How to Apply Career Skills to Your Financial Life

Here are eight career skills that can apply to your financial life.

If you've been in the workforce for any length of time, you're familiar with the concept of transferable skills — those versatile proficiencies that carry over from one role to another. But did you know many of your professional skills can apply to your finances, as well? Here are eight best practices from the business world that can help you succeed in the financial one.

1. Strategic Planning

In business, board members and executives envision how the company should look in the future, set goals and objectives that will make that vision a reality, and list specific action steps toward those goals. You must set financial goals, as well. Retirement planning, starts with an overall vision and continues to build upon the small steps to help you achieve your goal, says Cameron Simmons, Senior Vice President & Wealth Advisor for Regions Private Wealth Management in Nashville, Tennessee. You picture how you'd like to live, and set your goals and priorities accordingly. "This might include how much to save in a 401(k), after tax retirement accounts, and paying down debt prior to retirement," she says.

2. Performance Reviews

Most companies give employees annual evaluations to discuss successes, deficiencies, goals, and expectations. Similarly, financial planning should involve a regular portfolio review to determine whether your short- and long-term goals are addressed in your investment strategies.

3. Measuring Return on Investment

Workplace decisions often are based on return on investment (ROI). Many of the same rules can apply to your financial life. In addition to measuring the ROI of investments like money market accounts and bonds, track the financial and time resources put into a rental property, your child's education, and an addition to your house, Simmons says. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to give you more confidence around these kinds of investments.

4. Continuing Education

"You said that in your business, it is important to stay on top of your professional development," Simmons says. "The same can be said in your financial life. This doesn't necessarily mean keeping apprised of market trends. This can certainly help you get ahead financially, but you don't have to follow the stock market to improve your financial acumen. Read books and periodicals about personal finance, suggest a relevant title to your book club, or start an investment club and learn alongside your peers."

5. Networking

As a professional, you probably network with people you trust who can offer career opportunities or bring business, or vice versa. Your financial relationships should be built on trust, as well. You might consider your contacts' recommendations and referrals when hiring a financial advisor, tax professional, or attorney.  With your investments, you might even research companies you admire, respect, and do business with, or socially responsible investments.

6. Organization and Discipline

"You work with some executives who are very organized at work, but when it comes to their finances, they approach them with less organization," Simmons says. Rather than allow bills and statements to stack up, keep your financial goals on track by automating bill payments and monthly transfers to savings and retirement accounts. Just as there are annual reviews in the workplace, Simmons, recommends that you take the time to complete an annual review on all of your financial goals whether they are retirement, large purchases, or education funding.

7. Set Aside Emotions

You keep your emotions in check when you make business decisions, and you should do the same with financial decisions. Market volatility can cause discomfort and fear, so make sure that any actions you take with regard to your investments during these times are taken after thoughtful, informed consideration.

8. Calculated Risks

Entrepreneurs in particular understand that they'll never make it big without taking risks. If you want big investment returns, you may need to tolerate some risk, as well. If you're a risk-averse investor, you can assemble a conservative portfolio with lower returns, but with still some degree of risk. Your advisor can help you determine your risk tolerance and investment objectives so that your portfolio is no riskier than it needs to be to meet your financial goals.

For more tips on taking control of your finances, check out our financial planning process calendar with ideas for each month.


This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented. Information provided and statements made by employees of Regions should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.