all your advice works. i know because i have followed those steps since my early to mid-20s when, as a self-employed freelance journalist, i opened what was then called a keough account. those were pre-cursors of today’s ira’s. i always socked the limit into those, and soon opened an ira, as well as a 401k and a roth when they became available. i also opened fidelity and later, vanguard, mutual fund accounts. i always saved more than i spent, probably at least half my pay, which was never higher than about $65k during all the years i worked in journalism. true, my friends always liked to joke that i was “cheap,” but who’s laughing now? i crossed the $1m line in late 04, quit full-time work at age 51 and do exactly as i please with myself today, which is mainly being a semi-pro musician, the career the i almost established when i was in college. mercifully, i don’t have to live off it today. my main advice is to avoid credit-card debt. i am always astonished by how much people carry. ive never carried any. my debts are always limited to mortgage and, at times, car loans. i could own fancier cars and houses, but i have never felt the need, unlike my cash rich, but investment-poor friends. i live off corporate junk bonds today, plus music and random freelancing. my goal is to get to about $1.5m, get 80 percennt out of today’s way too unstable stock market, and live off mostly fixed income investments. way down the road, ill add social security, and a pension from the 25-years-plus i worked in newspapers. it can be done. the millionaire-next-door exists all around us.

I have a question. I am 24 and I just started selling commercial insurance. My wife and I have about 70 k in student loans which we plan on paying back asap. I am going to have an additional 10k on top of my salary next year which I plan on saving until the end of the year and allocating it as I see fit. Everything I read says “compounding interest is the bomb” but then says “don’t save, pay down debt”. Now, I hate debt but I want to take full advantage of our young age and compounding interest. What would you recommend I do with extra 10k if we already put and extra $200 towards debt a month and we have an emegency fund in place? Fully Fund our IRA’s for the year or pay down a loan? I feel like there is no right or wrong answer. Your thoughts?
If you find yourself wanting something expensive in the quest for immediate gratification, divert yourself with a small indulgence rather than giving in to the large one. Walk away from the designer suit or purse, but buy an ice cream cone or catch a movie instead. The $8 movie ticket is a lot less expensive than the $800 purse but may give you the same feeling of doing something "just for you."
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