Job: Financial analyst at General Mills. He's on a team that manages supply, production and distribution costs for the Big G cereals.

Annual earnings: $50,000 to $60,000

Education: Irondale High School, New Brighton; University of Minnesota, with a degree in finance and marketing.

Last major purchase: A weekend trip with friends to Chicago in March. They went to watch the Gophers play in the Big Ten tournament and to sample the Chicago nightlife.

Next major purchase: An iPod Mini. He has an MP3 player, but the iPod is sleeker, can hold more music, and he can sync in with the CD player in his car. "I'm kinda into technology like that."

Smart money: Investing $6,000 in the stock market last year and $5,000 in mutual funds so far this year. "I've been motivated by some of my friends who've been really actively managing their finances." He also pays his credit card bills every month, so he never pays interest on them.

Stupid money: In Chicago, he and his friends paid $20 to get into three bars, when there were plenty of options with no cover charges.

Financial planning: He will put $3,000 into a Roth IRA before the April 15 deadline. He puts 15 percent of his earnings into a 401(k) at work, which General Mills matches up to 6 percent. He's choosing investments over buying a house because he believes the housing market is high now, and he has a long-term plan to go to graduate school.

H.J. Cummins