A SavvyInterview – Brad

A SavvyInterview

I am pleased to bring a new feature, A SavvyInterview, to this blog.  Periodically I will share the stories of friends, family, and fellow SavvyReaders with SavvyReaders through five questions.

We kick off this new feature with Brad, a personal friend and long time SavvyReader.  Without any further ado…

What was the catalyst that started you on the road to fiscal fitness?  How old were you at the time?

The realization that we had very little retirement savings, and what we did have was cut in half in the aftermath of 9/11. In the months following that tragic event, I decided to educate myself and got involved in my financial future.  At the time I was 40 .

What do you believe are some of the essential behaviors individuals should adopt in order to become, or remain, fiscally fit?

1. Always pay yourself first (our rule is 20%) then base your budget on what is left.

2. Always be involved in your own finances.  Financial advisors do not know it all.

3. Devote time on a daily basis to keeping up with what is happening in business; what is happening with the economy.  A couple of my favorites are CNBC, which I watch in the morning before work, and I like to follow MSN online – click the money tab.

4. Before you buy or invest, conduct research, more research, and then a little more research!

What is your definition of wealth?

Wealth for me is the ability to live the lifestyle I choose without financial restraints.  Thank God my wife and I are low-budget!

With regards to planning and managing your portfolio, is that something you do on your own, through a financial planner/advisor, or a combination of the two?

I use a combination of the two. A lack of confidence has prevented me from going it completely alone.  Working closely with an advisor (we talk once a week whether he wants to or not) has been financially rewarding to the tune of 8.76% per year average for four years (after fees) in moderately conservative investments.

What is the one piece of advice you feel is indispensable, something you could share with SavvyReaders?

I recently asked my twelve-year old granddaughter if she wanted to be a millionaire.  Her response was, “of course I do.”  Then she asked me how to do it, so we sat down and made a plan.  My advice to her and to anyone else would be to start immediately while time is on your side.  Start too late and time becomes your nemesis.

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Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. “Time” is priceless when it comes to building wealth. We made our first $100.00 investment in a mutual fund back in June of 1986 when the DJIA was around the 1600 – 1700 range and have automatically invested every two weeks since. We took a big hit in October 1987 but learned a valuable lesson by not selling and continued to invest regularly. Always focus on the long term, stay fully invested, well diversified and I’ll see you at the finish line!

    • Absolutely, SavvyGage. A long term perspective is a must.

  2. The earlier you realize that an investment plan is the key to a well funded retirement, the less stress in the present pocket book. Project needs in retirement to set goals for investment while working. Never touch retirement income for cars, education, home, children; plan for those things individually.

    • Some great guidance. I absolutely agree the money earmarked for retirement should be separate, and not considered, for other purposes. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

  3. I believe that this is a great addition to your website. This gives other SavvyReaders an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas about saving money and the reasons that got them to do so. Brilliant SavvyJames.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Karen. I have recently reached out to some of my subscribers to gauge the level of interest in sharing their stories and behaviors with regards to retirement planning. I am hopeful that readers are willing to share and enjoy learning from fellow readers.

  4. “My advice to her and to anyone else would be to start immediately while time is on your side.”

    I agree. At the age of nineteen my girlfriend’s dad suggested I save $20 a pay period. That advice would be worth $20k [plus] had a listened and followed through.

    • Yep, anyone that has followed this blog knows that in a lot of respects I often come back to one fundamental idea. The greatest factors to acquiring wealth and achieving financial freedom are time & compound interest. Their impact simply cannot be overstated.

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