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ThinkstockPhotos-576919032Start being responsible by becoming a saver. The steps you take now will lay the groundwork for the lifestyle you will enjoy later. If you want to enjoy a future that is free from financial worries, your first step is to start saving today. You can start small, really small, but be consistent. You’ll be encouraged by how quickly your weekly or monthly contributions add up. Challenge yourself to increase the amount.

When you “find” more money, invest it! Once you’ve done everything you can do to live within your means, and hopefully well below, you need to remain constantly on the lookout for additional opportunities to increase the amount you save. Any time you get a raise or earn a bonus is a prime opportunity to increase your savings. Since you were able to get by on your former salary, the additional income is “found” money. Adding this money (or part of it) to your monthly investment should be completely painless.

Investment success doesn’t come in a grand moment. It comes from doing many tasks – often boring, seemingly irrelevant tasks – one at a time, in a quiet, systematic method. The five action ingredients for saving and investing are:

  1. Determine what you want and establish a clear focus you feel passionate about.
  2. Decide what you are willing to eliminate in order to get what you want.
  3. Accept responsibility for your own thinking and associate with people who will help you get what you want.
  4. Have a plan (process) that works and then work that plan.
  5. Take the time to understand how markets work.

Going from a Saver to an Investor. (2004). The First Time Investor. (3rd ed., pp. 15-16). McGraw-Hill