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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