7 Steps to Financial Fitness

1/14/2022 Marine Bank


Achieving financial fitness requires discipline and determination over the long term, just like running a marathon. CFA Institute believes that becoming financially fit means feeling good and confident about your financial situation. It means being able to manage your money in order to meet your current and long-term needs. As with any type of training, becoming financially fit requires learning the principles and best practices that others have used to achieve their financial objectives.

To begin your training toward a more secure financial future, follow these 7 Steps to Financial Fitness:

  • You can’t reach your goals if you don’t set them
  • Planning how to use savings and investments to reach your goals is key
  • Determine how much you need to save over time to finance your dreams
  • Include an emergency fund in your financial goals
  • Create a budget that includes necessities, required expenditures, discretionary items, and the periodic savings necessary to finance long-term financial goals
  • Track your spending. Compare it regularly against your budget and make changes to your spending habits where necessary
  • Use the knowledge and skills you gain over time to spend less where possible and save more
  • Curtailing the use of debt to consume is crucial when trying to optimize savings and investment capital
  • Avoid high-interest rates and potential fees by minimizing the use of credit cards
  • Build a debt management strategy to reduce and eliminate high-interest debt and to accelerate the payment of debts like student loans and your mortgage if they are a priority
  • Put money in your savings account using direct deposit so that you don’t spend it.
  • Make sure regular contributions make it into retirement and other investing accounts
  • Use autopay to manage and pay recurring bills like mortgage or student loan payments.
  • Use a money management application to help track payments and other expenditures
  • Spending does not have to grow at the same rate as income
  • Growth in income, bonuses, and other windfalls can increase savings and investment accounts
  • Keeping expenditures relatively constant over time is a key method in achieving a secure financial future
  • Establish a low-cost, globally diversified portfolio that’s appropriate to achieve both short- and long-term goals
  • Use a broadly diversified portfolio of global stocks and bonds to obtain a proper return in regards to our attitude about, and ability to take, financial risk
  • Where appropriate, think long-term and don’t be overly focused on the short-term performance of your investments. Stick to your investment plan and review your portfolio periodically to stay on track
  • Being financially fit means understanding and utilizing the main principles and best practices in saving and investing
  • When needed, get help from an accredited investment adviser that can help you build an investment plan and portfolio to meet your financial needs

Like any type of training, taking the steps to financial fitness isn’t easy. It takes time, energy, and the discipline to obtain and hone the necessary skills over time. The best part of the 7 Steps to Financial Fitness is that they apply to anyone, regardless of how old you are, where you come from, or how much money you earn. These principles work because they are proven to help people optimize their savings, which can then be utilized to meet current financial needs and build long-term wealth.

CFA Institute and the Future of Finance initiative believes that financial markets are more effective when participants are knowledgeable. The Future of Finance is a long-term, global effort to shape a trustworthy, forward-thinking investment profession that better serves society.

To learn more, please visit www.cfainstitute.org/futurefinance.

With help from our financial advisor, Dallas Lee Whittaker, you can manage your finances and achieve your goals. 

Dallas Lee Whittaker


(217) 547-1371

I would like to learn more about Marine Bank's Financial Planning program. Please contact me

Dallas Lee Whittaker CFP®, CMFC®, CLU® 
Senior Vice President

Dallas has over 20 years of experience in all areas of wealth management and financial services. He is passionate about adding value to the lives of his clients through education and addressing their financial goals in a collaborative manner. With a deep knowledge of insurance which is an added benefit when doing financial planning, Dallas is an asset to our clients and the Marine Bank Wealth Management team.

Dallas is a Certified Financial Planner™ and currently holds a Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC) designation awarded through the College for Financial Planning and a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation through the American College. As Senior Vice President of the Marine Bank Wealth Management Department, Dallas focuses on comprehensive financial planning to help individuals and businesses achieve peace of mind in their financial lives with an emphasis on retirement strategies, legacy planning, and generational wealth management.

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