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10 Smart and Fun Things to Do With Your Money

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— Photo by Sharon Dominick/Getty Images

  1. Help younger family members fund their retirement plans. One of the best ways to teach children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews about the importance of saving for retirement and investing is to help them fund their retirement plans. Anyone who has job income, even from summer or part-time jobs, can contribute to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), even if they are minors. Once a younger family member gets a “real job,” you might be able to afford to help him or her contribute to a retirement savings plan at work. I know this is a good investment for the youngster, but it may also be a good investment for you. The sooner you can teach the younger generation about financial responsibility, the better chance you will not have to support them financially.
  2. Join an investment club. The stock market implosion has left many befuddled, if not downright frightened by the investment markets. There’s safety in numbers. By joining an investment club or an organization designed to provide average investors with a straightforward education on investing, you can become a better and more confident investor—whether you invest on your own or use an investment adviser. Two organizations that sponsor these groups are BetterInvesting and the American Association of Individual Investors. BetterInvesting  helps members join or set up an investment club, which is a group of local individuals who meet periodically to analyze and make investments. AAII’s Web site has a wide variety of education tools. The association sponsors periodic local and national meetings, all designed to make you a savvier investor.
  3. Put your kids on an allowance. An allowance can help kids appreciate the value of money, not only as a means of buying things, but also as a way to save up for larger purchases in the future. Some parents even require their children to set aside a portion of their weekly allowance for charity. All in all, an allowance can be a great teaching tool.
  4. Invest in your good health. No matter your age, investing some money in your good health now can pay dividends later by reducing health care costs and increasing the odds that you’ll enjoy a longer and healthier life. You don’t have to invest very much to improve your health. Avoid fast food restaurants, and at home, substitute healthier foods for ingredients that are bad for you. Exercise can be free. If you want to use some fancy exercise machines and get some help with your regimen, join a health club. They’re suffering as most other businesses are, so you’ll probably get a good deal on a membership.

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