Reaching For Financial Success

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

I’m on my expense account for work. I’ve only spent about $300 in six months on clothes,” he says proudly.

He followed financial planner Walt Clark’s advice and put the $2,000 prize money in his Roth IRA. He’s
also putting $250 a month into a small-cap fund, heeding the adviser’s suggestions to diversify his large-cap fund holdings.

Says Beale, “A lot has happened in the last year or so. I’m still battling my urge to be aggressive, to say I want a Mercedes now, not when I’m 80 and retired. But I’ve seen friends lose jobs. I’ve learned you have to be prepared for anything.”

Keep the day job
Stay with the company and attend school part time to reap the benefits of tuition reimbursement and the company car.

Buy, then rent
Buy a more expensive home with a larger mortgage to increase interest deductions, and rent out existing property.

Save and invest
Reduce dining and clothing expenses, saving $600 — $700 a month for cash reserves and debt reduction.

Think small
Shift investments to small- and mid-cap funds, including the contest winnings, which should be added to his Roth IRA.


  • Beale is still with his company and hasn’t decided whether he’ll start a part- or full-time M.B.A. program.
  • He is now looking for a smaller home with a comparable mortgage, but still plans to rent out the existing property.
  • Beale reduced his spending but chose to invest the savings rather than improve his cash position or debt load.
  • Beale did put the prize money in his Roth IRA, and he’s also putting $250 a month into a small-cap fund.
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