Weekend Checklist: Independence Day Weekend

Things to do this weekend with your money:

What better time than the Fourth of July holiday to focus on your own Financial Independence Day-the time when you'll be free of debt or have the resources to retire. You define what financial independence means to you, then make a plan for reaching your goal.


Today: Plan to cut your debt

The first step in financial independence is eliminating unnecessary debt. Create a plan to pay off your credit cards and other consumer loans. The calculators at http://www.financenter.com/cards.htm can help.


Saturday: See if you are saving enough

Review your retirement plans to make sure you're saving enough to stop working when you want. Personal finance software such as Quicken 99 and Microsoft Money 99 include relatively sophisticated retirement planning calculators, or check a mutual fund Web site; most have basic calculators.


Sunday: Check your Social Security

The farther you are from retirement, the harder it will be to predict your future Social Security income. But it's smart to check your Social Security records anyway, to make sure you're getting properly credited for your earnings. You can request a "personal benefits estimate" by calling (800) 772-1213 or by visiting the Social Security Web site at http://www.ssa.gov.

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