We usually have sober threads on Mondays, but since it was a long weekend everything gets shifted back one day this week. I was unable to give serious thought to retirement investments until I finished graduate school; between working and scholarships/fellowships I was able to squeak out debt-free, although not by much. Right when I finished and started making enough money to put a good amount away, the economy was in freefall for a while, and I thought my money was better off in my bank account. When things didn't seem to be getting any worse, a good friend of mine harangued me until I signed up for various retirement plans. He was a very good friend indeed, as this was about the time things started to turn around, and I started my dollar cost averaging on a nice uptick. At some point in my life, I would also like to be able to own a house near where I work, but I live in an expensive market. In the city where I work, which is fairly industrial, a tiny 1200-1500 sq. ft. detached house is going for about $600,000-$800,000 right now. These are houses that are not on the waterfront, don't have a gold mine in the backyard, nothing. If you want to put 20% down, that's $120,000 cash right there. Ouch. And that's just a place to live - not a real investment. FOCUS: What are your long-term investment/savings plans? Are you worried about your ability to retire? Any tips for the young'ins that are just starting to think about these issues?