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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/my-best-advice-would-be-start-saving-right-now-17251426.aspx

Subject:  Re: How much should I save? Date:  5/21/2002  3:49 PM
Author:  brwhiz Number:  34584 of 76384

My best advice would be:

Start saving right now, even if it is only a token amount. And put it someplace where it would really, really hurt to take it out before retirement. Then set up a disciplined plan to up the monthly contribution each year, maybe with only an additional $5 increase each time.

The important thing is to START and the next most important thing is to CONTINUE.

In my own sorry case, I did just the opposite. I put off starting. When I did start (usually with an amployer offered plan) I didn't continue. As I moved from employer to employer I cashed out my plan assets to use for new cars, down payment on a house, vacations, etc. When I became self-employed as a consultant, I found myself with gaps between projects. I used my accumulated savings for cruises, vacations, and other forms of temporary "retirement". Now here I am, 9 years away from retirement, fortunately with a very good job and great benefits trying to "catch-up" with where I need to be financially for my retirement goals. Now I'm piling over $35,000 a year into 403(b), 457, Roth IRA, Non-Deductible IRA, and Taxable Account so that I can arrive at the same place I would have been for a few hundred dollars a month for the last 40 years. I don't know of too many people who can afford that level of contribution, so it's best to start early when you can do the whole trip in easy steps.

And as everyone knows from Income Tax, Social Security, Insurance Plan Contributions, etc., any money that doesn't show up on the bottom line of the paycheck isn't missed. But once the green bills are in your hot little hand, it's really, really difficult to always put them away for a rainy day (or retirement - same thing, if you're not prepared).

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