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Building Block #1 Pay yourself first.

Each month, before spending any money, put a small amount in an account specifically for long-term goals and unexpected emergencies.

Building Block #2 Know your income.

Before committing to long-term expenses, estimate how much income you'll receive over the life of the commitment. Consider the expenses you already have, as well as any surprises that might come up.

Building Block #3 Budget your money.

Create an annual budget of your expected income and expenses. This will serve as a guide to help you live within your means, and that's a great lesson to live by for the rest of your life!

Building Block #4 Don't expect something for nothing.

Be wary of advertisements, salespeople or other sources promising anything free. There's usually a catch. Remember this always: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Building Block #5 Map your financial future.

Take the time to list your financial goals for the next few years. Then come up with a realistic plan for achieving them.

Building Block #6 Start saving young.

Recognize that your total savings are determined both by the interest you earn on those savings and the time period over which you save. So the sooner you start saving, the more money you'll have over time.

Building Block #7 Compare the features.

Choosing between two similar products? While one may be slightly cheaper, it may not perform as well or last as long as the one that costs a little more. A lower price may not be a better value over time.

Building Block #8 High return equals high risk.

In most cases, the higher the interest rate, the higher the risk of losing some, or all, of the money you invest.

Building Block #9 Your credit past is your credit future.

The three credit bureaus maintain credit reports. These will record your history of loan-repayment. Negative information on your report will affect your ability to borrow in the future. This will become important when you look to buy a car or home.

Building Block #10 Be a responsible borrower.

Don't borrow what you can't repay. This helps build good credit history and shows that you are worthy of getting credit in the future.