Ever since the economy and the stock market became front-page headlines in the midst of the deep recession, people have been talking about "financial literacy." That's a bit like locking the barn door after the horse is out! But amid all the problems, it's good that there's finally recognition that personal finance is an important part of everyone's education. And now there are new techniques and technologies that make it much simpler to gain control of your money—and your financial planning.

The first step in planning is getting organized. It will help you in your everyday money management, as well as planning for your future. Don't be afraid of technology. New devices and new online services give you an incredible edge in watching, managing, deciding, and organizing your finances.

You can avoid expensive over-limit charges on your credit card, by using your cell phone to get an instant view of your account. You can pay your bills on time, by scheduling them on your bank's web site, or through a computer program. And you can easily track your daily spending to see if you're exceeding the budget you've created. There are even web sites that let you compare your spending habits with others in similar circumstances—taking social networking to a new level.

Having your finances well-organized is a must, whether you're doing your own planning or seeking advice from others. You'll save time and energy if you can present your advisers with your complete ...

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