Personal Money Management: Dos and Don’ts for 2009

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

What a day! I met with a total of six different clients, updating their portfolios and helping them set financial goals for 2009. This is what I love the most about this time of the year: change is in the air, and people want to know what they can change in order for this year to bring them closer to their financial goals and dreams. While the unique circumstances – and actions needed – are different in each case, below is a list of general money management dos and don’ts for 2009:

  1. Don’t cease to contribute to your retirement accounts no matter how the market is performing.
  2. Do make sure you have emergency cash at hand – aim for six months worth of living expenses.
  3. Don’t try to predict the future. We are all tempted to do it – but believe me, you are better off spending your time and energy on improving your own situation.
  4. Do save. One good thing about the recession is that it makes us think twice about overspending. You now need your saved dollars more than ever.
  5. Don’t give up on the stock markets. With prices for stocks and mutual funds invested in stocks the lowest in years, this is also the best buying opportunity in a decade.
  6. Do invest internationally. Not only do the fundamentals look better for a good deal of developing markets than for the US, but it is also a wonderful way to diversify your portfolio.
  7. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify.
  8. Do track your spending. Most people have an Achilles heel – one area where they literally leak money. Finding this Achilles heel and becoming aware of it can make all the difference for your financial future.
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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.