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<div class="articlepullquote">Ten steps to a savvy financial future
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<div class="articlehasauthor">by Bruce Lindsay
<span class="xmlhead3">1. Live for today and plan for tomorrow.
Why do the majority of people fail to achieve financial independence? Not because they planned to fail, but because they failed to plan. Create a personal and family financial plan so that you have clearly defined goals or targets. Save enough to reach that goal, then spend the rest without any guilt.

<span class="xmlhead3">2. Pay yourself first.
Get into the habit of saving/investing for yourself and your family first every month, rather than waiting to see if anything is left over once everyone else has been paid. Automatic monthly debits are a fantastic way to ensure you pay yourself first.

<span class="xmlhead3">3. Review your current life and disability insurance coverage and make sure you have enough.
Waiting to do this is akin to the boater who waits until the ship is going down before getting a life jacket. If you haven't already got insurance coverage by the time you need it, it's too late.

<span class="xmlhead3">4. Lead by example.
The surest way to teach your kids financial discipline and independence is to practice it yourself. Children will pick up on both good and bad habits. Start by getting your will in place or updating the one you did years and years ago.

<span class="xmlhead3">5. Work with a financial advisor.
Study after study shows that investors who work with financial advisors do better in the long run than those who try to do it all themselves. Much as we'd like to think otherwise, we are all so busy that we do need a professional working for us on a full-time basis. Get referrals from those you trust, and make sure the advisor has the proper training and credentials to suit your specific situation.

<span class="xmlhead3">6. Remember, it's never too late or too early to start planning.
Don't beat yourself up too badly about what little financial planning you've done; rather, focus that energy and time on constructive ways to move forward. It's never too early to start planning for your children's financial future. When asked to comment on what he thought was the most powerful phenomenon, Albert Einstein responded, "compound interest." Use it to your advantage!

<span class="xmlhead3">7. Involve your children in at least one more financial discussion this year than you did last year.
The two things financial clients say they wish their parents had discussed with them more when they were young are finances and sex. Compared to the birds and the bees, finances should be easy!

<span class="xmlhead3">8. Read a book.
No one will ever care more about your family's financial well-being than you. Some helpful books are: <span class="xmlbook">THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR , <span class="xmlbook">THE PIG AND THE PYTHON, <span class="xmlbook">BOOMENOMICS, <span class="xmlbook">RISK IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD, and <span class="xmlbook">THE GREAT BOOM AHEAD.

<span class="xmlhead3">9. Do planning-focused planning rather than product-focused planning.
Far too many people focus the majority of their time and effort on the financial products they buy versus what they want the end result to be. This leads to piece-meal planning with no direction. Be as clear as possible about what you want the end result to be, and your financial advisor will help with the product selection.

<span class="xmlhead3">10. Have fun.
Nobody has a lease on life, and you have enough things to worry about that you don't need to worry about your finances. Take the initial time to identify the important goals in your life, then have a professional help you put together a financial plan to save enough to achieve your goals. This will give you peace of mind and allow you to get out there and enjoy life.

<span class="xmlbio">Bruce Lindsay is a financial advisor and president of Lindsay Financial, which specializes in investment and retirement planning.

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