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Live within your means
Olivia S. Mitchell
Director, Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research, The Wharton School

From an early age, my parents told me, "Save your money first and get used to living on what's left over." That message proved useful. When I first started teaching, we would get paid only during the nine months of classes. I remember saying to myself, "My goodness, I'd better budget my salary to survive the summer."

I have also tried to inculcate in my daughters the idea of putting money away before they spend it. I forced both of them to set up an IR A with their summer earnings, and I told them they would call and thank me when they turned 80. I plan on staying alive until then just so I can get that call.

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Last updated July 22 2008: 11:27 AM ET
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