Different Gambling Arenas For People At Different Income Levels

Different Gambling Arenas For People At Different Income Levels

Everybody is trying to get more money, keep more of the money they have, and, at the very least, pile a little up for retirement. But lower income, middle income, and upper income groups have a different approach to multiply their money. Casino patrons visit in order to quickly turn a tiny amount of money into a large amount of money. People from every economic level visit casinos, for most people it is short-lived entertainment. When it comes to getting more serious about an ongoing way to make a little money into a lot of money, most people do their gambling in three other arenas.

You want the big money right now, so why wait? Buy a lottery ticket today and find out the result tonight. This is the first gambling arena that people frequent to try to end their money troubles. People earning under $100,000 are 2.5 times more likely to frequently buy lottery tickets as people that earn more than $100,000. No big surprise here, middle to low income earners find lottery tickets a cheap and easy way to hit big money on the way home from work. This is not a form of gambling that I would recommend as your chances of winning have been equated to being struck by lightning 25 times.

Only half of the American population has ever tried their hand at the next gambling arena: the stock market or mutual funds. You might have a retirement account with a couple mutual funds, or you could be trading in and out of stocks every few days. But this is where middle income earners go to gamble and try to get rich. The average stock portfolio is a whopping $34,300. Any stockbroker will tell you that if you are lucky and have 50 years, you may be able to own a portfolio worth a million dollars. When there is a sharp increase in the stock market, the amateurs rush in and try to make it a profession; but get financially hurt in the end. In the late 1990’s it was day-trading. I personally know successful short-term traders, but 97% of them quit after losing most/all of their trading account in a short amount of time. This is not a gambling arena that I’d recommend to build your wealth: whether short-term or long-term stock investing. (The high income earners have an extra flavor of this type of investment called a hedge fund, but these funds offer a few spectacular gains but more frequent financial implosions.)

People in the high income bracket have two gambling arenas that they employ to get richer: real estate and private placement memorandums. The beauty of investment real estate is that it can lower your taxes by taking a deduction for depreciation. This feature is not available to lottery tickets, slot machines, or mutual funds. In this gambling arena, there is land development, residential rentals, apartments, and commercial property of various types. The high income earners buy properties with a high monthly income, reduce their taxes with its depreciation, and hope for a large rise in the property value over time. But as I said before, when there is a price run-up, the amateurs rush in and ultimately get financially hurt. In 2002-2005, the rage caught on in preconstruction condominiums (the cheapest way to get into real estate). The term “flipping condos” became prevalent and masses of beginning investors have lost a lot of money because they weren’t educated about real estate investing. But professionals in the industry continue to earn money because they buy based upon monthly income, and speculative gains are just the extra icing for the investment. The second casino that high income earners use is PPM’s (private placement memorandums). These are investments that are illegal for people earning under $200,000, or have a net worth under $1 million. (The government only wants sophisticated investors who can afford to lose their money entering these unregulated investments.) These investments are normally created by small business owners that need more money to expand, so they are offering part of the ownership of their company with a higher than average rate of return. Conservative real estate offer the best odds of success for any of the gambling arenas; and then when you have built up enough money, you can begin with some conservative PPM’s.

Where do you want to focus your ‘getting richer’ effort? There is no risk free path to follow, but maybe this will help you decide: What is the probability that you will successfully pick the winning lottery numbers today? The joke you’ll hear is that “losing money on lottery tickets is a tax on the mathematically challenged.” What is the probability that you’ll buy the stock of a runaway company before the professionals run the price up? What is the probability that you can find a valuable real estate transaction? It is my opinion that educating yourself about real estate offers the best chance for sharply increasing your financial fortune.

[There is one more popular gambling arena available to people with internet/computer/technical skills, and that is joining a start-up company that is eventually taken public. The odds of success are only 7 times better than the lottery, about 1 in 6 million.]

Scams: How to identify and avoid – List of the most known ,including Ebay Scams

Scams: How to identify and avoid – List of the most known ,including Ebay Scams

Telephone lottery scams: These include the Canadian lottery scam and the El Gordo Spanish lottery scam, which deceptively uses the name of a genuine lottery. People respond to an unsolicited mailing or telephone call telling them they are being entered into a prize draw. They then receive a telephone call congratulating them on winning a big prize in a national lottery – but before they can claim their winnings, they must send money to pay for taxes and processing fees. The prize doesn’t exist.

Prize draw, sweepstakes and foreign lottery mailings: many typical scams take the form of prize draws, lotteries or government payouts. Most appear to be notification of a prize in an overseas draw or lottery in return for administration or registration fees.

Premium rate telephone number scams: Notification by post of a win in a sweepstake or a holiday offer includes instructions to ring a premium rate 090 number to claim your prize.

Investment related scams: An unsolicited telephone call offering the opportunity to invest in shares, fine wine, gemstones or other soon-to-be rare commodities. These investments often carry very high risk and may be worth a lot less than you pay. The shares are not quoted on any stock exchange and you will not be able to sell them easily afterwards. ‘Solid’ valuable investments, such as gem stones, are often said to be stored in secretive Swiss bank vaults, so you can never see your investment.

Nigerian advance fee frauds: THE MOST KNOWN SCAM. An offer via letter, e-mail or fax to share a huge sum of money in return for using the recipient’s bank account to permit the transfer of the money out of the country. The perpetrators will either use the information given to empty their victim’s bank account; or convince him or her that money is needed up front for bribing officials. Pyramid schemes: offer a return on a financial investment based upon the number of new recruits to the scheme. Investors are misled about the likely returns as there are not enough people to support the scheme indefinitely – only the people who set up the scheme are able to make any money.

Matrix schemes: are promoted via web sites offering expensive hi-tech gadgets as free gifts in return for spending £20 or similar on a low-value product such as a mobile telephone signal booster. Consumers who buy the product join a waiting list to receive their free gift. The person at the top of the list gets their free gift only after a prescribed number – sometimes as high as 100 – of new members join up. In reality, the majority of those on the list will never receive the expensive item they expect.

Credit scams: another advance fee fraud, originating in Canada. Advertisements have appeared in local newspapers offering fast loans regardless of credit history. Consumers who respond are told their loans have been agreed but before the money can be released they must pay a fee to cover insurance. Once the advance fee is paid, the consumer never hears from the company again and the loan never appears.

Property investment schemes: would-be investors attend a free presentation and are persuaded to hand over thousands of pounds to sign up to a course promising to teach them how to make money dealing in property. Schemes may involve the opportunity to buy properties which have yet to be built at a discount. A variation is a buy-to-let scheme where companies offer to source, renovate and manage properties, claiming good returns from rental income. In practice, the properties are near-derelict and the tenants non-existent.

Work-at-home and business opportunity scams: often work by advertising paid work from home but which require money up-front to pay for materials; or by requiring investment in a business with little or no chance of success.

Ebay Scams/PaypalBank scams

1. You can receive an email from “your” bank or paypal asking you to log in in order to..(say verify something) the page you are redirected is actually a phishing page and all the information,including your account passwords will be stolen. DO NOT EVER trust any emails like this. If in doubt,call your bank or go directly to the website(eg. www.ebay.com) and inter your account details there.

2. EBay scams may involve people trying to buy goods from you with money order,where they pay you with fraudulent bill. You sent the goods,thinking your bank will clear this up,but it would not…. Always wait until the money are cleared by your bank,before sending stuff. Sometimes they use their own shipping company.

3. Ebay scam which is also popular involves stealing someone elsese account(by the means of #1,etc). Then they post an item for sale for a price you can’t resist. When you purchase it, they will ask you to pay,using money order or similar service. They can also set up a fake escrow service. Beware.

Use commone sense for every purchase. If it’s too good to be true- IT IS. No free cheese in this world other than for your pets 🙂

Los Angeles Dentist

Los Angeles Dentist

I do not like dentists offices. Lets put it this way, I will not choose it over a stroll in the park, or even a wrestler’s den if you ask me. Be it squeamishness or plain fear, los angeles dentists have never been in my Fave 5 lists.

My daughter of course thinks otherwise. All of eleven years old, peer pressure and television factor has made sure that looks are more important that fear and pain, and she nonchalantly announced that she wants to visit the dentist for orthodontist treatment, no less. So off we went in search of a suitable los angeles cosmetic dentist.

Whether you look for a Encino cosmetic dentistry or a Van Nuys orthodontist, there is one thing in common – high prices. However, years of competition and a large number of doctors have contributed to a downward pressure, but the fact remains that there are a few dentists who are a league out of the ordinary. Nowadays the accent is on high quality and a few dentists are so busy that getting appoinments seem to be a lotto pick.

We finally decided on an Encino dentist focusing on orthodontic treatment. We have gone through our first round of visiting and talking to the doctor. My daughter is excited, actually I also have a grudging compliment. Who know, better late than never, I can get around visiting the doctor sometime. But not too soon, though…

To be continued….

Why Some People Become Wealthy and Others Don’t

Why Some People Become Wealthy and Others Don’t

Regardless of whether you watch the Oprah Winfrey show or not, the story of her success is fascinating. You can’t say where she is today is the result of any special advantages she had growing up.
In fact, she came from a broken family and she was abused as a child. She’s also African-American and a woman, so discrimination was likely a factor that counted against her somewhere along the way.
So why is she now worth a billion dollars while many Harvard-educated, white males who grew up with every advantage only make a comfortable living?
Ever wonder why success seems to come easily for some people while others struggle at everything they do? What makes the difference?
Success at anything in life is predictable and can be duplicated by following time-tested principles that all millionaires use.
In fact, if you don’t receive training in these principles of wealth, you can NEVER have it in your life. At least not for long. If you do somehow become wealthy without learning these principles, you won’t keep it.
Want proof? Just look at people who have won the lottery:
William “Bud” Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988. Now he lives on his Social Security and food stamps which amounts to $450 a month.
Ken Proxmire was a machinist when he won $1 million in the Michigan lottery. He moved to California and went into the car business with his brothers and he filed for bankruptcy within five years.
Suzanne Mullins won $4.2 million in the Virginia lottery in 1993. Today she’s deeply in debt to a company that loaned her money using the winnings as collateral.
“Winning the lottery isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be,” says Evelyn Adams. She won the New Jersey lottery not just once, but twice (1985, 1986), in an amount of $5.4 million. Today she lives in a trailer and all the money is gone.
Janite Lee from Missouri won $18 million in 1993. She generously gave her money to a variety of causes including politics, education and the community. According to published reports, eight years after winning, Lee had filed for bankruptcy with only $700 left in two bank accounts and no cash on hand.
Willie Hurt of Lansing, Mich., won $3.1 million in 1989 and two years later he was broke and charged with murder. His lawyer says he spent his fortune on a divorce and cocaine.
Charles Riddle of Belleville, Mich., won $1 million in 1975. Later he got divorced, faced several lawsuits and was indicted for selling cocaine.
People have a “financial thermostat” and just like the thermostat that controls the heating or cooling in your house, your thermostat is currently set for the amount of money you have.
If you somehow receive more money than your financial thermostat is set for, like the lottery winners above, you’ll waste it away until you are back to your set level.
If you want more money, or you want to keep the money you are receiving, you have to raise your financial thermostat. It’s that simple.
How do you raise your thermostat? By learning and practicing the principles of wealth. All self-made millionaires live by these principles.
If you’re not currently having financial success, it’s likely because you aren’t applying the same principles that Oprah and all other billionaires and millionaires apply to achieve their success. All that’s standing in the way between you and success is the application of these general principles.
So where do you learn these success principles?
The best place is directly from people who understand the principles and have had success using them. There’s no quicker way to get where you want to go than to find a mentor to guide you along your way.
The person you want is someone who is currently where you want to be, and is willing to teach you the wealth principles. Of course, not all successful people fully understand these principles even though they naturally apply them.
Another good way to learn the principles of wealth is through the greatest success book of all time, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. The principles you need to understand are in this book. You’ll need to do some work to uncover them, understand them, and put them into practice, but they are in the book.
Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich is all about using the same resources that millionaires use to get the same results as them.
If you are not experiencing the kind of financial success you desire, perhaps all you need is a little success training from a mentor or by learning and practicing the principles in Think and Grow Rich. Sometimes all it takes is few subtle shifts in your thought processes to create a GIANT difference in your results!

Cut the Take Out

Cut the Take Out

A long hard day at work. You get home and need dinner. Nothing in the fridge, nothing in the cupboard. Take-out again. The wallet just won’t comply much longer.
Re-wind.
A long hard day at work (sorry can’t help with that one). You get home and mmmm, what is that aroma? Dinner! Smells delicious, your mouth is watering.
And no you didn’t go to the wrong home and no you are not dreaming. You arranged all this, in a few minutes this morning.
What I won the lotto and hired a personal chef?
Well no, not exactly – you got a Crock Pot. A Crock Pot? Yep, it’s a cooker that cooks your food over a slow heat. Put it on in the morning and dinner is ready at night.
Don’t think you’ve got time in the morning. Well you will be pleasantly surprised how quick it can be. Chuck in some veggies (frozen or pre-cut if really short on time), throw some meat on top, pour in a sauce, put on the lid and turn it on low. That’s it.
It truly is that easy. And the aroma of dinner when you walk in the door at night, it is sensational – better than any take out.
Happy Crock Cooking
Lisa – “The Crock Cook”
www.a-crock-cook.com
Crock Pot Recipes and everything else Crock Pot

Understanding Your Property Tax Bill

Understanding Your Property Tax Bill

The first thing to understand about your property tax bill is the terminology. Many people look at the tax bill and see a bunch of numbers that have no meaning to them. In reality, they do have a special meaning to the property owner. If you do not understand what the sections on your property tax bill mean, you might not know if this bill is correct or not. Here are some terms that you need to understand when looking at the tax bill.

Fair cash value is what the property can be sold for between two parties without any duress. The assessed value of the property is what the city or county deems a fair assessment of what the property is worth. This is figured out by comparing your property to similar properties in the same area that have sold recently.

Exemption means the removal of said property from the tax base, this is only a part of the assessed value of the property. This might hold true for a church that is only used for religious activities. It may also be due to a homestead exemption. If it is for a home that is considered a religious property for worship only, you can claim the tax exempt status if you only use it for church activities, no personal use.

When you look at the property tax bill, you will see the tax rate. This is the tax due on the property after being calculated with percentages of the tax base. The term taxing district represents the schools and local government that has the levy against your property taxes. The tax code is used for office purposes of the county clerk that represents a combination of taxing structures or bodies.

For those who have a lottery, you will see a section where it states that you are receiving a lottery credit, which will lower your total property tax due. Everyone in the county receives a lottery credit and that is why the credits are usually very small in amounts. The lottery credit will affect your total tax due and not the tax base.

Once you understand the property tax bill terminology, it does make it a little easier to understand the bill. If you do see problems or you have issues with the tax bill, you can request a property tax appeal with the help of a property tax lawyer or consultant. It is always wise to consult an attorney before taking such a step where property tax and the government are concerned.

If you see that your lottery credit is missing or different from others, you might need to question this or question your assessed value of the property. You might even have questions regarding the fair market value of your property. You can always question the bill before paying it, if you do not receive answers that you understand, visit a property tax consultant and see if they can help explain the answers you need to your questions.

Long Island Schools Improve in the 2005-2006 School Year

Long Island Schools Improve in the 2005-2006 School Year

Long Island Schools Meet State and Federal Standards

Long Island Schools had over 30 schools not meet the New York State Standards for the 2004-2005 school but this year the number of schools rose dramatically. Schools that succeeded this year that had not last year include East Hampton, Ronkonkoma, Mineola, and Valley Stream. The Long Island Schools’ ratings were based on New York’s expectations of a school’s test scores and graduation rates. These standards were met in part because of many Long Island Schools have greatly improved their education methods and instructional opportunities for those students with learning disabilities. Several Long Island Schools did not attain the required state scores from their special education students last year. During the 2005-2006 school year more teachers and paraprofessionals were hired throughout all Long Island Schools which allowed students with disabilities to be in inclusion programs and have smaller class size. A lot of these changes have been inspired by the No Child Left Behind Act that required Long Island Schools to raise the mathematics and language arts scores of all students with emphasis placed on specific student groups including whites, blacks, Hispanics, the poor and the disabled. The students in these groups should achieve higher percentages of success every year with the goal being 100% proficiency by 2014. Currently around 83% of all New York schools meet the academic requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Among the Long Island Schools that did not meet standards last year that did succeed this school year include: Comsewogue High School, Center Moriches High School, Ronkonkoma Junior High School (Connetquot), Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School, East Hampton High School, Eastport-South Manor High School, Harborfields High School, Hauppauge High School, G.W. Hewlett High School (Hewlett- Woodmere), Hicksville High School, Huntington High School, Island Trees High School, RJO Intermediate School (Kings Park), Lindenhurst Middle School, Long Beach Middle School, Newfield High School (Middle Country), Mineola Middle School, Oceanside High School, Saxton Middle School (Patchogue-Medford), South Side Middle School (Rockville Centre), Joseph A. Edgar, Intermediate (Rocky Point), Roslyn High School, Sachem High School North, Pierson High School, Floral Park High School (Sewanhaka), New Hyde Park High School (Sewanhaka), Sewanhaka High School, Walt Whitman High School (South Huntington), Southold High School, Ward Melville High School (Three Village), Valley Stream Central High School, and Westbury High School.

Seniors in Long Island Schools Win New York Lottery Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship

New York Lottery Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship awards a $4,000 scholarship to one senior at every New York high school paid in $1,000 increments each year for university study. This year Long Island high schools in Suffolk School District and Nassau School District had one senior from each high school receive a New York Lottery Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship. To be eligible for the New York Lottery Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship students must meet the following requirements:
Scholarships can only be used toward the cost of attendance at a New York State accredited college, university, community college or trade school; At least a B average, based on seven semesters of high school; Experience in extracurricular and community activities; Demonstrated leadership skills; and Parents/Guardians are not employed by the New York Lottery or one of its contractors
The following requirements must be met by the awarded student in order to keep the New York Lottery Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship: Attend a New York State accredited college, university, trade school, or community college; Maintain full-time student status; Maintain at least a B cumulative average, as determined by school; Do not accept full-cost-of-attendance scholarship from another source; Provide program administrator with proper transcripts/documents to confirm eligibility; and Complete studies within five years of high school graduation date.

How to Construct A Powerful Profit Pulling Business Portfolio

How to Construct A Powerful Profit Pulling Business Portfolio

What is a portfolio and do I really need one? A portfolio is simply a group of investments held by an investor. It’s a very carefully chosen selection of businesses and generally, yes; it’s a good idea to have one.
Let look at it this way. Imagine that you owned an umbrella shop. If it didn’t rain for several weeks, you would make no sales at all and therefore, you would make no money. If your shop sold umbrellas as well as wellington boots, raincoats, ponchos, sun hats, sun cream, sun glasses, ski shoes, hats, coats and scarves, chances are, you would make a sale whatever the weather was.
When it comes to starting business as an Internet Marketer, you actually have a lot of choice.
If you are good at spotting a niches and if you are skilled enough to create a product then you have this as an option available to you. Alternatively, allow other people to create the product and all you have to do is market the product as an affiliate. If the nature of the business allows it, you can build networks of marketers and/or customers and grow your business this way.
Whatever route you chose to go, you will ultimately be in business to sell a product or service. The not so good news is this: Despite the excellence of your goods or the amount of skill, wit and charm with which you promote your wares, not everyone will be interested in what you have to offer all of the time. In fact advertising standards suggest that less than 5 in every 100 people that you approach will say yes!
But you can save the day, keep your options open and make your profit regardless. If you happen to have a variety of services then you automatically increase the chances of selling at least one product to your prospect.
It makes excellent business sense to have a business portfolio. Although most well known entrepreneurs make most of their money from one primary source, many do have their finger in more than one pie at the same time. If sales or signups go down in one area, you may be doing well elsewhere and still be in profit overall.
If your product is seasonal, you would still want to be making sales whatever time of year it was.
That said, exactly what goes into creating the ultimate portfolio of businesses in internet marketing? I will use one portfolio that I have created as an example.
The Internet is now a force to be reckoned with regards to shopping largely due to the growth and extensive advertising campaigns of companies such as Amazon and Ebay. If you own a website, become an Amazon affiliate and position shopping links for your visitors on your site. Visitors may not be interested in the e-book that you spent many late nights writing but if they are in the mood to go shopping online and they spy your ‘shop here’ amazon link, hey presto, you’ll make some cash!
Next tip: Choose programs that are easy to promote. Programs that have a good simple product that everybody needs. Choose a program that offers a good simple pay structure. What about a fun program? Everybody has played the lottery at least once. Would it be easy to promote a program based on the World’s Largest Lotto?
If you are promoting more than one affiliate program, you will almost definitely need a downline builder. This is a program that houses all your online businesses so to speak. You advertise your downline builder and when people signup, they see all your other programs and can consider whether or not to join. downline builders are efficiency and economy exemplified. Buildreferrals and Referralware are two such examples. Indispensable business building tools.
After you’ve spent a few weeks building your business on the internet, you will begin to notice this: There is a large group of people of all ages and backgrounds who will ask this question on a regular basis: “I want to start an internet business but I don’t know where to start. Can you help me?” People asking this question pop up all over the place – In online discussion forums, in your inbox, you name it. Here’s your chance to help a hot prospect to become successful and thereby become more successful yourself in the process. Read how:
Introduce them to a program that will teach, guide and educate them for you, making them into a professional, well-learned marketer. Imagine having several people like these as partners in your business. Check out Michael Russell’s MPAM and Steve Leung of CashCulture’s Make Money University.
Let these professional programs teach your Newbie all about search engines, traffic exchange programs, rotators, email list building, safelists and every other conceivable advertising method available online today. If they sign up to any recommended programs, you effectively build your up business simultaneously.
Everybody needs a business building tool but not everybody may need your particular service or product. So aim to promote or be affiliated with educational tools, website builders, downline builders and so on.
In summary, many programs offer you what seems like the opportunity to make a million in a very short time as well as a host of other fantastic benefits. But always stop to ask:
What does this program have to offer my customers or my downline?
Will it be easy to promote? Will the conversion rate be good?
Will my portfolio be balanced so that I am offering different prospects different types of goods and services?
Adopt an ‘I have something for everyone’ approach in business.

internet fraud

internet fraud

Fraud has always been a problem, but now that the Internet is more popular, fraud seems to have found a new home. People use to have to worry about phone calls from scammers, and perhaps the unethical contractor, but today’s big worries come from the things that can show up online in a person’s email inbox. Those phone scammers are still around, but most of these types have turned to the Internet to find victims. Apparently, there are a lot of people out there that are easily taken by Internet fraud, and you don’t want to be one of them.

One of the biggest types of Internet fraud going is the lottery scam. This is when someone is notified by email that they have won some lottery they have never heard of and never entered. In order to get their winnings, they must pay a fee. Once they have sent out the money they never hear from the lottery again. This is because there was no lottery. The only person who won anything was the scammer. These generally say they are the UK lottery, but that is never the case. If you never entered anything, you can’t win. Remember that when you get these emails.

Another case of Internet fraud is the emails that come saying that someone has died and they need help getting money out of an account. Of course, you, a stranger on the other side of the world, are the only person that can help. There are also some that will urge someone to help them. They may need help getting a plane ticket or something similar. They might also say they need someone to process payments. You should never get involved in any of these things. They are all internet fraud, and can land you in quite a bit of trouble in the end. You won’t get any money, but you will get a lot of heartache.

There are other types of Internet fraud out there, and new things will probably pop up as long as the Internet is around. People will think of new ways to play with the emotions of others in order to get money they did not earn and they do not deserve. They know there are a lot of soft hearted people in the world, and they think of new ways to take advantage of them all of the time. Just remember that if something comes to you via email, it is not something you should mess with in any way. Delete it and move on. If you feel the need to help someone, donate your time or money to a local charity that you know you can trust. That way you know you aren’t being taken, and your money is going where it will be used for good.

Five Steps to a Comfy Retirement

Five Steps to a Comfy Retirement

You’ve probably heard about the Nebraska meatpackers who won the largest lottery jackpot in the United States last week. One winner replied “I’ve been retired for about four days now” when asked what he would do with his winnings. His response did not surprise me; I’m sure my reaction would be similar!

What does surprise me is that many Americans believe that they cannot retire comfortably unless they win the lottery. A survey by the Consumer Federation of America shows that 27% of Americans believe that their best chance to gain $500,000 in their lifetime is to win a sweepstakes or lottery.

Fortunately, building a comfortable retirement nest egg is easier than you think. Here are five steps to help you build a comfortable retirement:

1. Start early! If you started saving $100 a month beginning at age 18, you would have over $500,000 by age 65. The power of compounding is great, and the earlier you start saving, the greater the benefit.

2. Have a plan. The best way to ensure that you will have a comfortable retirement is to plan how much you will need to retire. You can’t reach your destination if you don’t know where you’re going.

3. Participate in company sponsored retirement plans. Many companies offer matching contributions to your 401K or other retirement plan contributions. This is free money – take it!

4. Invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds, that fits your goals and risk tolerance. Studies show that your investment return is determined primarily by the allocation of your assets, not the individual investment selections you make.

5. Keep your costs down. Invest in no-load, low cost mutual funds (or other investments). Lowering the expenses in your portfolio by just 1% can equate to 20% more money in your portfolio after 20 years.

Although winning a large lottery certainly can’t hurt, following the steps above should send you well on your way to a comfortable retirement.