Rework The Hierarchy of (Financial) NeedsWe are committed to helping you build a strong financial foundation and make the smartest financial decisions possible so you can enjoy your life. We have met with over 12,000 working Americans one-on-one, and the most common financial queries we hear are “What should I be doing with my money?” and “What is the next best financial step for me to take?” These exact questions spurred the creation of our “Hierarchy of Financial Needs,” which serves as the framework for our financial wellness programs. Our hierarchy helps all people, no matter what their financial situations may be, determine the best places to put their hard-earned dollars. We use this hierarchy to guide individuals as we work with them to properly prioritize their financial lives to help them achieve their unique financial goals.

Before exploring this hierarchy, it’s important to know what your current financial situation is. Take some time to review your monthly spending to ensure you know where every dollar you earn is going. If you have not done so, check out our “Dollars and Sense” workshop for our budgeting basics and tools. Our spending plan in that curriculum will help you identify the areas you are doing well in and the areas where you are perhaps spending too much or too little. Once you have a sense of your current financial picture, think of our hierarchy as your linear road map to financial success and independence. Our hierarchy begins at the bottom with the most important needs and highest priority items with each step building on the previous one until you reach the top.

Everyone is currently somewhere on this hierarchy. Ideally, you want to fully meet the goals of one level before moving up to the next rung; however, we recognize that life does not always allow you to move in such an orderly fashion. You may find yourself needing to re-establish a lower level before resuming your progression on the hierarchy if a situation caused you to tap into the funds on a lower rung. Additionally, after successfully making it through the hierarchy, you may find yourself needing to revisit certain steps to make adjustments to account for any changes to your financial life, such as salary increases, job changes, new expenses, and living costs, to name a few. This is part of the work involved in building a strong financial foundation that empowers you throughout the innate growing pains of your financial life.

Once you have a sense of your current financial picture, you are ready to line it up against our “Hierarchy of Financial Needs.” Our “Money Milestones” workshop takes you through each step on our hierarchy and comprises helpful tips and activities designed to help you build a personal financial plan specific to your financial life. We know simply getting over the first step, having $1,000 in emergency savings, can be a challenging barrier, but as we take you through our modules, we hope you will walk away with actionable steps that you can implement to help you work your way up our pyramid and achieve financial success. 

Begin Exploring the Hierarchy