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Okay, I'm really enjoying learning more about how to manage my finances...but I am a bit overwhelmed. Maybe some of you more experienced Fools can help me.

After years of struggling, my wife and I have paid off all our consumer debt. We're in our mid 30's, with an 11 year old son. I work (she doesn't) and make about $80K per year. We rent our home, and the only other payment we have is our car lease (2 years to go). We have $2,500 in a passbook savings acount.

I have not yet started contributing to my company's 401(k). Here's my puzzle:

What do we do first? Do we save up 6 months of living expenses as an emergency fund? Or save the down payment for a house? Or save for our kid's college education? Or invest for retirement?

I just can't seem to sort out what needs to come first, and why. It seems there are lots of good reasons to put ANY of them first. Then...what comes next, and what after that?

Any Foolish input would be greatly appreciated. I have screwed up enough...I'd like to get it right this time.

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