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ICFE's Top Five Money Do's For Consumers

San Diego, CA "Most people only need to remember about five, common sense things when dealing with their finances to avoid costly mistakes and even greater debt accumulation" says the nonprofit Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE), a San Diego based group helping consumers become better spenders, regular savers and wise users of credit.

"More Americans are paying off short term credit card debt than ever before and developing new money management skills should become a natural part of the process of debt elimination," said ICFE executive director, Paul Richard, who was bankrupt at age 25 and now helps consumers avoid the pitfalls of excessive debt.

"Knowledge and financial self discipline are the consumers best defense, even in a soft economy, to avoid compounding past mistakes and avoiding new money missteps" says Richard. The top five 'money-do's' are:

1. Obtain and maintain your financial education to be in a position to make intelligent spending and other financial decisions. This helps one avoid becoming overconfident and unprepared.

2. Project your income and expenses for the next twelve months and then track the variances. This is another form of budgeting and developing a spending-plan promotes better spending decisions. Spend money thinking of your future as well as your present. You have an obligation to be as good to the person you are going to be in 20, 30 or 40 years from now as you are to yourself today.

3. When investing, focus on the relationship between the risk and the projected return of your investments. Many investors overlook the possibility of not getting their entire investment back because they are focusing on early, high-end returns. Have a plan and a purpose for your investing. Focus on making good decisions rather than beating out a real or an imagined opponent.

4. Maintain organized records for tax and general financial planning purposes. This is often as easy as having twelve envelopes, one for each month, and placing all pertinent financial statements, receipts etc. into an envelope monthly.

5. Manage your money so expenses don't exceed income. Everyday spending decisions, especially credit based one, will have a far greater negative effect on one's financial future than any investment decision one is likely to ever make.