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On the Finances Blog

Bankruptcy: The Power of the Clean Slate

It doesn’t take many clicks online to find writing and advice on how to shape up your finances, even First30Days has a great financial advice section found here. There are...

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Our Smart Investing Experts

Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly

Author of The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing

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Lauren Young

Lauren Young

Journalist and department editor at BusinessWeek

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Stephen Gandel

Stephen Gandel

Money magazine senior writer

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Keys to Smart Investing

If you’d like to start putting some money away—for retirement, a rainy day or your kid’s college fund—you can do it more easily than you might imagine! The first 30 days of smart investing will be a time of research, preparation and thought that will get you on the road to saving right. Let’s get started!

The First Step Toward Smart Investing

Our first recommendation: get out of debt. Those high-interest loans and credit card debts will have to go (or at least be managed down) before you can start investing. It makes simple math sense—debts with upwards of 15-30% APR will always trump even the highest growth on investments. Mortgage payments and low-interest school loans don’t count in this category, so don’t go selling your house!

The first real step for those who are debt free is the 401(k) plan offered by the company you work for. A study by Hewitt Associates shows that 3 out of 10 employees entitled to 401(k) plans didn’t even contribute. Most companies will match up to a certain percentage of your yearly wages that you put into your 401(k), which means that if you’re not taking advantage of your 401(k) plan, you’re passing up free money. FREE MONEY!

Toby Zuckerman, a young aspiring actor, recently graduated from NYU. To pick up some extra cash while auditioning, he started working part-time at the 5th Avenue Apple store. "After my parents told me to start planning for my future, I set aside a bit of money each month into employee stock and a 401(k)," he says. Now, just a few years later, Toby is $10,000 richer in Apple, Inc. stock, and his 401(k) is blossoming nicely. We know Toby isn’t making a ton of money in retail, but his story debunks a major myth about investing—you don’t have to be rich to save! Take advantage of what’s available to you. If you’re working independently or for a company that doesn’t offer a 401(k) there are other investment options for you.

Posted: 7/20/08

great info to help which investment type to pick

  • By getty1
  • on 1/4/16 12:30 AM EST