SOURCE: Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.

CFP Board

December 18, 2009 12:20 ET

Learn to Manage Your Personal Finances: Become Financially Literate

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - December 18, 2009) -


The New Financial Realities: Personal Statement by Eleanor Blayney, CFP® Consumer Advocate for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board):

If you were to test yourself on your financial knowledge, what score would you give yourself? How confident are you that you have the basic financial know-how to take control of your future? The financial events of the last year have shown as that we can no longer afford to be financially illiterate or even "below grade level." The more you know about how to manage your money, the more prepared you will be to face the tough times that come with inevitable business cycles.

Over the course of this "New Financial Realities" series, we have looked at ways we need to adjust our personal finance strategies to come out on top during difficult times. This week and the last of our nine part series: Become financially literate.

According to a recent survey done by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 41% of Americans gave themselves a grade of "C" or lower when it came to personal finance. Hardly a passing grade, given that understanding how money and investments work is not an elective course. It is rather a prerequisite to a secure future.

We need to learn the language of money and become active participants in our financial future. Most of us know the importance of our medical numbers: our weight, our blood pressure, our body mass index. It's just as important to know your financial numbers: the amount of your debt, tax liability, credit score, and monthly expenses. Take some time to get to know yourself financially. Take a week, or better still, a month to record what you spend. That knowledge alone usually leads to ideas on ways to reduce your expenses. Set short term goals and long term goals, such as paying off your debt, setting up an educational fund for your children, and planning your retirement. Your goals should be specific, realistic, and measurable so that you can easily keep track of them. Make yourself accountable to someone you trust: a spouse, a friend, a CFP® professional.

As the Consumer Advocate for CFP Board, I urge you to get educated, know your numbers and gain the confidence to take charge of your finances As you consider your personal finances remember you're not alone. There are more than 60,000 CFP® professionals who can help you build new income, investing, and spending strategies for surviving and thriving in your retirement. Go to www.cfp.net and learn how a CFP® professional can help you.

To view the new financial realities series, please visit http://www.cfp.net/learn/advocate.asp

Eleanor on Twitter: http://twitter.com/EleanorBlayney

Eleanor on FiLife: http://www.filife.com/user/eleanorblayney

Eleanor on LifeTuner: http://www.lifetuner.org/users/eleanorblayney

About CFP Board:

The mission of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for personal financial planning. The Board of Directors, in furthering CFP Board's mission, acts on behalf of the public, CFP® certificants and other stakeholders. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements. CFP Board currently authorizes more than 60,000 individuals to use these marks in the United States. For more about CFP Board, visit www.CFP.net.

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