Color of Money Live: 'Great financial wealth does not guarantee happiness.'

Nov 29, 2018

Send in your questions to Washington Post nationally syndicated personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary.

Michelle is chatting this week with Bill Danko who is the co-author of the Color of Money Book Club selection for the month, "Richer Than A Millionaire."

“Knowledge isn’t power. The right knowledge is power.”

Stay informed.

Read & share Michelle Singletary’s Color of Money Column on Wednesdays and Sundays: https://wapo.st/michelle-singletary

Follow Michelle Singletary on Twitter (@SingletaryM) and Facebook www.facebook.com/MichelleSingletary

I'm so glad you could join me today. And I'm super excited to have a special guest to also take your questions. Here with me today is William D. Danko. He's the coauthor of "The Millionaire Next Door," a book everyone should read. It's also recently published "Richer Than a Millionaire," which takes a look at what it really means to be wealthy and it's not all about the dollars. 

Danko's research on the wealthy is amazing. So please send your questions for him. 

Let's get started. 

The letter from Virgina asking "Is there a Santa Claus?" Excerpt from the response: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! This line makes me believe that everybody can be somebody's Santa Claus. The spirit of Santa Claus is not to get but as a reminder of love, generosity, and devotion. It isn't the packages, and presents but the act of kindness, caring and acknowledging another person's existence. Stop by and visit a person who is alone. Drop off Christmas cards in your neighborhood, even to the folks you don't know. Wrap up a gift and give it to a homeless person. Send a thank you note to a co-worker. Visit new parents and let them watch a movie together at home and you take care of the baby. Be considerate and kind to someone. Give up your seat on the subway. So during the Advent season before Christmas be somebody's Santa Claus and warm their heart and your heart too.

Read Michelle's newsletter: Your children don’t believe in Santa anymore? Good.

I agree with you.

I totally believe in Santa Claus. Always will. But I wrote today's newsletter for parents who are making themselves financially crazy trying to buy for their kids.

My husband and I use the fact that our kids no longer believe to our advantage. Read and find out how. 

I think it's funny!

My husband and I (47 and 45 respectively) have no children, and aren't close to any of our nieces and nephews, mainly due to living quite far away from them. I work in a hospital and often hear stories of patients who cannot afford long term care after discharge for various reasons and it has me thinking of our future. What is a good age to start looking into long term care insurance? We're still pretty healthy, but my husband recently had a health scare that could have been devastating in the long term (fortunately it wasn't what the doctors originally thought and he'll be fine).

Read Michelle's column: Here’s what it’s like dealing with the high cost of long-term care

If you're asking the question the time is now to start investigating whether this insurance is right for you. I will say there have been a lot of changes in the long term care insurance market. They got the pricing very wrong in the beginning so it's much more expensive and many policyholders have seen some significant jumps in premiums. 

So shop around. There are some hybrid policies that combine the insurance with investing. You still have some years to look and decide. Policies start to really get expensive after your 60s. 

What are 1-3 simple things everyone can do regardless of financial situation and education to bring them closer to wealth goals

First, commit to saving 20 percent of your income.  Currently, most save about 5 percent.  It is hard to get ahead and be an investor without saving first.

Second, be a good steward of your resources.  This includes having stable personal relationships, and good personal habits.  These behaviors will lead to a longer life, and more compounding opportunities.

Third, consider having more than one stream of income.  A second job can be beneficial.

I'm proud of myself for resisting the Black Friday sales last week. I was tempted to buy a pair of boots, and a new clothes dryer (mine is old but still working). Those two things would have cost me close to $1,000 even on sale. I talked myself out of it! I really can't splurge right now because I'm paying for my son's college tuition.

Read Michelle's column: Going Black Friday shopping? Just say no to those store credit card offers.

I'm so proud of you. And you did what I tell people to do all the time - talk to yourself. Often just having the conversation even in your head will help you save. 

I didn't go to a single store or shop online. 

The sales will still be there. 

So much as been written about your first book "The Millionaire Next Door" what's different in this book "Richer Than a Millionaire?" What has the newer research found. 

The Millionaire Next Door addresses financial wealth.  It does not cover "true prosperity."  The new book completes the picture.

The main premise of the new book is that money is good, but money and happiness are better.  Those who are richer than a millionaire  can have modest financial wealth and be happy; great financial wealth does not guarantee happiness.

Hi Michelle, My 76 year old father has asked me to co-sign a mortgage that would allow him to move to a newer, more expensive house. My father has been unable to sell his current house (he had a contract that recently feel through), but he wants to move now, and the only way he can do that is if I co-sign the new mortgage. I have three siblings, but they are each unable or unwilling to be his co-signer. I'm in my 50's, with two teenage girls and a big mortgage on our own house, and my wife and I would like to consider retirement in the coming years. But I'm very close to my father, and I want to help him get the house that he wants. Should I co-sign, and if so, what information do I need to learn from my father before doing so? Thanks for all your great advice over the years!


Read Michelle's column: Another story of co-signing gone wrong

DON'T DO IT. 

DON'T COSIGN!

So, I'm not yelling, truly. I just wanted to be sure you get what a mistake it will be to cosign for your father will be.

When you cosign, you are not the backup borrower. You cosign and that's your mortgage too. It impacts your ability to borrow should you need or want to. And you can't afford two mortgages.

Think about it. The fact that your father NEEDS a cosigner is a sign he can't afford the home -- at least not right now probably because he has the other house.

I really do understand you want to help your father. But don't do this at the risk of putting your own family's finances in jeopardy. 

I am one of those "alones" that is referenced in the article. How do I go about making sure that I am taken care of since I'll have no one else to depend on? Do I need to see a financial advisor?

You most definitely need a plan that will likely include the help of a fee-only financial planner and probably an estate attorney. If you probably should looking into getting long term care insurance.

But you should also find a very trusted friend to watch over your affairs and the people you put in place to take care of your wealth. 

Is this 3-6 months take home? 3-6 months with no changes to retirement and college savings? 3-6 months with no changes to lifestyle? If it's take home I have about 3 months. If it's pulling back on retirement, college savings, daycare and other expenses I have 6+ months. I feel like this fund is low right now because my roof and boiler both went this year but I'm not sure how aggressive to be about building it back up.

Emergency fund: Three to six months of "living expenses." In other words what it cost to run your household for three to six months and that would include rent/mortgage, car payment, utilities, cable, cell phone expenses, food, etc. You could back out savings from that figure but the point is add up ALL your household expenses and multiply by 3 to 6 to arrive at the emergency fund amount. If you are a highly compensated employee aim for 12 months since it may take you some time to find a job that will pay you as much as you were earning. But take your time building this up if you have other more pressing expenses. 

Life happens fund: Save up enough for the things in life that happens such as a major car repair or needing a need roof or boiler. 

So your emergency fund may be low for now while you deal with the roof/boiler issue and that's Ok.

do you think it's true the more you make, the more you spend? True for me.

Unfortunately, this is true in many households.  I recall interviewing a physician who felt it was a reward to spend BIG after years of education and "paying dues."  Coupled with seeing death and dying on a regular basis, the justification was even stronger.  My simple question to the MD:  will you ever be able to retire?  This led to a discussion of the time value of money and the power of compound interest.  It is never too late to get on track.

You just talked about how to become rich and said "This includes having stable personal relationships, and good personal habits.  These behaviors will lead to a longer life, and more compounding opportunities."

Can you explain more what you mean? 

Sure.  Longevity directly relates to the time value of money.  Consider buying car.  Do you need a $90,000 luxury model, or will a $30,000 vehicle suffice?  First, note you don't have to impress anyone with an expensive car.  Why not invest the difference of $60,000 and let compound interest work for you?  So, the longer you live because of a modest lifestyle, the greater value of your investments over time.  Clearly, divorce is a financial and emotional hazard.  Also a reckless lifestyle will shorten one's life.

Loved today's column. I'd like to offer a shout-out to my parents, who gave us happy Christmases without overspending and without cultivating greed in their kids. They never pretended Santa was real, and we always knew who our presents came from. They also never asked us for a wish list (though I suspect my mother eavesdropped when we pored over the Sears Christmas catalog). Instead, we made lists of presents to give. We received few presents by the standards of today's kids, they were well chosen but not costly, and we never felt deprived. We enjoyed making or shopping for the gifts we gave. Thanks, Mommy and Daddy!

What a great testimony to your parents! Thank you for sharing. 

It’s well overdue, but I finally opened up a 529 account for my child. To make up for some lost years, I opened the account with $17K and have set up monthly contributions. In less than a month, I’ve already lost over $500! I’m of course now second guessing whether this is the best place to invest. Do I just keep with it and continue monthly contributions or should i put that new money elsewhere? We have about 12 years until college.

I hear you. Right now the stock market is going through some things. But investing is about the long game. You will drive yourself crazy watching your 529 plan on a daily bases. You have 12 years to go. Let the market do it's thing, which is over time based on past performance you can expect a 5 to 6 percent return. 

Stay put in the 529 plan. Make your monthly contributions. 

My husband and I did for 20 years and ended up with enough between our contributions and returns (around 5%) to send all three of our children to college debt free. 

Bill, thank you for joining. And Michelle, thank you for hosting these informative chats! My mini testimonial is that after scrolling through (many) online sales over the past week, I didn't buy a single thing. I forced myself to answer "Is this a want or a need?" and since nothing was a need, nothing was purchased. (A few made it into my shopping cart. But I didn't click buy...) Bill: I am curious after your 20% savings calculation. I just checked, and I am actually doing just that: 12% into my retirement account and 8% into mutual fund. I have no clue if this is a good/wise/recommended balance. Do you have any thoughts on how to best divvy up those savings? I am 34 years old.

You are fortunate to be on this track.  A financial advisor is best prepared to speak to the allocation issue.  However from a behavioral perspective, you are doing well to distinguish between needs and wants.  In RICHER, we have a section that looks at Maslow.  In our western society we too often confuse wants with needs.  But, marketers (and I'm a professor of that noble profession) are very good in extracting money from you!

When I shop for Xmas presents and see a great price for something. I never buy it that day. I wait a few days. Once I am out of the store and think about it I usually decide against buying. And if I do decide to buy and its already been sold, then it wasn't meant for me. I save a lot money this way.

Love, love this strategy. I have a many online carts with items that I never end up buying. 

What does it take to "feel" rich? Is $1 million the benchmark? 

In RICHER, we ask what is your current net worth, and how much do you think you need to feel rich.  Not surprisingly, respondents all said they needed more than what they have.  But here is the reality from the Federal Reserve:  to be in the top half of all households in the US, one needs but $100,000.  A net worth of $1.2 million puts your household in the top 10 percent.  So, a million is still pretty lofty.

Michelle might not have been yelling, but I was yelling "NO!" as I read your question. Not only should you not co-sign (there is not one good reason to do so and it could ruin you), but now is the time to sit with your father and talk long-term plans. He's 76 and the fact that he wants to move to a new home tells me that he isn't thinking realistically about what his needs might be in the future. At his age, he should probably be considering downsizing to a place he can afford to keep up, one without steps, etc. If he develops dementia or a physical disability, who's going to take care of him and that big new house he's buying? Sure, he might tell you he wants a new home because it will have less upkeep than an old one. But you know what has even less upkeep? An apartment or independent living community.

 I'm not sure the home is bigger but the poster did say it was more expensive. 

Nonetheless, good points to go over with the dad. 

My inlaws have recently sold their dream house in Oregon to move to a warmer climate in California, as renters to try it out, and are now thinking of buying. They are concerned about taxes, about health care availability, and about long-term care, especially if one passes before the other. Should they continue renting to maintain cash-on-hand for the unknown costs as they enter their 80's?

This is a great question to put to a fee-only financial planner who can review all their financial holdings, etc. 

Also, they may want to consider what would happened if they couldn't stay in the home. In that case, renting would give them the flexibility to move closers to adult children or family. Just a thought. 

Hi, Could you advise on the potential impact one late mortgage payment could have on my credit score? Earlier this year my mortgage company said I was 60 days late on a mortgage payment which they reported to the Credit Bureau (I do not know which bureau they reported to). This was the first time I was late on a mortgage payment in 12 years. Payment was late because I was resolving an issue with the mortgage company's estimate of my escrow amount for next year's property taxes. I plan to dispute the late payment filing, but am concerned on how this will negatively impact my credit score. Thanks for your help!

A late mortgage payment of 60 days can have a huge impact on your credit score. So, please try to get that removed if you can. 

However, it's not the end of the world if you have a super high score in the 800s. It may knock you down to the mid 700s. And clearly only an issue if you plan on borrowing soon for a home or car. 

My husband just came upstairs and showed me a vintage game he found in pristine condition at the thrift shop for $1. I loved it and I told him "I would love that for Christmas! Take it downstairs and wrap it and put it under the tree and I will be thrilled with it on Christmas Day". He went for it because now he knows is is giving me something I like and want!

Love it!!!!!

 

I've shared my family's experience in this forum before. The insurance companies don't want to pay out so will make it extremely difficult to file a claim. It took hours and hours of one of my sibling's time with the company after the first few claims were denied. You didn't dot your 'I'. Denied. Didn't cross your 'T'. Denied. She had a spreadsheet and documented every person she spoke to, date and time and what they said. When it finally kicked in, it was a godsend but there is no way our 80-year-old parents would have been able to do that on their own. You need to have someone doggedly determined on your behalf to get the benefits you've paid for. Oh, and check the fine print. My parents' policy said premiums would be suspended once the payouts began. Guess what? They kept deducting premiums for their checking account and that was another round of phone calls and arguments to get that money refunded. Good luck.

Thank you for sharing your experience. I have heard from others who didn't have to go through such hoops but you never know. 

So be prepared with a lot of time.

I talked my husband out of a new refrigerator. We both hate the one we have but it works. PS paying an extra $600 on our mortgage every month!

I hate my current frig, dishwasher and washing machine.

But I love NOT spending more!

Do you have one good point from Richer than a Millionaire that people would be surprised to learn?

The main thrust of RICHER examines characteristics of those who are happy and those who are dissatisfied.  The happy, well adjusted millionaires and the mass affluent are more likely to be charitable with their time and money.  Millionaires who are not charitable, even though they have resources to give,  tend to be dissatisfied with life.  They can never have enough for themselves!  That is sad.  Fortunately, only a 27 percent of the mass affluent, and 12 percent of the millionaires are dissatisfied.

What do you tell millennials who feel that debt will keep them from ever doing anything? Student loans, credit card debt, mortgage debt?

Student debt loads are huge.  As a university professor, I sensed there were many students who would be better off learning a trade, or a skill that did not require a formal university education.  So, in a sense, societal pressure requires some misguided education by encouraging four year degrees.  We have to rethink education.  In RICHER, we make the case of trade schools, and the like.

How do you handle large annual expenses? We have about 20k in taxes and insurance that come at various times in the year and I am finding it's throwing off my monthly budgeting and planning. Can you provide some guidance as to how best to manage this issue?

If these are expenses you know are coming you have to shave off money every month to have it ready to pay when they become due. 

My husband and I keep a bank account with cash to cover these large outlays. Every month we have money going into the account almost like a payment. So divide the big bills by 12 and make payments into an account separate from your regular household account. When the times comes the money is there and you don't have to stress.  

Hi Michelle - I just got an email saying that locking/freezing my credit is now free. It seems like this is a good thing to do. What are your thoughts? I have a great credit rating (over 830) and I am buying a condo in the next months. It looks like the lock is quicker to remove than the freeze, but I am unsure which is best. Thanks!

I'm going to be testing out how fast the credit freeze, which is free, can be removed. The credit bureaus are supposed to remove them within one hour if the request is made online or my phone. If my mail it can take up to three business days. 

 

I've done pretty well. I'm nowhere near a millionaire, but I have a good paying job, own a house and have good credit. I'm saving for retirement. Unfortunately, my relationships aren't great. I am related to , and surrounded by, lower-income people with less education and ambition. When my coworkers and professional contacts have met my family, it hasn't gone well. I've lost professional opportunities because they didn't know how to act at company events, for instance. I've been more and more isolated these past few years, trying not to let people take advantage of me or judge me for my background. I go to work with smart, capable people, but I keep my distance. I come home to resentment, demands, and the expectation that what's mine is now theirs. What are your thoughts on this problem?

Let me refer you to a wonderful book:

The Power of Positive Thinking.

This book is truly powerful!

 

I completely understand. I have some relatives I would never take to an office party. 

I also had folks in family who thought I owed them something because of my career success. With some therapy I realized I didn't owe them anything. However, I do believe to whom much is given much is required. So my husband and I help family a lot. We don't give handouts however. We give a hand up. We will help with college or when someone is layoff. We just become discerning about how to help. So you don't need to cut yourself off from folks. Just set boundaries. And if people cross them, sure let them go. 

Yesterday was the first time I looked looked at my fairly modest portfolio since the Oct. downturn. While it was a shock, I didn't freak out. I paid off my mortgage in August and in September I started transferring 2/3 of mortgage payment to an on-line savings account. By the end of March, I will have saved enough "real" money to cover the paper losses from my paper profits.

Great testimony. Thank you for sharing, especially putting the market downturn in perspective. 

The Millionaire Next Door was one of the few financial type books that I read cover to cover - back when it originally came out. We were always savers, living below our means and we could say we became one of those "millionaires next door" such that most people would not realize our wealth. We also raised our children to be independent and self supporting - not making them dependent on us for a nice lifestyle - one of the main points I took away from the book. Now that we are in our 60's and are only still working because we enjoy it, I would like to be little more extravagant in spending and giving to my adult children. Right now we do not give any money to them, but do take them on nice vacations each year. Any advice you can provide on maintaining a good balance in giving with to my adult children?

Honestly, I think you got it nailed. My husband and I share our wealth by also taking relatives on nice vacations with us. We provide the housing, they pay for airfare, excursions, etc.

We also share our wealth by giving them a hand up. We helped a nice with college tuition, room and board. We offered to pay for books for other relatives in college. 

When my sister lost her job through no fault of her own (part of a massive layoff) we covered her car payments for a year until she got back on her feet financially.

So with your adult children look at what you can do not  because they are irresponsible but because their is a need/want. 

How to best transition adult children to financial independence and when to cut them off.

You do a child no favor through subsidizing their lifestyle.  Take a look at the chapter on economic outpatient care in The Millionaire Next Door.  The lesson:  create self sufficient children.  The rewards of tough love are significant.

Thank you so much for today's newsletter on how to handle gift shopping/Santa Clause with kids of all ages. You should have seen the stink-eye I got from my niece last Christmas because I didn't get many gifts. We don't do much gift-giving among adults, and my spouse and I stick to our budget even though my in-laws all have 3x at much money as us. But my nieces get everything under the sun. As they sat among piles of presents (many of which they forgot about immediately after opening), one of them exclaimed about how they got all this because they were "good," then looked at my small stack of gifts, pointed out how I didn't get many presents, and threw me a stink-eye well beyond her years. She had clearly internalized the message that you get things if you're good and if you don't get things it's because you're bad. And no, her parents didn't do anything to correct her. Ugh.

Ugh, indeed!

What do you think of having two checking accounts--one for regular bills and the other for 'daily expenses'--gas, groceries, etc? Each week, I would deposit the budgeted amount into the 'daily' account. I would only use an ATM card with this account. To me, this seems to have two advantages. First, it would make staying within the weekly budget easier--the amount in the account would reflect how much has been spent and what is left. Second, it would avoid my husband and I having to enter each daily expense in the one checkbook we now have. We frequently each have several of these in one day--if either of us fails to enter an expense or expenses, it creates real problems knowing the actual balance at all times.

I'm all for having multiple pots. It works for me too.

In 2014 my wife and I took out a $75,000 home equity loan to do a big remodel of our master bath and to build the walk-in closet of our dreams. The remodel was worth every penny, and we've been aggressively paying off the loan. It's a 10 year loan that we're on schedule to pay off by the end of 2019. But we decided in lieu of holiday gifts this year we're going to put $10,000 toward the principal and get this monkey off or back in the next few months. It's easier for us to do this because we don't have children, but for us this will be a great holiday season. Once this loan is paid off, we'll probably put the money we've been paying toward it toward paying off our home mortgage. Not sure if it will be entirely paid off in the next 10 years when we'll be thinking very seriously about retirement, but it will be very, very close. Love all you do.

Love your plan. Get that monkey off your back!

If the OP is involved in the process of buying a home, I would NOT mess with locking or freezing your credit at this point. Any anomalies can cause a hiccup in the process. The last thing you want is to have anything strange going on with your credit while you're buying a home.

Very true but the person said it may be a few months before they are ready to buy. 

 

We bought one two years ago. Well worth it, since the previous one neither cleaned nor drained properly. It's been nice to have an appliance that just works. But if our previous dishwasher had 'just worked,' no matter how many other frills it lacked, we would've kept it. Black Friday is great for stuff you need -- keep it at that and you're well ahead of most!

That's where I am. It functions well enough. 

The way one becomes a millionaire often involves a fairly big dose of frugality. While I've always found it pleasant and enjoyable to volunteer time and energy, monetary donations are tough to swallow. Any tips on how to become more charitable without making oneself cringe at the expense (even though you tell yourself it's for a good cause)? Or is it just something to grow out of at one's own pace?

Absolutely.  Giving your time can be quite rewarding.  Let me recommend a 2006 book:  Who Really Cares, by Arthur Brooks. he, too, makes the case that giving is good for the individual, and for the greater good of society.

In figuring if you can be a retirement millionaire, how does a defined pension plan benefit fit into the equation as opposed to IRA's or 401K's?

If you have a defined pension plan, you are better off than most!  I don't give financial advice, but thinking about the 4 percent rule can give some guidance.  So, if you have a plan that provides $40,000 annually, you might think of having assets of $1 million producing that amount.  Of course, the principal is not yours.

Does that include all types of saving, 4013b, emergency savings, and short-term savings? If not, what should the 20% be going towards?

Think of 20 percent as a stretch goal.  If you earn and spend everything, you cannot build a significant financial net worth.  You must practice self-imposed financial scarcity.  So, if you make $100,000, create a life style that only requires 80 percent of this, and save/invest the rest. 

Have you read stories about athletes going broke?  My advice for those with multi-million dollar contracts:  spend 1/3, reserve 1/3 for taxes, legal, and accounting fees, and save/invest 1/3.  Pretty simple, actually.

Does your new book address what to do with financial wealth? Our relatives do not need all of it and we tend not to spend that much having lived below our means for years--not hurting. Last year we did do the IRA donations for the first time. Judge Judy should be required viewing for anyone thinking of cosigning, living unmarried and sharing accounts/property, etc.

RICHER makes the case why we should be charitable.  You will be RICHER THAN A MILLIONAIRE by being charitable!

What response surprised you the most in doing research for your new book?

The more I think about the research into RICHER and the need to be charitable, after publication, the more I'm struck with a sense that can best be described by the Greek word "metanoia."  This may sound esoteric, but it relates to a transformative change of heart.  The strongest motivation truly tugs at the heard.

For me, I know that how wealthy I feel is often influenced how I compare to others. When I return from some of my relatives' homes, I feel really poor because they go on and on about their multiple vacations, show off new gadgets, and go shopping every day. However, I always pull myself back to remember the really intense feeling I had after returning from a trip to Senegal shortly after college. It was a place that I had studied about and when a friend got a job over there, I used all my extra money to buy a plane ticket to go stay with her for a week. When I came home, I caught myself marveling at the fact that I could turn the faucet in my small studio apartment and out came clear, clean, drinkable water. I'm not saying everything needs to be so extreme, but we are often wealthy in ways we can't imagine. Your point about $100,000 in net worth making people wealthy on a worldwide scale is absolutely true.

This is the essence of rich:  it is a state of mind.  We have been blessed to live in a country that allows us to use our talents for a greater good.  Living modestly, and being able to be happy, is, well, rich.

I created a savings account specifically for Christmas gift shopping that I make deposits to here and there throughout the year. When shopping for family, I generally (I admittedly make a few exceptions to this) stick to however much I am able to save. Definitely helpful with not digging myself into the proverbial debt hole!

This is a great way to make sure you don't overspend as long as when doing this you don't have consumer debt. 

I am also an "alone" but attempt to be generous with nieces, nephews, friends, etc. Especially with the younger ones, small gifts and planning experiences together really create a bond. Regarding LTC insurance, I read some statistics (can't remember where) that approximately 5% of insured will get more than their money back, 20% will break even, and 75% will never collect anything. Perhaps you or Mr. Danko have more info on those statistics. That seems to be a really bad investment and is why I have not enrolled. I saved the funds I would have used for LT care insurance, and invest in my health so I can (hopefully) live healthier, longer.

Just remember long term care insurance is just that insurance. You are hedging against a risk you may not be able to afford. Same with car insurance. You might pay for decades and never need it. 

I want thank you and tell you what a great influence The Millionaire Next Door was on my husband and me (and Michelle's column, too of course!). Many times over the years we've asked one another, "what would a millionaire next door do in this situation?" This helped us so much along the way and now here we are, ready to retire in our mid-50s after living modestly, maxing out our 401(k) plans, and saving and investing as much as we could outside those plans. I also think the millionaire next door philosophy--namely modest living and examining what's really important in life--has strengthened our relationship over the years by removing the stress of social status purchases, keeping up with the Jones, and such. We really look forward to reading your latest book. Thank you again!

Amen, and thank you.  

Your comments are a good place to end the chat today.

We all could be richer if we think about how much we have. 

Thank you for joining me today especially to Dr. Danko. I love his work!

 

In This Chat
Michelle Singletary
Michelle Singletary writes the nationally syndicated personal finance column, "The Color of Money," which appears in The Post on Wednesday and Sunday and is carried in more than 120 newspapers.

Read recent columns
Subscribe to Michelle's newsletter
Color of Money Q&A Archive
William D. Danko
Bill Danko is the co-author of "Richer Than A Millionaire," a book about finding modest financial wealth and happiness.
Recent Chats
  • Next: