This afternoon I was fortunate enough to sit in on a great (and FREE!) retirement planning workshop at work. It was a primer on retirement investing -- these are cash vehicles, these are bond vehicles, these are stock vehicles, these are the things you should consider when identifying your own investment mix, etc. Great stuff. The instructor serves as one of the senior financial planner/analyst folks in our place.
I asked the fateful question -- is it better to pay down all your debt (except for the mortgage) and THEN start investing for retirement, or shoud both be done at once? He said that some people have to change their habits in terms of credit card debt (at 18% interest, if not higher) and can't be moving from re-fi to re-fi to cash out and pay off credit cards. For those types of people, they MUST NOT pay down their debt first and then move to investing in their retirement, as they will have little to no money set aside for retirement that way. And as for college planning, parents have to make sure their retirement investments are all in place and at the right mix before they should even consider college funds.
Guess my children will be getting lots of scholarships for school -- or attending the local community college!