Remember back when it was fun to talk about The Number.

The Number is the amount of money required to retire comfortably. It was taken from the title of an Esquire book in 2006. In those pre-crash days of giddy excitement, everyone seemed to be talking about figures. $1 million, $5,000,000, and even acting like it would be easy to reach that level if they only gave up one Grande Cafe Vanilla Frappuccino per week.

Needless to state, things have changed a lot since then. However, Power Ball’s 1-in-175,000,000 odds of winning are not worth it. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have as much money as possible. imperative.

“One of the best pieces of advice we give clients is to keep it simple,” says Elaine Smith, master tax advisor at H&R Block, the giant tax preparation firm (

It is so simple! It’s so easy!

* Make automatic contributions to 401(k)s. We now know what can happen if you let market fluctuations spook your use of this convenient savings vehicle. Fidelity invested millions of accounts to find that investors who sold all their stock allocations between October 1, 2008. and March 31, 2009. (the market crash) and kept their money out of stocks through the big upswing of June 30, 2011, saw an average increase in their account balances of just 2 percent. This compares to a 50 percent average increase for investors who used a continuous allocation strategy which included stocks.

* Don’t squander your raise. According to Hay Group Consulting, the average increase last year was 2.8 per cent. Let’s say your salary is $50,000. This would be a $1400 increase or $26.92 per semaine. Based on an average annual return of 8 percent, that amount would have grown to $3,108 if it was put into an IRA. “It’s all about delaying immediate rewards on things like your fifth pair of designer jeans,”Smith.

* Invest your tax refund. Last year’s average refund was $2,913. The average refund was $2,913.

* Take advantage of new fee disclosures. New law will require greater transparency in 401(k), plans. Why wait? But why wait?