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Future Millionaire

My Vanguard account has gone over the $800,000 mark. That’s an exciting milestone. Of course the market is going crazy good this month, Feb 2017;  the run may not last, but it is fun to see. Since I am self employed, I opened a solo 401K in 2016 and put in the max allowed, $24,000.  I’m approx $150,000 shy of my net worth hitting a million. (not counting the value of my house). I wonder how I’ll feel when I have  $1,000,000? It will be exciting at first.

I don’t think 1 million will be enough to retire on, especially since I will probably live to my 90s as both of my grandmothers did. I’d like to be a snowbird and have my house here in the Chicago suburbs and another in Arizona or some other warm place. I also like the idea of traveling during the first 10 years of my retirement.

In this blog I plan to share how I got here. A few things that were key:

Living below my means

Getting into a lucrative career I enjoy

Staying in the same house for 25 years

Starting long-term saving at 30

I didn’t start out with a plan to be a millionaire. My goal was to save enough money to feel ‘peace of mind’. If some sort of emergency came up I wanted to know I had the money to handle it. Gradually I saved more and more. At some point I remember having saved  $65,000 and feeling l I had a good amount of ‘peace of mind’.

Do you feel stressed about money? Would having money in the bank give you some peace of mind?  Start saving. Saving will reduce your stress, increase your health and help you feel more in control.


Be sure your advisor is a ‘Fiduciary’

If you’re going to hire a financial advisor, one of your first questions should be, ‘are you a fiduciary?’ The answer should be ‘yes’. If the advisor does not say ‘yes’ to being a fiduciary, get away from them.


Being a fiduciary means being legally and ethically bound to providing advice that is in the best interest of the client. The fiduciary is expected to manage their client’s money so it benefits the client rather than for his or her own profit. A fiduciary financial advisor can not benefit personally from their management of your money. They must put their interests below that of their clients.


Some advisors only follow a suitability standard that requires them to make only suitable recommendations to their clients. The suitability standard only details that the advisor has to reasonably believe that any recommendations made are suitable for their clients, in terms of the client’s financial needs and objectives. This is much less of a commitement than being a fiduciary.


It’s not hard to believe that there are financial advisors out there that don’t have their client’s best interest in mind! When I was in my 30’s I went to a couple financial advisors that were not making recommendations in my best interest. One suggested I put $5000 in an annuity (not good advice for the amount of money and my age). Which I did. And the next one put my small  nest egg in loaded funds (It is much better to buy non-loaded funds). It took me 7 years to get out of the loaded funds without a penalty and nearly 20 years to get out of the annuity. Read more about why hiring a fiduciary based advisor is so important.


A fee-only financial advisor has fiduciary obligation to act in your best interest. You may want to consider a fee-only advisor when you have a more complex financial situation that you don’t feel comfortable managing alone. Never hurts to hear some opinions on the subject: Should you Choose a Fee-only Financial Advisor?


A new fiduciary rule  is scheduled to go into effect in April, 2017, is being fought by some financial advisor and brokers. The new president may also have some impact on the viability of the new rule. Read DOL Fiduciary Rule: Everything you need to know


My first blog entry

I did it! I set up a web page all by myself.  Well, I did use Rob Cubbon’s  online course. It was confusing with a lot of jargon I didn’t know. It took me some time, yet I kept reviewing the instructions and figured it out. I’ll savor the satisfaction  when I tell Keith (30) and Denise (28) that their mom set up a website with: a domain, web hosting and WordPress. Booya


It’s not easy to learn something new that is outside of your comfort zone. That’s what this website is going to do by helping you learn to be smart with your money. It’s easy to say–‘be smart with money’, but not so easy to do. Yet I believe everyone can learn to be smart with their money and successfully manage their own finances, savings and monetary goals. If you feel uncomfortable about your personal finances, keep coming back to Money Smarts Learning.

I’m excited to be sharing personal finance ideas that you can implement in your life right away.