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10 Steps to a Healthy Retirement

3. Choose a method: If your company offers a 401(k) and matches a portion of your contributions, opt for it and set a goal of reaching the amount of the match. If your company doesn't offer a 401(k) plan, save money in a standard IRA or Roth IRA ( this calculator can help you decide which is best) with the goal being to fund the maximum amount you can each year.

4. Make it monthly: Get in the habit of making a payment to your retirement on a monthly basis -- just like any other monthly bill you pay. It's a bill for your retirement. If you don't set up a monthly system, there is a much greater likelihood that your retirement account won't get funded.

5. Make it automatic: Once you have committed to saving for retirement, make the savings automatic. If you are going to save through your company's 401(k) plan, talk to your personnel manager to arrange for the money to be automatically taken out of each paycheck. If you decide to save through an IRA, set it up so that when your paycheck is deposited into the bank, a specified amount of money is automatically transferred to your retirement account.

6. Be aggressive: Make sure that the amount you are saving is placed into an account that is aggressive, especially in your younger years. You want to earn an interest rate that is well above the inflation rate. Stock funds are much more likely to achieve this goal than money market accounts.
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