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how to: invest your money

Saving money and learning about investing is always a smart plan. Even if you’re newly hitched, it’s never too soon to start planning for those golden years. Think about it: Do you imagine yourselves lying on a beach or working behind a desk? If you picked the beach (or travel, or golf, or anything other than the 9-to-5 grind), you’ve come to the right place. We have all kinds of investment advice, including the basics of how to invest wisely and what all those financial terms really mean. Not sure where to begin? Start with our five easy steps to invest your money. We also have investing advice and Q&A on all kinds of financial basics about investing -- learn the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA, how to invest your savings, and your options if you can only invest a small amount. Our basic investing advice will help you get ready. But before you invest your money, you should be sure you’re out of debt: Use our debt calculator to help plan your payments, and follow our simple steps to go from credit card misery to debt free. And if your problem is a lack of cash, we’ve got tips for you, too. Learn the habits of spending-savvy couples, and find easy ways to save more of each month’s paycheck and stick to your budget. Don’t want to go it alone? Check out our local pages to find a financial planner in your area for some in-person investment advice.

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Q.

The Nest Q&A

If I pay the maximum into Social Security every year, how many years do I have to do this to be guaranteed Social Security benefits when I retire?

A.

Ten years (or 40 quarters) of contributions ensure that you'll get your moolah come your retirement years. But the amount of your Social Security checks will vary depending on how much you've contributed and how long you've been doing so. The Social Security administration looks at your highest earnings over a 35-year period. If you contributed the maximum amount—right now, that's $6,450 a year—for 10 years, but nothing the other 25 years, they'd still divide your total contributions by 35. Bottom line: The more you put in, the more you get out. Kinda like marriage.