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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

Five Tips to Financial Wellness

Finances can be complex. It's easy to become overwhelmed with choices, economic theories, financial forecasters, and news reports. At times it's tempting to throw up your hands and feel like you have no control over your financial security.

Life is complex too. And yet, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum" has quite a bit of common sense and validity to it. Is there an "all I need to know ..." version for finances?

I was listening to a recent financial wellness presentation by a college student lately, and she presented Five Tips to Financial Wellness (designed for college students):

  • Track your expenses
  • Create and maintain a budget
  • SAVE!
  • Pay your bills on time
  • Seek help if you have questions

Do these tips apply to others as well as college students? I think so.

  • Tracking your expenses means you will know where your money is going.
  • Budgeting allows you to direct your money towards the things in life that are important to you, and helps you spend less than your income.
  • Savings provide you with flexibility when opportunities arise and when you have unexpected expenses – not to mention future financial security in retirement!
  • Paying your bills on time is the best way possible to build a good credit history.
  • And seeking help if you have questions is always a good idea.

University of Illinois Extension has lots of unbiased, research-based sources of information to help you maintain your financial wellness. Here are some resources you may find helpful:

Is financial wellness really this simple? What is missing? Let me know your thoughts about this!

Perhaps when our national economic situation seems to be too complex to predict what might happen tomorrow, next year, or in twenty years, we need to refocus our energies on those financial aspects of our life that we can control. And what can we control?

The five tips to financial wellness is a good place to start. Once these areas are under control we can think about other aspects of our financial life where we can make positive changes. Although I can't control whether I will be employed (and have an income) come January or not, I CAN complete job applications and submit them. I can sign up for continuing education so that I continue to be employable. I can cut back on family expenses. I can continue to save money for retirement now while I am employed. I can rebalance my investment portfolio.

What CAN YOU do now to control your future financial security?

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