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The Importance of Saving (Part I)

Click here for Part 2 of this piece.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Are you saving? Seriously, when that day comes where you can walk out of your last day of work, get in the car and go home, will you finally be able to rest easy or will you be burdened by the thought of running out of money?

With significant advances in health care, we are seeing our longevity increase by much more than we might have planned or thought. We (especially the younger generation) can't count on Social Security to finance our living after we leave the workforce either. Furthermore, once we do, we don't want to live paycheck to paycheck, just scraping by.

Hell, no. We want to enjoy our retirement. Go out to eat, take a vacation and treat the grandkids whenever we feel like it. But as you know, this lifestyle doesn't come without hard work, planning and sacrifice. The earlier one can start saving, the more money you'll end up with when retirement comes knocking.

But what if you're self-employed? Or if your employer doesn't offer a 401(k)? If available, the obvious choice for saving is to take advantage of a plan that offers some form of matching benefits. In this type of scenario, for every dollar you contribute, your employer will usually contribute a certain amount, too, up to a point.

Sometimes it's 50 cents on the dollar. Other times it's dollar for dollar. Truly fortunate individuals work for employers that offer more than that, such as two dollars for every one dollar that you contribute. Of course, there is an employer limit, such as $10,000 per year. But this is still an excellent way to save your money.

If you're looking to self-manage money for retirement and are looking for the best way to do to it, perhaps this article will lend you a hand. Specifically, I want to look at individual retirement accounts, or IRAs. There are two different types of IRAs: Roth IRAs and traditional IRAs.

These accounts are subject to income restrictions. There are also several differences between the two (a quick Google search can provide some answers) but the main one is this: With a Roth account, you deposit taxed income up front, but don't pay taxes when you withdraw it. In a traditional IRA you deposit pre-taxed income into the account, but you must withdraw once you reach the age of 70 1/2 and at that point it is taxed.
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