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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/author-maggadoodle-date-51305-643-am--22483563.aspx

Subject:  Re: 5 best and 5 worst things you did. Date:  5/13/2005  11:24 AM
Author:  rkmacdonald Number:  9784 of 19741

Author: Maggadoodle | Date: 5/13/05 6:43 AM | Number: 9776
Could those retired fools give the rest of us "getting close" tells us the 5 smartest and 5 not so smart things they did as preparation for retirement. Looking baack with hindsight, what is the single most important thing to do preparing for retirement?


Smartest:

1. Went to college using the GI Bill and earned an MSEE degree.

2. Always made contributions to my 401(k) to the maximum matching level. Made additional contributions when I had extra money.

3. Always lived below my means. Had a mortgage and car payments, but never had any credit card or other debt. Always paid off credit cards monthly within the grace period. Waited to have children until I could afford it.

4. Stayed with the same company (Texas Instruments) for my entire career, and retired after 27 years at age 53. Took my pension as a lump sum. Took TI stock out of my 401(k) using the 'Company Stock Rule'.

5. Started a Roth IRA for my son as soon as he had enough earned income (1998) and invested it in an S&P 500 Index Fund. Of course, he spends all of his earned income (he is in the Army 3rd ID in Iraq), so I am still gifting him enough to max out his Roth each year, and it is still all going into the S&P 500 Fund. I'm pretty sure he will appreciate that someday.

Not so smart:

1. Had brokerage account with Merrill Lynch during the 70's. Invested in Federal Securities Trust (front loaded bond mutual fund) for 10 years. Bought several stocks on Merrill Lynch advice. All turned out to be very poor investments. Merrill Lynch made out