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either a traditional IRA or Roth IRA. You could split your contribu- tion between the two as well, being careful not to exceed the $3000 maximum. While contributing to a Roth isn’t tax-deductible, it grows tax-deferred. Plus, when you begin to make distributions from a Roth, the earnings will come out tax free. There are limits on how much income you can earn and still be able to contribute to your IRA, though. Be sure to talk with your CPA to make sure that you are making the maximum allowed investment for your situation.

Do you get quarterly or annual bonus checks or raises? Consider saving these, rather than spending them. These will help increase your savings at a faster rate. Ignore that raise you just received when you do your budgeting. If you don’t increase your consumption habits, but increase your income, you’ll be able to save more without skimping on your living expenses.

ManageYour Charge Cards Wisely Every day my mailbox is overflowing with offers proclaiming, “Preapproved!” or “No preset spending limit!” Sometimes the urge to apply for and use charge cards is overwhelming. Unfortunately, many Americans have fallen into the trap of revolving credit card debt without considering their budgets, how they will pay off the bal- ance, or how the payment will affect their other financial goals. By running up your bills and then only paying the minimum, you will never reach your goal of becoming wealthy.

While debt is a tool that can be used to your advantage, it can also be very dangerous. The more debt you have, the more buying power you have. However, learning when to leverage your debt and when not to is very important. Having a mortgage on your house is alright. It’s also okay to leverage your business as long as you can make your pay- ments. What’s not alright is to dig yourself so deep into debt that you cannot find your way out. That is, don’t use your cards to finance a life that you can’t afford to keep. If you find that you are in debt, con- sider these ways to erase it: Refinance your mortgage, review your budget to eliminate unnecessary spending, use debit cards, pay more than the minimum on debts, or pay charge cards in full.

Think about refinancing your mortgage if interest rates have dropped, especially if you plan on staying in your house for the next

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