If there is anything certain about these uncertain economic times, its that
solid financial decisions made by young professionals today are vital to
economic prowess tomorrow.  Even so, according to a recent online poll
released by St. Louis-based Scottrade Inc., people ages 27 to 42 constituted
the age group most worried about their finances.  The time to stop worrying
and begin planning is now.  Follow these simple tips for securing long term
financial strength now:

1. Take Full Advantage of Your 401(k).  This is the best deal for young
professionals.  It is a retirement account into which you put cash from each
pay period.  Most often employers will match up to a certain amount of an
employee’s contributions to these accounts.  Make sure to take advantage of
these accounts by contributing the maximum amount your employer will match
each pay period to milk every ounce of your 401(k).
2. Manage Your 401(k).  Don’t let your money just sit there and grow at
a snail’s pace.  Actively invest it.  The most obvious form of investment is
the stock market.  Regardless of whether your 401(k) contributions are
pre-tax or post-tax, your earnings from investments are tax deferred!
3. Stick to Your Plan.  Remember, this is your life.  As young
professionals, it is often easy to let our bosses run over and
-eventually-overwhelm us.  This is fine in the short time — you obviously must respect your boss and understand it is simply your task to make him
look better.  But, if you ever reach the point where you are no longer
advancing your career, it is time to make a move.  Always have a short and
long term plan.  You have options.  Do not let your boss “trap” you into a
mid-level position indefinitely.

With these easy tips, you can rest assured that you are well on the way to
ensuring your long term economic stability.


Jonathan L. Gerber