4 Financial Skills Everyone Should Master

The economy still isn’t out of the woods.  Many people still feel the pressure of a sluggish financial landscape.   As the year begins, it’s good to get some financial goals in place.  The fundamentals are a must to start with:

  1. Spending – Spend less than you make.  If you need to make adjustments in your spending, buckle down and do it.  Also, you’ll want to include in your budget the next three items.
  2. Debt – If you have credit card or other unsecured personal debt, work on paying it down.  Pay the biggest amount possible on the debt with the highest rate.   If you’re working on spending, the debt won’t increase.
  3. Emergency savings – Put money away for emergencies.  You want to have some money that you can use to cover unexpected financial needs.  If you have no emergency funds, work toward 5% of your pre-tax income.
  4. Retirement savings – Things will get better in the financial world, so save toward not having to work to cover expenses.  If your employer matches part of what you contribute, get to that level as quickly as possible.

If you’ve got these under control, get with a fee-only financial planner to work on some bigger goals.  The financial world will get better.  The faster we all get away from the behaviors that brought on the meltdown, the faster the economy will get better.

About the author

Linda Y. Leitz, CFP®, EA, CDFA

Linda Y. Leitz is a fee-only Certified Financial Planner™ and has been in the financial industry since 1979. She is also enrolled to practice before the Internal Revenue Service. Before becoming a financial professional, Linda held several executive positions in the banking industry. She began her career as a bank examiner. Linda has a BBA in Business Administration from Principia College and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.
As a fee-only financial planner Linda is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, the Financial Planning Association, the National Association of Tax Professionals and the Alliance of Cambridge Advisors. As a leader in the financial planning industry, Linda is the author of the book titled "The Ultimate Parenting Map to Money Smart Kids". She has been quoted in several national publications including the Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, and Morningstar Advisor and she has appeared on CSNBC. She also works as a volunteer instructor to new financial advisors with the Alliance of Cambridge Advisors.

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  • Dear Linda,

    I am trying very hard to stop living paycheck to paycheck but there seems to never be any leftover money from my paycheck to save. I make 730.00 a week and have only 625.00 in rent and a 225.00 monthly expense. Those are the only 2 things that have got to come out of my paycheck

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