Are you a last-minute tax filer? Join the club. While you're at it, you might as well put off the after-party, too... for a few decades.
Instead of blowing your refund on April 16, plan a blowout retirement party instead. Earning 10% average annual returns, last year's average tax refund -- $2,136 -- can grow to more than $25,000 in 25 years. With that kind of dough, you can afford the brand-name champagne.
Before guests arrive:
Whet your appetite by running a few calculations. Saving and investing becomes much more palatable than shopping when real money's on the line.
Do a taste test. Which will it be? A Roth or regular IRA? Once you make your decision, run with it and max out your account. The 2004 contribution limit is $3,000, and if you're over age 50 you can throw in another $500 catch-up contribution.
Trim the guest list. If you have a bunch of old 401(k) accounts sitting idle with former employers, consider rolling them over and consolidating them into a single self-directed IRA. (Sometimes, though, it makes sense to sit tight.)
Find good help. For the ultimate investing freedom, you'll need a brokerage account. There are all flavors of discount brokerage accounts (and we prefer the discount variety to the full-service ones). Many will try to lure you with free trades or a toaster, which is all well and good if you need a new toaster. But like a bank account, there may be features that you can't live without and others you simply won't use. So shop around, andcompare and contrast.
Keep costs down. A good rule of thumb is to keep the costs of investing (your trading costs, investment subscription costs, aspirin costs) to less than 2% of your portfolio's value -- and 1.5% or less is even better. That way, you can afford to replace the lampshades your guests will be wearing by the end of the night.
More from The Motley Fool
Solar Companies Are Set Up for a Strong Earnings Season
Rising demand and prices for solar panel prices bode well for manufacturers.
Today's Workers Aren't Optimistic About Raises and Promotions, Data Shows
Surprisingly, a large number of workers across the globe think their chances of a pay or title boost are pretty low. Here's how to bust out of that cycle and propel your career forward.
Could These High-Flying Tech Stocks Start Paying a Dividend?
Alphabet, Facebook, and Adobe don't do it yet, but that could change sooner than you think.