9 critical money skills you need for a successful financial life

Tools of the trade

Money skills are like tools: It helps to have a nice assortment.

Chances are, like the carpenter trying to fix a leaky faucet, you may be stronger in some areas than others. A woman who saves every spare dime might be lousy at tracking her spending. Or the guy who knows his available balance to the penny may not know how to shop around for a better deal.

Want to do a better job with your money this year? Here are 9 money skills that everyone — kids and grown-ups alike — needs. How many of them are already in your toolbox?

Make math work for you

Want to demonstrate for your kids some real-world math? Forget those grade-school word problems involving 2 trains leaving a station traveling at different speeds.

Instead, use those math skills to let the kiddies figure out how much is left in the average checking account after they pay all the bills and restock the fridge.

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