Q. It seems as though the more money I make the more money we spend and we can't find a way to get ahead. There's always credit card debt looming, and almost nothing for retirement, and that seems to be getting closer and closer. Is there a way out?
Ans. No one can tell you to live within your means. You must make that decision with your spouse by considering whether you want a comfortable retirement or poverty in your old age. Visit or volunteer at a homeless center or soup kitchen if you need motivation. It's not all that hard to start living within your means. Use the old-fashioned method of labeling envelopes, with more allotted to paying bill than for entertainment and miscellaneous. You still seem to have some time to change your ways. J.R. Parish, author of "You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way: Making it in the Real World," (BenBella Books $19.95) suggests that if you want financial peace of mind, make it a practice to live below your means-and if you want to make your dreams come true, they must be specific and backed by absolute commitment.