May 20)

The year opens for you on a philosophical note. You have had a quiet holiday season, so take time to pause and reflect. This is a time for you to choose a direction for your life; a time for you to think clearly and not be taken in by a friend's harebrained scheme. Examine your career goals and realize that you are approaching a fork in your career path. Think about your education and decide if now is the time to take some instruction; think about computer training. If you have put off entering the computer age, jump right in.

Don't try to solve all of your problems at once. A step at a time is best.

As the days grow longer, don't overdo. Schedule a session with your doctor. He'll be able to get your body and your mind in shape again. He'll also explain the damage stress can do.

Warmer days of spring also bring a relief from melancholy moods. You'll find it easier to smile. Those deep thoughts and reflections now begin to pay off. You'll be offered some financial advice. Accept it, but keep things on a minor basis. Don't bet the mortgage, and keep out of the stock market.

This is the time for you to travel. In fact, a business trip would be great. You will meet new people and form some lasting relationships.

Summer is the time for you to look after things at home. A construction project, such as a deck or gazebo, will be great fun and prove extremely successful. If you live in an apartment, try some window flower or vegetable boxes. Any gardening will be successful, especially after you get expert advice.

Summer is also the time for you to take a look at tax matters. Don't try to hide an unexpected gain, no matter how small. Avoid an attempt to involve you in a financial partnership. Go it alone, and don't go at it very hard.

Fall brings fruition of that thinking and planning you did earlier. If there is to be a dramatic career move, this is the time for it. Watch for a special job offer and jump at it. You may find a family member objecting but press on -- your new success can alleviate hostility.

As winter approaches, rely on your innate ability to stand fast and solve problems. As people snipe at you at work, refuse confrontation.

The year ends on an up note. You find yourself in control and others seeking your company. Entertain at home for the holidays, keep your parties small and stimulating. Avoid the office party stampede. GEMINI (May 21 - June 20)

Gemini comes bounding into the new year. It will be leaps and bounds and sidesteps as the year begins, but that's the way you like it.

You may at times find yourself alone, a condition you don't like. Use the time for thinking and planning your next move. Your emotional see-saw can be slowed if you talk to an older member of the opposite sex. Heed the advice of the experienced. You'll find yourself working hard at your job this winter. You'll feel unappreciated, but keep plugging away. Your professional superiors will be aware of your efforts.

Longer, warmer days can see a lessening of the influence of Pluto in your chart. This tough old bird has been causing problems on your job as well as health problems. In early spring, these effects will diminish enough for you to take steps to improve your life. Get help from your doctor, who can help you deal with tension building up on your job. Realize that hostility toward your employer won't help. Use your powers of articulation.

Spring is also the time for you to meet new people. These new people will be strange but very helpful to you. If an old acquaintance seems envious, hold your temper and don't burn bridges.

Warmer days are flagged for action in financial matters. Stay out of the stock market and look for investments in land and real estate. Don't become involved with any get-rich-quick schemes. As much as you hate it, go slow, be steady and conservative in money matters.

During the summer, combine business and pleasure in travel. While on a short trip you'll meet people who can help your career.

Fall is the time for repairing your home or redecorating an apartment. Try to do part of the work yourself. Cooler days bring conversation and visits from family and friends who are far away. Be friendly but don't become enmeshed in a "Man Who Came to Dinner" scenario.

Winter means people and relationships for you. Family members are picky, nagging and jealous. Co-workers are hostile to new ideas, and old friends shy away. Recognize that you may be causing some of this with an arrogant attitude. Calm down and, as the holidays arrive, extend social invitations. Throw a party, and show what a great person you are. CANCER (June 22 - July 23)

The year shapes up well for Cancer. It opens on a high and, with some bumps along the way, stays up!

The year opens with things going well on the job. You'll get along well with business associates, and their friendship and cooperation will let you make substantial employment gains. Take the advice of trustworthy people.

This is also a time when members of the opposite sex show how much you mean. Be steady -- this is not all platonic.

Take all this activity in stride, and try for a late winter vacation. You'll make some new, fast friends. Pass on any investment plan offered to you now. Stay with careful and conservative money movement.

As spring arrives, consider making a visit to your doctor. Don't neglect nagging aches and pains. This will be one of those bumpy times, so don't be overconfident or expect too much from associates. Be subtle and diplomatic, and under no circumstances take sides in a family dispute.

Longer, warmer days find you thinking more clearly. Try to get off by yourself to take advantage of this. Long walks, alone, are recommended.

This is a good time to resume a hobby that had to be put aside last year. Stay with smaller things -- build a model plane rather than a kitchen cabinet. Share this. You'll be delighted to find that many people want to join in.

Summer brings results of good spring planning. You'll be recognized as an important person at work. And even though you still feel unappreciated, accept praise graciously. Study the mechanics of your job and put new ideas to use. The simplest ideas will help the most. Try to avoid a summer cold; use common sense in handling the oppressive heat.

Fall brings a strengthening of constitution and ambition. You'll be invited to help plan your employer's future and be cast in a statesman-like role. Be sure that you include yourself prominently in these plans. This is not the time for modesty.

The cooler days of fall bring better financial prospects. A salary increase is indicated, but don't be disappointed at its size. If company stock is offered to you, snap it up.

This is also a good time to look at real estate transactions with an open mind.

Prepare for another "down" during the last weeks of 1988. Be forewarned against petty sniping. LEO (July 23 - August 22)

The year opens well for you. People seek your advice, even people you don't know very well. Be generous with your help. Try to get a lot done early in the year, because things will turn sour before too long.

You'll start to find resistance to your ideas and actions even though you're sure you're right.

Be very careful about hurting close friends or coworkers. Such hurt could be lasting and in turn damaging to you. Pull in your claws.

This tough period won't last too long but will be intense. Spend time at home; begin plans for some later redecoration. You are now able to make choices that no one can challenge.

During late winter you'll receive many invitations. Accept them -- you'll meet new people, do new things, and enjoy the experiences.

Be conservative. Don't get upset with imperfect people at work. Don't spend money incautiously, even when you feel it's your duty.

And, as the days grow longer, try to get some recreation time. A couple of weekends in a warmer climate will get your brain and body working again.

Spring can be an easier time. You feel better, and romance becomes important in your life. If you are available, you can be swept up in a time of love; if married, you have a time of tenderness and warmth. Spring is also a time for success on the job. Be scrupulously honest in all your dealings. Success and recognition are not far behind.

Summer brings changes and some buffeting. If you allow yourself to be arrogant or domineering, you'll make the wrong people mad. Watch out for an unexpected policy change at work which will affect your position. Your pet ideas will be under attack; don't be afraid to ask for help. Hot days also indicate a financial setback. A planned investment falls through. This trend continues as the days grow cooler.

This means you must cut expenditures. Broaden your scope and look for new ways to invest. Examine opportunities in publishing or electrical manufacturing.

Late fall and winter bring family problems. A daughter or other close relative seems spiteful and antagonistic. Try reason, not force. After all, you've never been afraid of tough decisions.

The end of the year is calmer, and calls for small sessions of celebration. Avoid the large parties and get plenty of rest -- next year may be tough. VIRGO (August 23 - September 22)

The early part of the year will find you moving, moving, moving, mentally as well as physically. The problem is that you feel you're not getting anywhere.

At work you'll have to put out fires and correct mistakes of people who work for you. Since you are such a perfectionist, this will make you grouchy and slow you down.

You'll also find yourself called on to be the family leader. Brothers and sisters turn flighty; sons and daughters turn mean. Make sure everyone knows who's boss.

Things slow down by late winter. Job matters settle into a routine, even a rut. You'll be given the opportunity to travel -- go for it, but realize it won't be easy. You will earn some extra money as you travel, but don't squander it. Save it for the rainy days of September.

Spring will see your relationships improve. A longstanding romance will occupy much of your time and you'll be exposed to intelligent people and conversation. Find time to have a small party; it will turn out to be the event of the season.

This is the right time for saving and conservative investment. Important decisions will have to be made about real estate and even a change of residence. Move slowly and consolidate your finances. Help a family member with money matters, even though you may have to pick up the check.

Summer is the time for travel and entertainment. Put aside the notion of a long trip. Your presence at home is too necessary for long absences.

Instead, a series of gatherings at home will be enjoyable. Just don't overindulge in food or drink.

The short trips you will have to make should not be too strenuous. Stay with mental exercise rather than physical.

Late summer finds you in your most practical mode. You can get a lot done and are able to take charge at work. Your ideas are accepted, and a promotion is on the way.

Fall is the time to do something at home. Fix up, paint, even order some new tile. Think about a new car. Shop well and bargain hard.

Enjoy your spending, but realize there are family problems. Whatever has been plaguing you at home becomes more pronounced, and you have to make difficult and final decisions.

Happily, the end of the year sees an easing of these emotional problems. You'll be called on to help with a charitable program and find yourself in a social whirl. LIBRA (September 23 - October 22)

Although the year opens in an enjoyable way, brace yourself, there are some problems ahead. Early on your instincts are good and your friends surround you.

You'll be especially good with young people now and be called on to help with a children's charity project. Keep up with your correspondence; be ready to answer a complicated request for advice from a far land.

Winter brings family problems. A bitter dispute between relatives can catch you in the middle, so be prepared to maintain your balance. To add to this, you'll have an unexpected visit from an unlucky relative.

At work your suggestions go unapproved, and your efforts ignored. Don't press too hard for action -- keep a low profile. Longer days mean longer work hours, but this will pay off. By early spring your ideas are understood again.

Be careful how you handle money now. Don't overextend your credit and be sure to buy from only reputable firms. In fact, think carefully before signing any check. This is a time of emotional strain. Some unexpected changes at work leave you in disorder.

A household disaster, such as lightning striking your roof, takes up lots of time and money. A neighbor complains about some imagined encroachment. Don't panic! This too shall pass.

Things get better as summer comes. An even keel is restored. Minor problems continue at work with people nagging and trying to get you to take sides. Don't do it; be a mediator instead.

Midsummer brings promise of career rewards. A promotion and recognition will be offered. A romantic interlude is possible now, especially with someone in the scientific or electronic field.

With the coming of fall your loyalties will be repaid. Friends will surround you and help shake you out of the doldrums. You may need some added study now. A course in design can open new doors for you.

As winter comes, make some time for yourself. Be polite, firm, but alone. Catch up on your correspondence. These cold days will also present the opportunity for a business venture with a friend. Keep your investments conservative.

Plan your holiday spending early, since you won't be able to visit everyone you'd like to this year. Holiday travel is indicated. SCORPIO (October 23 - November 22)

There's movement and more than a little hostility for Scorpios as 1988 begins. You're relieved that the holidays are over and things back to normal.

Normal, however, is not dull. You'll immediately become embroiled in a dispute at work. Everyone seems to be going in different directions, all away from you. Your ideas are rejected, and you have to snarl back.

Family disagreements are also in evidence. You seem to be surrounded by whining and weeping. Hold your temper and keep your emotions concealed. Your magnetic personality allows you to cope.

Longer days give more time for planning and problem-solving. You are disturbed about your financial status, so cut costs and foolish purchases. Plan a year-long financial program, starting conservatively and expanding later in the year. No get-rich-quick schemes for you. If you are in the stock market, take a long hard look at your investment now.

Spring sees an active romantic life -- not simple, but active. If you are single, an old flame is rekindled. If married, be discreet: Tongues will wag and fingers point.

Good friends can help you now. They show admiration and you admire their taste. Give advice but not money. You will be offered a chance to travel now, but excuse yourself if possible. Your charm is needed at home.

At work you will be asked to handle a special project. Accept the challenge.

Summer finds you popular and the center of attraction. You're able to remove barriers easily. Recurring family disputes can be resolved if you speak softly. Call for a council -- at your place.

There's little time for romance during the summer. You're too busy with family problems and your job.

In the fall your social life expands. Watch for an invitation to a reunion. Plan to go; you'll make a wonderful impression and meet someone from the opposite sex who will help you on the job.

Your birthday month will be pleasant. Co-workers show respect and affection with parties and presents.

In the last weeks of 1988 money will be no problem. A small investment returns and you'll have money for shopping and even a short vacation. Be charming at business-related gatherings; big bosses will be watching. They have great plans for you in 1989. SAGITTARIUS (November 23 - December 21)

Once you get over the holidays, the year begins with a surge of activity. Things around your home command your attention. Get some estimates on repairs and make plans for some serious redecoration in the spring.

Younger people seek you out. They approve of your lifestyle and respect your ideas. This is study time. Look for a business course at your community college -- something to help you in your career.

Be careful in your dealings with the opposite sex. This is not the time for a romantic entanglement. Deal diplomatically with such overtures but keep them at arm's length. Your energy level is high, so get out in the cold and exercise.

As spring comes, think about some major purchases for your home. Replace the aging refrigerator or splurge for some new draperies. If you live alone, get expert advice; if you don't, be sure your mate is consulted.

This will be a busy and productive time on the job. You'll work hard and get some extra money for overtime. This is even a good time for some legal moonlighting.

Spring may see the departure of a friend, someone important to your career. Don't go into a great decline -- replacements will surround you. Count on the support of sympathetic co-workers.

Summer brings a lift in spirits. You receive the recognition you deserve at work. You'll enjoy your job, but you'll also enjoy being alone. This is a good time for a short vacation and spur-of-the-moment decisions. Don't set up a strict itinerary -- just be prepared to wander. If you are a painter, take your brushes; if not, take some lessons. Be careful, however, of accidents and sharp objects. Don't be careless with tools, and if you have car trouble, get professional help.

Fall is the time to concentrate on your job. Don't allow yourself to be distracted. Show your employers that you are a team player and curb a tendency to be too outspoken. You'll be looked to for steady leadership.

Cold days will see your social life expand. You'll be in great demand, especially for business-related parties. This will be another time for new friends. Your reputation precedes you, and new acquaintances will surround you. As the year ends, you are able to slow down. Enjoy the holidays with family and close friends, but let the rest of the world go by. CAPRICORN (December 22 - January 19)

The early days of 1988 will be an emotional roller-coaster for Capricorns. There will be days of great quiet which can be used for planning and taking care of routine things. Make those minor repairs at home, but don't get involved with a big project. Repair a chair that was broken at a holiday party. Set up your calendar and get the next few months organized. Be ready to advise a coworker who is having family problems.

On the other hand, there will be days of turmoil. You find yourself at odds with your marriage partner and astounded at the lack of understanding. If alone, you can be involved in a romantic mess. You'll wonder how you can feel so close to a person whose views are so opposite yours. Either way, counsel of an old friend helps smooth things out.

If you have thought about refinancing your home, now is the time to get started.

Spring is an easier time. You'll have a period of growth on the job. You'll be able to mask your internal tensions and take the lead in solving a longstanding problem. Appreciation will follow.

Be sure to schedule some time off. This year's emotional turmoil can make you physically ill. Check with your doctor. An eye examination is important at this time.

Your financial picture brightens, and you can start to rebuild after a stock market loss. Remain financially conservative -- a get-rich-quick scheme could really do you in. You're due for a little luck, so a trip to Atlantic City could be a fine diversion, but not very profitable.

As summer comes, take the first of a series of short vacations. Plan four or five this year; visit relatives and friends who'll be delighted to welcome you.

Think about your money. Consolidate your investments and your debts and make sure that you have a good retirement plan.

Fall brings a frustrating situation at home. A family member has a brush with the law or some official department, and you'll need to come to the rescue. Accept this responsibility gracefully. You'll receive invitations to high-level functions and, if you handle yourself correctly, will meet people who can be of service to you.

The colder days offer improvement in your life, but you'll have to work for it. Set a career goal, but realize that there will be obstructions. Long-term planning is the answer. Limit your holiday expenditures and don't try to buy favor with expensive gifts. AQUARIUS (January 20 - February 18)

No post-holiday doldrums for Aquarians in 1988. You'll be full of energy and won't like sitting around. You're very independent-minded and will strive to shake off constraints. Be patient with those who don't understand.

This is the time for shrewd evaluation. Take a hard look at your career and decide on a direction. If you have a feeling that you should change jobs, plan carefully now. Just don't burn any bridges.

Home base is the place for you at this time. Family and close friends surround you and will applaud your efforts at redecorating. And, even though you aren't all that flush, look for a present for yourself and your house. Something electronic is best.

During spring, entertain; don't do big formal parties, but instead small groups who will appreciate your wit. Spring is also the time for romance to bloom. If you have someone to share your love, this will be a time of warmth and understanding. If you're alone, you'll find a longtime, platonic relationship becomes much more.

At work, huddle with policymakers. Use all of your communications skills -- your ideas will be well received.

Live carefully -- even frugally -- now, and bank what you can. No large investments. You may face a new responsibility concerning a parent or older relative. This may strain your finances, but it is a duty you must perform.

Summer brings a return of optimism, but you can't go off half-cocked. Don't do things on impulse -- it's not your way. Don't sign contracts without advice and careful study. Don't be part of a spontaneous purchase by your employer. Most important, don't give advice to people who don't want it.

Romance returns to your life now. Your partner suggests a short trip to a romantic setting. Do it! If alone, you'll meet someone new and sparks will fly.

Fall means hard work. You'll be asked to implement your ideas, and this will take some doing. Surround yourself with co-workers you can trust. Recover from this work with some writing. A professional paper can bring you attention.

Winter sees a continuing of hard work and career reward. A promotion and message of thanks will cheer you up. Find time to help with a charity drive. Your ideas, more than your presence, will be needed. For the holidays, be social, conservative and friendly. PISCES (February 19 - March 20)

Be reasonable and calm as the year opens. Calm because there's nothing to stir you up, and reasonable because you should prepare for a year of shifting and changes. Take a short trip to talk about the future with an old friend. Indulge yourself with a new scarf or tie.

Look into some needed home repairs. Have your hot water heater inspected.

On the job, you are working hard at routine matters, but be sure you examine the overall picture and make plans to improve it. You'll feel more at ease with your co-workers and discover that most hold you in high esteem. Be sure to treat older employes with great dignity.

Spring brings a practical bent. Look for sales, stock up on staples and put off car repairs. On the job you will be able to organize some new systems, but it will take time and a great deal of effort. Be prepared for long hours.

After your hard days, relax at home with a book or a close friend. Be aware, however, that this is not the time to mix business and romance. The opportunity is there, but avoid it. Be wary, too, of people who would use your friendship for ulterior purposes.

Your bank account is now in better shape, so discuss with a trusted adviser or relative your need to build a long-term financial program. You'll be making more money now, and must not squander it.

Warmer days of summer see things heat up at your workplace. All at once new, high-tech devices are introduced, but you will feel that concepts are moving backwards. You'll have to be a leader in the struggle for better on-the-job training. Be independent but diplomatic.

Be careful of one who would sweet-talk you out of your savings: No "big deals" for you at this time.

Fall is vacation time. Get as far from home as possible, and combine a hobby with your trip. Photography, painting or collecting all fit in. Take along a new astrology book.

Romance returns to your life, but briefly. The disagreements outnumber the good times. You'll find, however, that where romance fails, friendship is steadfast.

Colder days see tensions ease. You'll be irritated at your work schedule but pleased at a letter of praise. You need to rest, and above all avoid colds and respiratory ills.

Be selective with holiday purchases. Buy only for a few, but buy only quality gifts.

Carl Kramer is an editor in The Post's Weekly section and a longtime amateur astrologer.