Straight Talk

Do you want to be filthy rich? Here's how

Do you want to be filthy rich?
Do you want to be filthy rich?

It's a fact: Most people don't have to face the "problems" that come from getting too rich too young. Which begs the question of when and how to start some financial planning — and possibly becoming wealthy a little later in life.

The easiest and best answer is start now, said certified financial planner Geri Eisenman Pell, CEO of Pell Wealth Partners.

"You're never really to young to start or too late to start figuring out when you want to be financially independent and when to create that road map to retirement," she said, adding that everyone needs a financial plan and a financial planner to help craft it.

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"You need to figure out what your goals are, how you're going to achieve your goals, and what you're going to do on a daily, monthly [and] annual basis," Pell said.

Key components to consider include a Roth individual retirement account, 401(k) plan, cash reserves and education savings, which Pell called the "foundation blocks" of a financial plan.

Some retirement vehicles can be considered "gifts," thanks to "fabulous" financial perks, said Pell.

"If you put money in a Roth IRA, you don't get a tax deduction right now, but all of the money grows completely tax-free and then you take it out tax-free," she said. Another gift? The matching contribution — sometimes dollar for dollar, up to a certain percentage of savings — that some companies offer employees participating in their 401(k) plans. That's what Pell calls "free money."

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Keep in mind that "doing something is always better than doing nothing," she said. "Even putting away small amounts of money will start to build the psychological habit of getting excited about saving and investing."

Still have doubts? Don't feel ready or able to save?

"You need to ask yourself the question: In five years, are you going to wish that you started [a financial plan]?" said Pell, She explained that she used to have two file cabinets in her office — one labeled "rich" and the other "filthy rich." "I used to ask clients: 'In the future, which one do you want me to put you in?'"