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After divorce, your financial life will need tweaking. Even if investing has presented a roadblock in the past, it's now one you're ready to conquer.

Here are some tips:

• Every time you get a raise, increase your contributions into your retirement and other savings accounts. Bonuses, tax refunds, and inheritances are all an invitation to rejigger as well. Anyone who has done an outstanding job of accumulating wealth will tell you how important this strategy is. Give your own savings a raise every time you get one, and put at least part of every windfall to work for you.

Say it and sound smart: “I'm putting 75 percent of my bonus away for the future. I hope we'll have a lot more years like this one, but if this is the end of the gravy train, I don't want to spend the money and regret it.”

• Open your financial statements. Each quarter, you need to keep track of the direction your investments are going in and where you stand. Paying attention will help you spot any errors in your account immediately. And you'll notice if the asset allocation you've chosen is getting you to your goals in a timely fashion, or if you need to rebalance your investments to take on a little more, or a little less, risk.

Say it and sound smart: “I know it's time for CSI. Just give me a minute to look at how my investments are doing.”

• Ask questions when something seems wrong. If you don't understand something on your statement, call the toll-free number. This is no time to be shy. Tell the customer service rep what's on your mind. Little miscalculations and other errors will get worse over time.

Say it and sound smart: “It says on my statement that in July I bought shares... Can you go back into my record and tell me what you see?”

To my mind, successful investing boils down to three things.

1. Investing habitually
2. Managing your investments automatically. If you're computer-savvy, using personal finance software programs will help you do this tracking quickly and will prove a godsend at tax time.
3. Keeping your eye on the ball.

If you do these three things, and you're diligent about them, there's no reason you shouldn't have the money you need to achieve your goals.

Jean Chatzky is the author of
Make Money, Not Excuses: Wake Up, Take Charge, and Overcome Your Financial Fears Forever.”


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