Saving quiz: 3 key questions to start

From buying a house to saving for a child's college tuition, personal finance decisions require early planning. If you are just setting out, here are three essential questions to help make the path to financial health and happiness a bit smoother for you and your family.

Will you be raising a child?

Even at just a few pounds, having children adds plenty of extra weight to the future of your finances. From diapers and day care to driving age, it's important to estimate how much it costs to raise a child -- before you have one.

Will you send that child to college?

College might seem like a cost in the distant future. Yet the price of a college education continues to rise, so it's important to determine how much you should be saving for college each month now to pay for tuition and other educational expenses.

When do you want to retire?

After that child goes to college, you'll be ready for a break. To avoid working longer than you would prefer, you must ask yourself a crucial personal finance question: How much do I need to retire? Once you have determined your goal, it's time to determine how much saving you must do to reach that retirement goal.

Remember, these are just three questions on saving. There are many other pieces to your long-term financial puzzle. Consider all of your big picture goals and what it will take to pay for them.

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Dear Dr. Don, This is a bad news, good news situation that I'm asking about. I just received several Series EE and Series I savings bonds. I am the so-called payable-on-death beneficiary on the bonds. My mom, who purchased... Read more


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