Learn whether to pay off medical student debt before investing in retirement plans

Loan payoffs are addressed

A: The age-old answer here: it depends. The way we "keep score" in the investment world is your net worth: assets minus liabilities. You can increase your net worth two ways: build up assets or pay down liabilities. The key is to make your money work hardest for you. If you have a 4 percent student loan debt but believe an investment out there over the long haul can earn you more than 4 percent on average, then it would be smarter to pay the minimum towards your 4 percent debt and put any extra money towards that investment. If, however, you have private loans at 12 percent, then it usually would be in your best interest to pay off these loans as quickly as possible.

Situations and goals vary greatly among individuals, so make sure you're developing a solid financial strategy that includes a debt reduction strategy that works for you.

Send your money management questions to memoney@advanstar.com
. Answers to our readers' questions were provided by Todd Bramson, CFP, ChFC, CLU, a financial adviser with CRI Securities LLC and Securian Financial Services Inc., which offer securities and investment advisory services and are members of FINRA/SIPC. CRI Securities LLC is affiliated with Securian Financial Services Inc. and North Star Resource Group. North Star Resource Group is not affiliated with Securian Financial Services Inc. and is independently owned and operated. The answers provided are general in nature and are not intended to be specific recommendations. Please consult a financial professional for specific advice in relation to your individual circumstances. TR: 149480 / DOFU: 2/2010