As I progress in my studies for the AFC®, I realize just how valuable a budget is and that it really is the foundation to having your finances in order.

This is especially evident as I read through the chapter focused on investments. In order to invest, I need to accumulate the money, which starts by adjusting my budget based on my current lifestyle and goals.

This brings up the idea of opportunity costs, and an important question: what am I willing to do without so that I can realize my financial goals? Perhaps that question gets you thinking about what is most important in your life now and in the future. This is also important because one must know where they are now (point A) in order to reach point B.

As I read through this chapter, I find myself going back over my budget and making necessary adjustments as I learn creative strategies that will make my money grow. I also found helpful links to compare interest rates, such as This helps me determine which strategy suits me best.

As a result of preparing for certification exams, I am indirectly managing my personal finances and have increased my level of confidence.

I cannot emphasize enough how easy it is to gain control of your financial situation with proper education, provided in tangible, logical steps. Studying for the AFC turns what feels like an impossible task into a very rewarding experience. Becoming an AFC takes away the intimidation that comes with dealing with your own finances, and that of others.

Nadia Marquez, Master of Science Student in Personal Financial Planning at Texas Tech University 
AFC® University program student

April 25, 2014

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