Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008

Jennifer Yueill

A 35-year-old phlebotomist, Yueill lives in Omaha, Neb., with her daughter Phoebe, 9, and son Gavin, 5.

• Yueill declared bankruptcy last year but still faces a mountain of monthly bills, including $300 for her car, $120 for electricity and $1,000 for day care.
• She puts 4% of her paycheck toward retirement, but so far has saved just $1,000. She hopes to buy a home someday but knows stricter mortgage rules may make that incredibly difficult.
• Yueill worries that she may never be able to retire and admits that her investment approach hasn't been carefully vetted. "I honestly chose at random," she says.

"She needs to set clear priorities," says Diahann Lassus, chair of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Improving earning power through education might be one such goal. As for mortgage concerns, "there is nothing wrong with renting," says Lassus.