Tom and John Mills are registered investment advisers and certified financial planners. Reach them at 254-0155, 

Life is full of big decisions. These decisions may include things like a college major, who to marry or not marry, career options, where to live, or even about rather simple things like where to vacation.

Last year, Forbes reported that parents spent an average of $495 per child for Christmas. That number surprised me and was confirmation that many of us have lost touch with what the holidays are supposed to be.

Napa Valley has taken some hits on the chin over the years, and these fires are posing another challenge. We have been through flooding and earthquakes but, I don’t know if Napa has ever had fires like this.

A few years ago, a University of Chicago professor interviewed a financial columnist via online video chat. After their conversation, the professor wrote on a three-by-five index card what he thought was the best advice he could offer his children.

“Doomsday preppers” are often met with scorn. The zealous way they prepare for the “end of times” makes them seem a little crazy. Then an event like Hurricane Harvey happens and insanity becomes genius.

A few weeks ago, I received a call from a mother in distress. This mother was filling out an FAFSA, which is a government application to apply for federal aid to help pay for college.

You’ve done it! You hit the jackpot. You won the lottery and are an instant millionaire. Or maybe you hit it big with an invention, got a substantial inheritance, sold a business or got a divorce settlement.

We’ve all heard that old adage, “Money can’t buy happiness.”

There are certain advantages to being raised by a financial planner.

Over the years Tom and I have addressed the rent versus own debate many times.

If you are like me, you have probably wondered how we ever survived before the Internet and cellphones.

Editor’s note: Due to an error, this column did not run in print on Monday.

Years ago, I received a phone call from a client in distress.

One of the most frequent questions I get is related to paying off debt.

During a recent meeting with two longdtime friends, our conversation led to reminiscing about people and events from our past.

Few stories have taught me more about patience than the tale of the goose who laid golden eggs.

We have said many times before that if the IRS calls to collect money it is most likely a scam. That is about to change.

I have often heard that to see what people truly value look how they spend their time and money. People make time for what they value, and people find money to do what they love.

Many people don’t see the importance of estate planning until they have been forced to deal with the adverse effects of not being prepared for death or disability.

One of the many things I want to teach my children is how to manage money. I have seen many financial mistakes young people make and some of them are life disabling.

When I read tragic stories in the news, the planner in me always wonders how those involved will be affected financially. I wonder if they are prepared or have the proper insurance coverage.

Once upon a time, a particular government desired to introduce the potato to its population hoping the cheap and abundant starch would help feed many malnourished. The population didn’t like it.