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Originally published Sunday, February 25, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Todd and Lisa Vold

Todd and Lisa Vold Newcastle Then: Todd, 38, a business consultant, and Lisa, 39, a stay-at-home mom of sons Mason and Ryker, rode a rollercoaster...

Todd and Lisa Vold

Newcastle

Then: Todd, 38, a business consultant, and Lisa, 39, a stay-at-home mom of sons Mason and Ryker, rode a rollercoaster in biotech-stock options only to lose nearly all of it.

Their goal: A less-risky investment plan for remaining savings and $104,000 income — for the kids' college.

What they've done since: Started a regular college-savings plan of $75 per month per child, rather than putting money away for college sporadically, whenever they had extra cash. They saved nearly $1,000, which went into a Colorado-state college-savings plan the couple had already established. Their goal is to save roughly half of needed college costs.

Their retirement picture has brightened, too: The couple increased Todd's 401(k) deposits from 3 percent of pay to 6 percent, and better diversified his 401(k) investments into a mix of large, mid-cap and small-company U.S. stocks, as well as foreign stocks. Their IRAs were in cash, so the Volds switched them into a diversified portfolio of stock funds to earn a higher return.

Best tips they got: "It was helpful to hear if we wanted to retire at 55, we only had a 70 percent chance of having enough, where at 62 it was a 97 percent chance," says Lisa. "We went toward our planner's recommendations but without feeling like we're living on the edge of sheer poverty."

— Carol Tice

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