1. Retirement Fund Contribution Matching

Many employers offer a 50 percent match for every dollar you contribute out of your paycheck, up to a limit of around 6 percent of your salary. Despite the appeal of an automatic 50 percent gain, benefits consulting firm Hewitt Associates reports that about one in five eligible participants fails to take full advantage of the program. Don't be one of them: Call your human resources department and make sure your contribution rate qualifies you for your employer's maximum match.

2. The Roth IRA

It's the Swiss Army knife of investments: In an emergency you can withdraw your contributions without owing any tax or penalty; if necessary, you can use them to help pay for college; and it's great for preserving assets you intend to pass on to your heirs. Best of all, in retirement your withdrawals will be tax-free—and you're not required to withdraw annually as you are with a traditional IRA or 401(k).

3. Term Life Insurance

Websites such as SelectQuote.com and AccuQuote.com will shop among multiple insurers to find you the best deal, but a 40-year-old woman in good health will likely pay $30 or so a month for a $500,000 20-year guaranteed term policy. In my book, spending just $30 a month for peace of mind that your family will be taken care of is a major bargain.

More: 7 deals you should never make

Suze Orman's most recent book is her Action Plan: New Rules for New Times (Spiegel & Grau). Ask Suze your question

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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