4 Top Advisers Give Advice to Use Now in 2011

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Today's tough economy presents lots of challenges for your pocketbook -- but a fair share of opportunities as well.

"If you're out of work and facing a divorce and health issues, then this is the time to conserve your assets," personal finance guru Ric Edelman said. "But if you're in a better situation, this could be a wonderful time to invest and take advantage of low asset prices . Your personal-finance strategy will depend on your individual circumstances."

What's the one thing Americans should do to boost their financial situations during 2011's second half? Click below to see what Edelman and other personal-finance experts recommend.

Ric Edelman
Barron's magazine has twice ranked Ric Edelman as America's No. 1 independent financial adviser. Edelman has written seven personal finance books, including the New York Times bestseller The Truth About Money. His The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman radio program can be heard on some 40 U.S. stations. His advice for the single best personal finance move Americans should make during 2011's second half:

Get started now.

Contrary to what many people believe, financial failure isn't caused by poor decision-making in Congress or the White House, or by the low dollar, high unemployment or weak housing prices.

Greece isn't to blame, nor is China, Russia, Spain, Ireland or Portugal -- and you can't complain that your paycheck is too small or that your expenses are too high.

No, the reason people don't achieve financial success is simple: They don't save any money.

Based on historical returns, investing just $3 a day from age 20 to age 65 in a diversified stock mutual fund or exchange-traded fund will create an account worth $1 million at retirement.

So start saving now. And keep on saving. No matter what.

Dave Ramsey
Dave Ramsey hosts The Dave Ramsey Show, a personal finance program that airs on more than 450 radio stations. Ramsey also writes the syndicated Dave Says column and has written three New York Times best-sellers about financial issues. His latest book, EntreLeadership, will hit store shelves in September. His advice for the single best personal finance move Americans should make during 2011's second half:

Now is a great time to buy real estate -- it's on sale. You're at Kmart and the blue light is on!

It's the best buyer's market we've seen in decades. Interest rates are at all-time lows and home prices are down.

But make sure you're ready to buy. You should be debt free, with an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses and have at least a 20% down payment saved. Actually, pay cash if you can -- but if you have to get a mortgage, I only recommend a 15-year fixed-rate one.

It's also a great time to buy real estate as an investment, but in that case I only recommend paying cash. Having a mortgage on an investment property is a recipe for disaster.

Also remember that real estate is very local. Don't make decisions based on national averages or what the national media are telling you. Know the market you're buying in.

Suze Orman
Suze Orman is host of CNBC's The Suze Orman Show. A one-time waitress who went on to become a financial adviser, Orman has also written 10 personal finance books. Her advice for the single best personal finance move Americans should make during 2011's second half:

Orman recently wrote on her Huffington Post blog that building up emergency savings and maximizing retirement-account contributions are key.

"If your emergency savings couldn't cover eight months of your living expenses, that's the first place your money should go," she wrote. " You should also completely max out on your annual contributions to a workplace 401(k) as well as an Individual Retirement Account." That's $16,500 for people below 50, and she notes know you can also put $5,000 in an IRA.

"I think Roth IRAs are the way to go. In retirement your withdrawals can be 100% tax free if you follow some very easy rules," she notes, while 401(k) and traditional IRA withdrawals are subject to regular income taxes.

Robert Kiyosaki
Robert Kiyosaki has written or co-written some two dozen personal finance books. He's perhaps best known for his best-seller, Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money that the Poor and the Middle Class Do Not. His advice for the single best personal finance move Americans should make during 2011's second half:

Rather than tell people what to put their money into, I think the best advice I can give them -- and the one thing I can confidently say is a wise investment for everyone -- is to invest in financial education.

The financial world is continually changing, and it's a jungle out there. It would be wise to pick an asset class that interests you and learn as much as you can about it.

If it's stocks, take classes on advanced trading. If it's real estate, learn as much as you can about valuation and management

The reality is that knowledge and understanding of an asset class will allow you to prosper in both up and down markets, because your financial intelligence will be your most valuable asset.

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