March-Madness Things are heating up with March Madness beginning this week, and many of us are scrambling to pick our favorite teams and fill out our tournament brackets. So, why not apply the same concept to your finances? Check out Financial Four, an interactive bracket developed by the National Endowment for Financial Education and the Financial Planning Association to help you identify the financial areas that are most important to you.

How to Begin:

On the interactive web page, the topics are divided into four groups:

  1. Growing Your Money
  2. Spending Wisely
  3. Protecting Your Money
  4. Learning About Money 

Rank each topic until you advance your selections to your #1 financial priority. Clicking submit shows how users’ answers compare to financial experts! Each item on the list is also linked to a helpful resource for financial information. It’s as easy as that! Interested in what your financial priorities are? Click here to play!

Now that you have filled out your bracket, what did you come up with? Is it establishing an emergency savings or using credit responsibly? Was it living within your means or ensuring job security?

Expert financial planners and advisors recommend the following as their top suggested “financial four” priorities:

  1. Live Within Your Means. This was the top choice among financial planners and advisors. Spending less than you earn and living within your income allowance is the best way to ensure you meet your financial goals.
  2. Pay Yourself First. Every time you receive a paycheck, save a certain percentage of your income before spending money on anything else.
  3. Rein in Debt. Have less than 15 to 20 percent of your income earmarked for debt payments – excluding mortgage debt. If you pay more than this, you’re in the danger zone and potentially in over your head with debt.
  4. Maintain Adequate Insurance. Ensure your financial security by having adequate insurance coverage in place for health, disability, long-term care, auto, homeowners’, and renters’ to protect yourself and your assets.

Now What?

Well now that you have filled out your bracket the only thing left to do is create an action plan! Make it a goal in 2015 to focus on your/or the recommended financial priorities, and you will be on your way to creating a successful financial future.  Easy enough right?

Share with us your final four financial priorities in a comment below!

Until Next Time,

Jessica M

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