Personal finance is a huge topic of discussion across dinner tables and coffee shops around the world. It's a topic that touches every generation, class and ethnicity. With all of the finance gurus on tv and online sorting out the right information can be challenging. Here are 10 practical steps to getting your finances on track.
Top 10 things to know when budgeting your money and setting financial priorities.
1. Narrow your objectives. You probably won't be able to achieve every financial goal you've ever dreamed of. So identify your goals clearly and why they matter to you, and decide which are most important. By concentrating your efforts, you have a better chance of achieving what matters most.
2. Focus first on the goals that matter. To accomplish primary goals, you will often need to put desirable but less important ones on the back burner.
3. Be prepared for conflicts. Even worthy goals often conflict with one another. When faced with such a conflict, you should ask yourself questions like: Will one of the conflicting goals benefit more people than the other? Which goal will cause the greater harm if it is deferred?
4. Put time on your side. The most important ally you have in reaching your goals is time. Money stashed in interest-earning savings accounts or invested in stocks and bonds grows and compounds. The more time you have, the more chance you have of success. Your age is a big factor - younger people (who have more time to build their nest egg) can invest differently than older ones. Generally, younger people can take greater risks than older people, given their longer investment horizon.
5. Choose carefully. In drawing up your list of goals, you should look for things that will help you feel financially secure, happy or fulfilled. Some of the items that wind up on such lists include building an emergency fund, getting out of debt and paying kids' tuitions. Once you have your list together, you need to rank the items in order of importance (if you have trouble doing so, use the CNNMoney.com Prioritizer for help).