I. You shall get out of debt
Certain types of debt are toxic to building wealth. High-interest credit card debt can fester in your finances and cost more than can possibly be regained through saving and investing. Still, if you have access to a retirement account at work, take advantage of it. (See Rule V.)
"If it's costing you a rate of interest and you're not getting a deduction for it, that would be the first order of business before you do any significant saving," says Brian Kuhn, Certified Financial Planner at Retirement Planning Services in Millersville, Md.
Mortgages and student loans score a pass due to the deductibility of the interest, but car loans and credit cards can sport interest rates well above yields on aggressive investments.
Pay off expensive debts and then accelerate retirement savings in earnest.