How to improve financial health


Michael Ravenscraft, MS, CPA, Financial Education Specialist, Jefferson County, University of Missouri Extension

Many consider the new year as a chance for renewal, giving us a fresh outlook. Often we are conscious of our physical health and changes we can make physically. In much the same way, we can use this time to focus more on our financial health to determine where our family money is going and why.

After facing one of the deepest recessions in recent history, many of us have a greater appreciation for the value of a dollar. We may realize we can do without some things we thought we needed as we better distinguish between our needs and wants.

Here are some steps to making powerful positive change in our financial lives by looking at what we’re doing right — and what we can improve.

  1. Gather information, and then write it down! When people make a decision to improve their physical health, one of the first things they do is to get on the scale. Why? Because they need to know what they currently weigh. Regarding our finances, we also need to know where we stand in our financial lives.
  2. Determine what you own. Make a list of assets, like bank accounts and investments, along with other items you own.
  3. Write down what you owe and to whom. This is the starting point, where you are today…

For the complete list of steps and additional tips, read the full version of this article at


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