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nice idea, is that how much you really need? Or, do you need less, more like $1 million? Taking a realistic look at your goals and your needs will also help you achieve these goals.

There are other pitfalls of retirement planning, including start- ing late, investing too conservatively, and investing too little. While one of these is enough to stunt the growth of your retirement fund, a combination of all three will kill it. I’ve always followed the adage that it’s never too late to start. While that’s true, the later you start, the more you will have to put away for retirement. That’s because you will be closer to retiring then, than if you had started earlier. It’s amazing how many people will come to me and tell me that they want to retire in 10 or 15 years, and yet, they have done next to nothing about investing money for their retirement. Some- times it becomes an unpleasant fact that they will have to work longer than they want to simply because they don’t have the means necessary to retire.

However, there is the flip side to that. I’ve had many people in their 20s and early 30s, sometimes single people and sometimes cou- ples, come in with retirement accounts that are already blossoming. For me, that’s a wonderful feeling, because I know that these people already have the discipline to save. I won’t have to try and inspire them to save. It’s also impressive because for most people in that age bracket, there are other things that consume their money, be it a new house, children, or student loans. It’s so easy to put off saving for tomorrow when there are bills due today. That’s why I advocate pay- ing yourself first.

What I’m trying to say is don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Start saving money for your retirement. Open an IRA and invest the maximum amount of $3000 per year. Open a Roth IRA so you can enjoy the tax-free income once you start to take money out. Do you find that you sometimes have extra money at the end of the month? Invest it, rather than spend it. You may not want to, you may not even like it, but you’ll find that it will benefit you more later than it will now.

Another problem is that many people are investing their money too conservatively, often in bank CDs or money market funds that are paying less than seven percent. With the uncertainty in the market,

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