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Money is a stressful topic for many people. Learning how to manage money successfully to successfully manage money is not a subject taught in school, and many of us are left to figure it out on our own once we reach adulthood. Fortunately, there are many resources that can help people learn to live financially secure lives. Here are three steps to building healthy financial habits:

  1. Become familiar with your finances: although it seems like an obvious step, it is crucial to have a realistic understanding of your current financial state so that you can make changes. Some aspects of your money life to become familiar with include: your actual take-home paycheck, your tax bracket, and its ramifications, your debt, and all the costs associated with your living situation. This will help you to assess where you might be able to save or spend more money, as well as give insight into why you are where you are financially.
  2. Make a plan: once you have a solid grasp of the intricacies of your money, you can make decisions on how to proceed with improving your financial situation. A workable budget is necessary, as that will provide a daily blueprint of how you want to utilize your money. Tracking your expenses will allow you to see exactly where your money is going. Choosing a method to pay down and eventually eliminate your debt is vital. Allocating capital to separate accounts for living, emergency savings, and goals will help you stay organized. Long-term investments, such as a 401(K) or IRA, will be important for future success. Using credit cards wisely will reduce your debt risk. All of these items, and more, can be included in a plan that you design for the financial future that you want.
  3. Persevere: changing your entire money mindset will not happen immediately. In all likelihood, it will take a significant amount of time to reach your financial goals. You will need to be determined and disciplined if you want to change your relationship with money. Having a budget that allows you to have fun and pursue enjoyable goals, such as saving for a Hawaiian vacation, is also important. Healthy financial habits are meant to enhance your life and provide you with stability, not eliminate all avenues of joy. Finding a balance between the two is the key. Perseverance will help you to find your balance.