BOSTON (CBS) – Saving more is really important. For every ten years that you delay starting you have to save three times as much to end up with the same end dollar amount.
1. Pay yourself first. Contribute money to your retirement plan and savings with each paycheck. Otherwise you will find other ways to spend the money if it’s in your pocket.
2. Maximize your retirement plan at work by taking advantage of any matching programs by your employer. Matching contributions are free money!
3. Use extra money from low-interest savings and money market accounts to pay off high-interest credit card balances. Paying off an 18 percent credit card—and keeping it paid off—is like investing in an asset guaranteed to return 18 percent.
4. Pay more than the minimum amount toward your credit card balance. You’ll end up paying far less in interest in the long run.
5. Reduce expensive bank fees by balancing your checkbook, paying bills on time, maintaining account minimums and comparing costs for services at banks, credit unions and your credit cards.
6. Reduce insurance premiums. Shop for price and quality among insurance companies. Raise deductibles, have your kids take driver’s education, and quit smoking are ways to reduce premiums.
7. Save money by not buying unnecessary insurance coverage for credit-cards, air travel, and specific diseases.
8. Making sure you have the right amounts and right kinds of insurance for your situation. For example, younger workers risk their assets by having inadequate liability coverage or no disability insurance.
9. Let your money work for you rather than Uncle Sam. If you receive a large refund each year you are having too much money withheld from your paycheck. You are essentially making an interest-free loan to the government.
10. Making the most of your employee benefits. Benefits may include an employer-matched retirement plan, money for advanced education or adoption, or a flexible spending account, which can save you money on out-of-pocket health and childcare costs.
11. Invest at least some of your long-term money in assets such as stocks. You won’t beat inflation and taxes by leaving all your money in savings accounts and other conservative vehicles.
12. Diversify investments to minimize risk. Holding too much company stock in a retirement plan, investing only in a home or business, or depending on the fortunes of a single stock or mutual fund can increase the likelihood of your losing money on your investment.
13. Refinance your home mortgage. Interest rates are probably as low as they are going to go. 30 year fixed mortgages are in the 4% range.