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When it comes to knowing what to do with your money, wisdom is golden. Unfortunately, we hear more stories of people who lost a fortune because of bad planning and investing than we do of people creating wealth. Does that mean it’s impossible to attain or manage wealth? Not at all! The United States is still the land of opportunity. You just need to be wise about managing your financial assets.

No matter what economic class you fit into, planning what to do with your money is key. If you don’t have plans for your money, someone else does, and you will likely find yourself subject to much whimsical spending. Having a financial plan allows you to make wise choices about spending and saving. Most importantly, it will help you set guidelines for your spending. While no single strategy will guarantee that you attain the American Dream, some time-tested methods can help you.

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Start planning young

Your quality of life after you decide to retire is determined almost solely on your financial planning. You don’t want to wait until just before retirement to start thinking about how you will manage financially in your later years.

We’ve all heard tales of people who were caught financially unprepared for retirement. The key to managing your wealth at a young age is to pick a strategy and stick to it. If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, take full advantage of it. Any money you put into your 401(k) comes from your gross income. That means that this money is tax exempt in the immediate term. Many employers will also match a portion of what you contribute to your 401(k).

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Get advice from the pros

Because the waters of financial planning are murky, the best thing you can do is seek the guidance of people wiser than you. Trained financial advisers can help you to navigate those waters. Coming up with a plan for your money can be confusing, but a pro can provide you with a comprehensive wealth management strategy. The goal of a financial planner is to help you map out an investment scheme that has the best risk/reward yield for your unique situation. In addition to helping you plan your retirement, they can also help you to come up with a budget for your disposable income.

Even if you don’t have a lot of money in savings or a high income, you should still consider getting some financial advice from the professionals. In fact, your situation warrants this advice even more. The less you have to work with, the more important it is to be crafty about how you plan to enjoy retirement. By providing you with a myriad of saving and investing opportunities that match your unique monetary circumstances, financial planners help alleviate the stress of your retiring on meager funds.

Don’t stray from the path

The most important thing to remember is to not stray from the path of your financial future. As money accrues from savings and investments, you might be tempted to tap into your cash stash. You must remain diligent in practicing financial discipline. Not doing so could cost you some major cash now and in the future. If you have a 401(k), then your employer has likely put a minimum for how long you have to be with them to retain the funds that they put in. If you have a traditional IRA, then pulling money out of it before you turn 59½  will accrue financial penalties that could cost you much of your savings. So don’t be tempted to spend the money that you put away for the future.

Living a long, healthy, and happy life depends greatly on your ability to factor your future happiness into your individual financial culture. So start planning while you’re young, seek the advice of experts, and stick to your financial plan. If you do these things, then you will avoid much of the apprehension that comes with retiring.

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