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Your Money, Your Age: Strategies for Thirty-Somethings

Yes, age does matter – at least when it comes to saving and investing in your future. And since the Great Recession hit last fall, 30-somethings have been hit especially hard. In 2007, a 35-year-olld had an average household net worth of about $106,000. That plunged 28 percent to $76,000 in 2008.

For a generation used to seeing the Dow reach new highs and the economy that seemed unstoppable, how is the new reality changing their plans?

We spoke to Greg and Maria, a couple who began their lives together similar to many other couples in the 90s. But the tech bubble burst hit them particularly hard, as Greg lost his high-paying sales job for an internet technology company. They watched their nest egg disappear with the market highs but made it through thanks to a disciplined savings strategy. Now, though, in their mid-30s, Greg and Maria are forced – like so many others – to confront a new economic reality this much closer to retirement, and it’s forcing them to look at investing and saving for their future in a new light.

Beth Kobliner, author of Get a Financial Life, offers investment advice to Greg and Maria in the video at left. Find out why she urges them to avoid target funds and instead look to index funds, and why doing the right thing by investing prudently and maxing out retirement funds like Greg and Maria can still lead to short-term losses. They key is to think long-term, be patient and let the market work for you into your 40s, 50s and beyond.