Financial Bracketology: Experts Rank Top Fiscal Priorities

Money Madness is Under Way with the Financial Four

Date: March 19, 2013

Contact: Paul Golden 303-224-3514, [email protected]

DENVER—March Madness finds millions of Americans prioritizing their NCAA brackets vying to select the top four teams that represent the best in the country. With the Financial Four people also have a way to prioritize their financial goals.

The National Endowment for Financial Education and the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) again are partnering on the Financial Four (www.financialfour.org), an interactive bracket of 32 concepts that helps users identify the financial areas that are most important to them. Expert financial planners and advisors also used the bracket to weigh in on what they recommend people should be thinking about as their top financial priorities in 2013.

“Identifying and managing priorities is the key to keeping your financial life in order. The NEFE/FPA Financial Four takes the madness out of ranking your fiscal responsibilities,” says Ted Beck, president and CEO of NEFE. “Everyone wins by participating in this bracket.”

“FPA and our expert CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ members are excited to team with NEFE again to guide the public on this year’s top financial priorities,” says FPA CEO Lauren M. Schadle, CAE. “Americans are increasingly responsible for an overwhelming amount of financial choices. Our goal is to provide insight on what they should be thinking about when developing their financial plans.”

Experts identify the top financial priority

Is it establishing an emergency savings or using credit responsibly? Is it more important to have open communication about finances with family members or calculate how much you need for retirement? Using rankings from nearly 300 CFP® professionals from FPA membership, advisors-turned-bracketologists logged on to www.financialfour.org and ranked their top priorities for Americans to focus on in 2013.

Based on their voting results, NEFE and the FPA announce the 2013 Financial Four:

  1. Live Within Your Means. By nearly 2-to-1, this was the top choice among financial planners and advisors. Spending less than you earn and living within your income allowance is the best way to ensure you meet your financial goals.

  2. Protect Yourself with Adequate Insurance. Ensure your financial security by having adequate insurance coverage in place for health, disability, long-term care, auto, homeowners’ and renters’ to protect yourself and your assets.

  3. Tackle Debt. If you are burdened with a lot of debt, now is the time to honestly assess how much you owe and establish a payoff plan. Immediately stop running up new charges, cut expenses, and prioritize your debt by paying off the highest interest rate accounts first, then applying extra money to the next account when paid off.

  4. Build an Emergency Savings Account. Prepare for the unexpected by having this important reserve. Keep this account separate from your other savings and aim for three to six months of living expenses. Starting with a small reasonable goal—as little as $500—will help springboard you toward this goal. Your 2013 tax refund may provide a great way to start.

What is your Financial Four? Complete your own bracket at www.financialfour.org. Prioritizing your financial goals is just the first step. For resources, tools and encouragement on successfully managing your finances, visit www.smartaboutmoney.org. Do you need a financial planner? Visit FPA PlannerSearch to connect with highly qualified CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals from the Financial Planning Association.

About the Financial Four

The Financial Four, a joint project of the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA), is designed to help people identify their top financial priorities. The interactive bracket allows users to rank each topic until they advance their selections to the top choice. To complete the bracket online, visit www.financialfour.org.

About the Financial Planning Association (FPA)

The FPA is the largest membership organization for CFP® professionals in the U.S. and includes those from all backgrounds and business models. FPA members adhere to the highest standards of professional competence, ethical conduct and clear, complete disclosure to those they serve. Based in Denver, Colo., FPA works in alliance with academic leaders, legislative and regulatory bodies, financial services firms and consumer interest organizations. For more information about FPA, visit www.FPAnet.org.

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Contacts

  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]

  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

    Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

    Direct: 303-224-3538
    [email protected]

Contacts

  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]

  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

    Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

    Direct: 303-224-3538
    [email protected]