Lesson 6: Get More Out of Your Paycheck
Call your benefits department at work and talk to a benefits manager about signing up for the 401(k) (if you haven't already), contributing more to your 401(k) (if you're not maxing out), opening a flexible spending account to use pretax dollars for health care, daycare, and transportation to and from work, and making sure you're in the right health plan for you.

You may not be able to make any changes immediately, but let the manager know that these are your goals. And ask her to give you a call to make sure you're doing everything correctly when the time you're allowed to make changes rolls around.

Map to a Million
Pay for $2,000 in health care, child or elder care, and transportation with pretax dollars (28 percent tax bracket).
Annual savings: $560
10-year-savings: $9,471
20-year savings: $29,253
30-year savings: $73,160
* Assumes savings are tax-deferred and invested at an 8 percent return

Do it, say this, and sound smart: "Thank goodness for my 401(k). The money comes out of my paycheck before I can spend it. So every time I get a raise I kick in a little more."
Reprinted from Make Money, Not Excuses by Jean Chatzky with permission from Crown Business, a division of Random House, Inc. Copyright © 2006 by Jean Chatzky.
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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