Know Exactly How Much Cash You are Investing Each Year
Your personal spending plan may determine how much you invest each month, quarter, or year. You may have automatic drafts coming out of your checking account; these funds may very well be deposited into your brokerage account and distributed among your existing investments such as mutual funds or preferred stocks.
You might automatically have deductions come out of your paycheck to invest into your company's stock plan. While this article is not entirely about retirement investing, you might also have deductions applied toward your company's 401K; alternatively, you might have automatic checking account drafts invest specific funds into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) with your favorite bank, credit union, or brokerage.
Make sure you keep track of how much comes out of your pocket (even the pre-tax dollars pocket) each month. These days, few investments are purchased with cash; it can become tempting to not closely record the dollars coming out of your paychecks or banking account.
But you should know where your money is going, so you can adjust accordingly if you lose your job or your investment goes sour. Don't become one of those haphazard, compulsive gambling investors who potentially put their family's home and general well-being at stake. You're earning that money that goes into your investments; be smart and know just how much of it leaves your pocket and to where it goes.