DEAR HARRY: I took my present job about two years ago. I love it. My superiors like me, and I like them. The company is privately owned and in strong financial shape. For the first time in my life, my salary is enough to enable me to save some money. I had the experience of having to support my father, who had no pension except for his Social Security. This situation occurred to some of my friends, too. I don't want that to happen to my kids. My company has a 401(k) plan that I can join. I also read about Roth and regular IRAs. Don't let me go astray, Harry. Point me in the right direction.

WHAT HARRY SAYS: I'm pleased that you're living beneath your means. Get into that 401(k) plan. If there is a company match, get in for at least enough to earn the match. Then save enough in short-term CDs to cover half a year's net pay. You also can set up a Roth IRA. Consider a 509 plan to help with the higher-education costs of your children. Make sure you pay down credit cards to zero each month. Use your next pay raise to stow away more after allowing yourself a small present. Keep at least half of your investments in short- and intermediate-term bond funds. Put the other half into no-load index funds or ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). Do not follow the crowds on current fads. Good luck!

Email Harry Gross at, or write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia 19107. Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red-Cross.