Financial planning is an unnatural act. The brain is wired to make us undervalue long-term goals and exaggerate the cost of short-term sacrifice. Yet studies show that people who do even a little retirement planning had twice the savings of those who did almost none. Heed the words attributed to Mrs. Roosevelt by doing the following:
- Set concrete, attainable goals. "I'll pay an extra $100 a month on my credit card" is more likely to succeed than "I'm going to get my act together."
- Then commit. Tell someone your plan and agree to a penalty--you'll do your spouse's chores for a month if you haven't saved $10,000 extra by June.