Start early. By saving $1,000 a year at age 25, you could end up with five times what you’d have if you started at age 45.
Use your 401(k). You put in pretax dollars so it’s a great savings plan. Passing up employer contributions is giving up free money.
Diversify properly so you don’t become an unwilling victim of having too many eggs in one basket.
Don’t try to beat the market by short term trading. Even the best fund managers have trouble beating the S&P 500.
Don’t chase trends. If you hear about a “hot” stock, investigate it.
Make saving automatic. If you are maxing out your 401(k), get payroll deductions transferred to a Roth IRA, or other tax deferred vehicle.
Take the long term view for your equity assets. Buy and hold can get the job done without the worry that most traders suffer through.
Be diligent about your tax planning. Make sure you take advantage of every single legal loophole you can to reduce your income tax liability to the lowest legal level possible. (And make sure to change your withholdings so you get your tax savings NOW instead of loaning your money interest free to the IRS!)
Get rid of credit card debt. Rank them by their interest rate and pay off those with the highest rates first. For low-interest student loans, consider making minimum payments and investing in your 401(k) instead.
Make sure to do financial planning and review it once a year at a minimum!