Utah Millionaire Interview

Millionaire #12

This is a really neat couple with tons of wisdom. Lots of Nuggets in this one!

75 and 72


5 Million

Net Worth





SL County


PhD Psychologist and Sr. Exec tech firm / Business owners

Job Title

What type of employment do you have and what does your comp plan look like? Any side income?

We are both retired with pensions and 401K's. We also have a Hospitality Business that we operate as partners. It generates about $100K/year.

When did you cross the million dollar mark and how did that happen?

2002; We achieved this by working hard at steady, well-paying jobs, minimizing debt, savvy real estate investments, good negotiations in compensation packages and career transitions, and building successful businesses after retirement from our large company positions.

What was the single best thing you have done with your investments?

Real Estate (buying in the right location, the right price at the right time) We were generally able to double our equity within the first or second year of ownership.

Where do you have your money invested and what are your debts? (account balances) Whats next?

Professional money manager/broker (Merrill Lynch) and real estate.
Owe on our primary residence (about 30% loan to value).  Our other real estate is debt-free.  We have no credit card debt; don’t think it makes any sense.  We have been described as “interest averse.”

What is the biggest pitfall or mistake you have made with your money?

First, being too nice, no really. Letting renters stack up rental non-payments and having them taking advantage of us by sneaking out of our rental property in the middle of the night. Second, thinking we were smart enough to be good at market timing strategy when buying and selling stock, especially our employer stock. It's best to develop a Risk Tolerance Strategy with a professional adviser and sticking to the strategy.

What are the primary tax strategies you follow?

Employ experienced and reputable tax advisor/preparer for the long term.  Know the details and understand the tax implications of major financial decisions.   Take advantage of all legal tax rules available and do not be tempted to do anything outside the laws.

Do you follow a budget and how's that going?

We do an annual budget development and detail review as part of our life goal-setting and decision-making. We prepare the annual budget and review spending with the same rigor as was required when we were senior executives of major corporations. It's an important discipline.

What steps have you taken to protect your money? (estate planning, trusts etc)

We worked with our financial advisor and an attorney to develop an estate plan, set up a trust and write a will. Carefully review the risk/reward of major career decisions (changing jobs, locations, careers, starting a new business). Have a sensible insurance strategy, including umbrella policies to prevent unforeseen claims against our assets and net worth.

Do you use a financial planner or software to track your assets?

Yes, we use a Financial Advisor with detailed reporting to track our assets. We like to know what is increasing our assets and what may be having a negative effect to inform our decision making.

What's your best money advice for someone who is just starting out?

Just starting: Develop and monitor a detailed annual budget with monthly income and expenses. Selling: Identify and use a personal "board of directors" to provide advice on important decisions.

If you could do it all over, what would you do different?

We're satisfied with the trade-offs we have made and the payback we've received for our hardwork.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Good sleep, exercise, eat right, track our business action items.

Any advice on life you can share? (school, career, family, personal development)

Have balance. Know what you are willing to give up to get what you want.

Any books you would recommend on money?

The Millionaire Next Door

Do you have a retirement goal? What are your plans? Concerns?

Stay healthy on purpose. Concerns? Climate change impact on our grandchildren and their children.

Favorite restaurants in Utah?

Log Haven.

Favorite ski resort?

Depends; for families Brighton, for serious skiers Solitude, for snobs Alta.

Favorite Hotel in Utah?

The lodge at Zion

Where is your favorite Utah vacation destination? Outside of Utah destination?


Favorite things to do in Utah?

Ski with grandkids, visit with family, hike (What's not to like??)

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