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

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.

In 2008, Warren Buffett made a friendly bet with a hedge fund company that the hedge fund couldn’t beat the S&P 500 index over a 10-year period.

Asking questions in a group setting can feel perilous. We are all afraid of asking a dumb question, so we end up not asking at all.

Several years ago, I received a call from a person who was seeking a second opinion a certain transaction.

It has often been said that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago and the second best time is today.

Divorce brings so many financial changes it is impossible to stay on top it all.

‘Tis the season for making resolutions.

Do you remember the “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” piece written by Robert Fulghum?

How was your year? They say only 17 percent of New Year’s resolutions are kept. Did you keep yours?

2016 is coming to a close. What a year it has been.

Many years ago, I found a little book written by a British author Herbert N. Casson. It is entitled “Tips on Finance.”

A while back, someone gave me a little book titled “Independently Wealthy,” written by Dr. Robert Goodman.

About this time every year, I write a column about year-end income tax strategies.

The turkey is eaten. The endless football games are over. Thanksgiving 2016 is in the books.

Several years ago, I attended the funeral service for a friend and client.

The book “The New Retirementality” was given to me several years ago. It was written by Mitch Anthony. It is now in its fourth edition.

One of the questions that John and I ask our new clients is, “What keeps you up at night when it comes to your finances?”

Starting a marriage with significant debt is not a good idea, but that is very common today.

When our children visit with our younger grandchildren, my wife and I always marvel at the energy and work related with their little ones.

Several weeks ago, my wife and I took a 12-state trek, basically following the famous Route 66 turning in Illinois and heading back to California.