7 Net-worth killers

Saving and spending aren't the only factors affecting your net worth. How you manage (or don't manage) your assets and liabilities can make a big difference, too.

What you need to save
4. Paying the IRS, not yourself
Small business owners have a lot to worry about, and retirement usually gets bumped from the list in favor of more near-term concerns. But there are some serious tax breaks to be had if you set aside some money for retirement now, breaks that will reduce the money you owe the IRS, and boost what you pay yourself.

If you're self-employed, you may contribute up to 25 percent of your self-employment income (gross income minus expenses) to a SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) and deduct the full amount. You can also set up SEPs for your employees and make tax-deductible contributions to them.

Another option, though less flexible, is the SIMPLE 401(k). If you have 100 or fewer employees and they each earn at least $5,000 a year, you and your employees can contribute up to $10,000 a year pre-tax and your company must match the contributions.

(Here's a more detailed look at small-business retirement plan options.)


Ignoring your money

Buying too much house

Driving too much car

Paying the IRS, not yourself

Always getting what you want

Letting your assets linger

Letting your debt lie
Save early. Save often. And don't make these gaffes. (more)
You don't have to spend a lot of time to put your financial house in order. (more)

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Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.