This family has made significant wealth while keeping things simple. Their philosophy on life is a must-read!
Chief Software Architect
What type of employment do you have and what does your comp plan look like? Any side income?
I’m working fulltime at the company I co-founded 20 years ago. My regular income is mostly salary plus a bonus based on the company attaining sales goals. Over the last 5 years I’ve had 3 opportunities to sell the stock of my company, which was the source of most of my net worth.
When did you cross the million dollar mark and how did that happen?
Hard to say since most of my net worth was in stock of a privately held company, and we didn’t have any formal external valuations calculated through most of the company history. Best guess is that I passed the million-dollar mark around 2008. 2014 is when I sold enough stock to have $1M in investments other than my company.
What was the single best thing you have done with your investments?
My own company. I invested nothing but my willingness to take a risk, lots of hard work, and foregoing some other opportunities that seemed less risky but less rewarding. (My cofounders invested all the initial capital in the company.)
Where do you have your money invested and what are your debts? (account balances) Whats next?
No debt. I own 2 homes, my own plus one my parents are living in. Most of my investments, aside from my remaining stake in my company, are in stocks and bonds.
House #1- no mortgage
House #2- no mortgage
Equity in Business
Stocks and bonds
What is the biggest pitfall or mistake you have made with your money?
Paying too much in taxes due to not learning enough about how different sources of income are taxed and strategies for reducing tax liabilities.
What are the primary tax strategies you follow?
Investing in a tax-deferred annuity and using a charitable giving account to decouple the timing of tax-related charitable giving from when I actually donate to the charitable causes I support.
Do you follow a budget and how's that going?
Throughout most of my life, I have carefully followed a budget using software like Quicken to categorize and track my income and spending. Over the last couple of years, as my net worth has grown to the point that I’m reasonably comfortable about having plenty to last through retirement, I’ve become less careful about following a budget.
What steps have you taken to protect your money? (estate planning, trusts etc)
Not enough. I’ve been careful to ensure that all my savings and investment accounts have proper beneficiary designations. I’ve purchased a personal liability insurance policy. But I need to do more to ensure that my assets are used the way I’d like them to be after I’m gone.
Do you use a financial planner or software to track your assets?
I use software provided by Fidelity Investments and Personal Capital for this purpose. I like to keep track of how my investments are doing.
What's your best money advice for someone who is just starting out?
Just starting – Learn to enjoy saving money, not just spending it. Selling a business – Think about what uses of your money will bring you the most joy and satisfaction. My wife and I decided that after putting aside money for our retirement, we wanted to use as much of our remaining money for others as for ourselves. This includes charitable donations as well as giving some cash to our siblings and helping our kids with down payments on their first homes. We’ve enjoyed helping others more than we’ve enjoyed our Mercedes and our remodeled house.
If you could do it all over, what would you do different?
What does a typical day look like for you?
Up around 6am for exercise, work until 5, dinner and shared time with my wife, hobbies or service activities until around 10.
Any advice on life you can share? (school, career, family, personal development)
I made a very deliberate and conscious decision early in my career that I would not put my career and business success above my family and church service. There were times when I worked late or on weekends, but I never let that become common. I might have seen more business success more quickly if I had spent more time working, but it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable for me or my family
Do you have a retirement goal? What are your plans? Concerns?
I plan on reducing my work to 2 days a week beginning next year (56th birthday). I’ve committed to my company that I will remain available on that basis for at least 2 more years. Then we’ll see what I want to do next.
Favorite restaurants in Utah?
Tree Room at Sundance
Favorite ski resort?
Where is your favorite Utah vacation destination? Outside of Utah destination?
Moab has been my family’s favorite for 25 years. London is my favorite outside of Utah.
Favorite things to do in Utah?
Skiing, snowshoeing, canyoneering, hiking, backpacking, Jeeping