I was busy baking cookies and washing up dishes when the phone rang. As I juggled dish towels, the telephone cord and running kids the voice on the other end told me that she was a client from more than a year ago and promptly began updating me on the financial status of their household.

It was plenty of good news on how they were out of debt, they had only their house to pay off and they were steadily working on increasing their personal savings.

I was congratulating her and her husband for their diligence and hard work when we got to the reason for her phone call. They had just discovered about a “Wonderful” investment opportunity and they really wanted my opinion of the company as well as the situation.

Normally, I totally revolt at telling individuals what to do with their money. First off, I’m not a trained financial professional and often defer to such men and women in these sorts of circumstances.

Secondly, I don’t know all of the hopes, dreams and objectives you have as an individual for your money, so why should I offer you direction on what to do with your income?

Having said that, because I had coached this person before I listened pleasantly as she breathlessly told me of this extraordinary financial opportunity and how they were seriously thinking about taking the $5000 they had worked to save for more than a year and invest it with this one business.

I then calmly asked, “Okay, but have you and your husband maxed out your IRA contributions this year?” There was a pregnant pause on the other end just before she meekly said, “Um. No.”

“Well, before I would spend dime one on any investment, I would be sure that I had made use of the maximum allowed contributions to all of the tax advantaged accounts the federal government gives us.”

I then asked her to call her accountant about what types of retirement accounts were readily available to them and confirm what the allowable amounts were and to invest in those first just before launching all their savings into this other company.

This really is the point, my frugal friend. I know it isn’t attractive and bold and exciting, but the accounts that happen to be IRAs, 401k’s and 403b’s are an awesome and steady way to invest in your future. Before you go for riskier investments, go with what works initially! Go with the obvious!

Are you doing the obvious? Are you currently investing with accounts that are actually tax advantaged for you? If you don’t even have a retirement account open, then make your initial investment goal that you simply open one this year.

If you are married make sure you have got one open in both spouses names. Don’t jump at the quick buck with all your hard earned funds. Go with the safer and less-sexy investments initially. And when you own your own company, find out tips on how to go public fast.

When those investments have been maxed out, then look around with the extra money you need to invest in other things like the stock market. But, obviously, you’ll chat with your accountant or financial planner about investor capital and public mergers just before leaping into anything, right?