We're starting to hear about employers being generous with raises again, so if you got a raise recently: Congratulations! It's great to see your hard work pay off.

But ... before you daydream about what you're going to do with the extra cash, think about your long-term goals. Ken Kamen, president of Mercadien Asset Management and the official investment advisor of New Jersey 101.5, suggests you DON'T expand your monthly spending to use all of that new money.

Instead, take half of it and put it away for your future self.

"It's not money you're living on today," Kamen said. "We all have a way of expanding into whatever money they give us."

So, setting that money aside in savings will pay long-term dividends in two ways: 1) You're building savings, and 2) You're staying accustomed to a comfortable, affordable lifestyle. You're not going to be out-spending every raise you get. Unfortunately, there's too many people who have too much month left at the end of their paycheck — don't be one of those people!

If you create good spending habits and keep your eye on long-term goals when you're young, you're well on your way to a happy, comfortable retirement.

If you're not sure your savings and investments are on track to cover big goals like your retirement or your children's education, Ken and his team at Mercadien Asset Management have the information and expertise to help you devise a strategy you can live with. They start with a consultation where they learn about you, your spending and savings habits and your goals.

Getting started is as easy as calling 609-689-2300.