How to Start a Personal Finance Strategy

The economic storm is not over, but there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke issued a statement last week saying that the U.S. economy is stabilizing and will begin to rebound later this year, but the recovery will be slow and cautious.

So what does that mean for us? This is actually the perfect time to set your personal financial strategy so you are well positioned to obtain your goals and priorities once the market does recover.

The financial strategy process is based on you as an individual -- you and your spouse, or your immediate family. Think about your life goals. Do you want to purchase your first home? Are you hoping to retire in the next few years? Once this is determined, you should analyze your portfolio and compare it to your current personal or household strategy. Is it aligned? Is your portfolio consistent with the life priorities you just laid out?

You absolutely cannot build a foundation for financial success when you start with a product. You build and maintain wealth by choosing your personal strategy first, then looking at the financial products that will best support it.

Make it a priority to set your financial strategies now so you can successfully weather this economic storm and come out on top when it stabilizes.

Julie Murphy Casserly, CLU, ChFC, CFP®, is a contributor to On The Money. As a 14-year veteran of the financial services industry and founder of JMC Wealth Management in Chicago, Julie helps people understand how their emotional attitudes and behaviors affect how they earn, spend and save. She is author of The Emotion Behind Money: Building Wealth from the Inside Out.