Reaching For Financial Success

Our 2002 financial fitness contest winners are achieving their goals with sound advice and a little moxie

on your dreams and they’ll happen.”

THE ADVICE:
Commit to the same goals
Develop a coordinated approach to managing money with girlfriend Catherine Charles.

Start contributing again to 401(k)
Resume contributing the maximum amount to 401(k) plan.

Invest in growth mutual funds
Invest contest winnings in his Roth IRA, seeking a diversified portfolio of aggressive growth and fixed-income funds.

Use home equity line to pay off debt
Apply for a home equity line of credit and transfer credit card and car loan debt since the interest would be tax deductible.

THE FOLLOW-THROUGH:

  • Charles has cut her debt by $3,000 and committed to saving for retirement.
  • Moss is again contributing 15% of his salary to his company’s 401(k) plan.
  • Moss had maxed out his Roth IRA, so he put the money toward his $5,000 student loan debt
  • Moss transferred his car loan to a home equity credit line. He separately paid off $5,500 in credit card debt.

SEPTEMBER WINNER:
EDWIN BEALE
NEWARK, DELAWARE
Things haven’t gone according to plan for Edwin Beale. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The 31-year-old thought he would start a part- or full-time M.B.A. program this fall, but he’s put off making a final decision until the end of this year. What’s the hold up? Beale’s been bit by the entrepreneurial bug. He’s helped two friends as well as his sister start their own businesses, and he’s in consultation with lawyers about a couple of ideas of his own.

Beale is in the process of sorting out his dilemma. If he goes to school part time and his employer pays, he’ll feel obligated to stay at the company. However, if he goes to school full time–while financing his education and his other obligations will be an issue–he would have more time to spend on his entrepreneurial ideas. Moreover, if he got an M.B.A., he’d be interested in developing his talent in the financial services industry, not at Avecia Biotechnology Inc., the chemical manufacturing firm where he currently works. Even for a young, single man, the rigors of traveling 75% of the time, here and abroad, as a sales and marketing representative have become tiresome. “It’s hard to have a life,” he laments.

His other goal was to purchase a larger house, primarily for tax relief. That didn’t happen either. He discovered the home he planned to buy had a second lien and would be a risky investment. He’s since changed strategies and is looking for a smaller house and will rent his existing house. “I’m never home anyway, and the upkeep is difficult. I’m thinking of buying a condo, which is as expensive as a house. If I get a condo for $100,000 or $150,000, the tax savings will be more than my low mortgage now,” he says.

One big improvement Beale made was in his spending habits. Watching friends lose jobs and helping nascent businesses get off the ground sobered him. Gone are the $300 — $500 monthly shopping sprees and $400 on dinners. “I’m doing better with my food fetish. I eat healthier and cheaper, about $200 a month. I order the steak dinner when

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