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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Under New Management

OK, it’s mid-winter and your New Year’s resolutions about money are kicking into high gear or, more likely, you’ve simply kicked them down the road. Fear not. “Your Money” has produced the definitive ‘there’s-still-time’ resolutions for you.

In the words of Suze Orman, you are “young, fabulous, and broke.”

1. Cobble together $500 to start an emergency fund.

2. Pay off student loans. They always will be an anchor around your financial neck.

3. Contribute enough to your 401(k) to earn the company match — free money.

4. Don’t buy insurance you don’t understand.

5. Work hard to increase your salary, and have some fun.

Young Families
Your life is no longer yours. It belongs to your employer, your spouse, and your kids. No whining; you’re now officially a grown-up.

1. Put as much as possible — automatically, every month — into your retirement account. It gives you no reward now, but it will when you need it.

2. Open a 529 college savings account for your children and ask every relative to help fund it.

3. Buy a house if you can put down at least 20 percent, or move up if it’s affordable. Mortgage rates are incredibly low.

4. Read to your kids, and have some fun.

Established Families
Your life is still not yours. Now you’re dealing with teenagers and/or aging parents.

1. Keep socking away the retirement and college savings money.

2. Consider long-term care insurance. It’s affordable at your age.

3. Prepare now to retire, even if it’s 20 years away. Sitting down with a professional to map your financial future can help tremendously.

4. Plan so you can pay off the mortgage before retirement.

5. Your wallet’s probably lighter than you’d hoped; find cheap ways to have some fun.

In Retirement
It’s not as relaxing as young folks think. You worry about your health and outliving your money.

1. Exercise daily, even when the body wants to sit.

2. Understand Social Security and Medicare rules so you can take full advantage of both.

3. Keep your investments conservative, but keep investing. You have plenty of years remaining.

4. Stay engaged by working part time or volunteering; you’re sure to have some fun!

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