If you're put off by the term 'financial planning' and you wonder whether you could ever be financially secure, fear not. These simple steps can take you there:


* Spend less than you make. Most people don't. Fine-tune your expenses so they fall below your take-home pay and leave something for savings. Aim for 10 percent. Gradually save more.


* Forget detailed budgets. Just save something first. Most people spend the amount they have available, so make that amount a little less.


* Pay off your credit card balances, and don't charge unless it's an emergency. This is one of the best decisions you can make says David Chilton, author of The Wealthy Barber (Prima).


* Buying a house is a good investment for most people. It increases in value with no effort on your part other than maintenance. Often you can buy a house with a small down payment. Check it out, and you may get a pleasant surprise.


* Use payroll deduction for painless saving.


* Put some money aside in a 'rainy day' fund for emergencies. In case you have a problem with income, you won't have to go into long-term savings.


* Buy some index funds or mutual funds. The stock market earns better returns over time than other investments. Invest regularly in order to smooth out ups and downs in the market.


* Start now. Procrastination is the biggest enemy of wealth building. Invest it and forget it. Your money will grow on its own with little effort from you.