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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/smurfette-this-is-my-first-post-and-wanting-to-21898186.aspx

Subject:  Re: Newbie IRA question Date:  1/12/2005  1:58 PM
Author:  pgray007 Number:  43999 of 81048

Smurfette,

This is my first post, and wanting to respond prompted me to pony up the $ to become a member here. While I'm still learning about retirement, I was in almost exactly the same situation as you 2 years ago and hopefully I can help you out. Hopefully this email won't sound too preachy, but I've been there, and let me tell you, it's a great feeling to get out from under that debt.

I had $26K in credit card debt, and was leasing an Audi TT. I had a "good" job with a Big 5 consultancy and thought I deserved these finer things. While I was hired to provide technical and budgetary assistance to big companies, I was managing my money like a 8 year old kid. I'd get a nice big check, buy some stuff, charge things here and there, go out to nice dinners, etc. I never really looked at where I was spending, and never really did any planning other than socking some money in my 401(k). After a couple years like this, I got to a point where one month I started going over the limit on a few cards, and could just barely make the minimum payment. I tallied up what I owed and it shocked me. I vowed to cut back but after getting out of crisis mode I was back to old habits. My pay went up, but I never really "got ahead."

Finally something snapped, I think mainly that I was considering marriage, and I didn't want to start my new life with $26K hanging over my head. At the risk of sounding like a sap in a bad soap opera or self-help comme