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Although I was tracking my net worth closely, I can’t pinpoint the exact moment my total net worth would have crossed into seven figures and someone might consider me a millionaire. It was something I wasn’t thinking about for a variety of reasons, but because I was an entrepreneur, I was the owner of a business that was increasing in value. It was difficult to assign a specific value to that business, but because I ended up selling that business — this website — the buyer and I both had to agree on a value.

Sometime before then, I also crossed the point of having a balance sheet that included investable (non-business) assets of a million dollars. One of the reasons I stopped publicly tracking my finances as I wasn’t interested in drawing attention to the fact. I tracked my finances to hold myself accountable for making better decisions with my money on a day-to-day basis; as my business grew, most daily decisions had little impact on my financial well-being.

So I stopped. And I don’t talk about my net worth. Instead, I let Consumerism Commentary readers track theirs, like I did for many years, through Naked With Cash. But there are a lot of people who like talking about what it means to be a millionaire. For most people who have reached that abritray round-number milestone with their investable net worth, life hasn’t changed too much from when their net worth was lower.

Jaime Tardy founded Eventual Millionaire to talk to as many millionaires as possible, with the goal of gaining some insight about entrepreneurship that could help people see that kind of success. But does it make sense to look at that millionaire milestone as the target? Most people in my age group (I’m 38 years old as of last week — happy birthday to me) would probably need several million dollars invested if they wish to be financially independent today or would need as much twenty years from now for a healthy retirement living a middle class life.

In this podcast, I discuss this issue with Jaime, and we determine what we might be able to learn from millionaire entrepreneurs. Her new book, The Eventual Millionaire: How Anyone Can Be an Entrepreneur and Successfully Grow Their Startup, is now available.

Continue reading this article to listen to the audio or to find a link to download the audio for later. You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

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I’m a reluctant entrepreneur, but I’ve learned to be less self-conscious about the fact that this is the designation society has given to me as someone who started his own business. While many people after, but also before, the recession have started side businesses to improve their financial security, for me, a hobby turned into a profitable and enjoyable way to spend my time.

But entrepreneur was always a dirty word to me, even after I came to the realization that I was, in fact, an entrepreneur. The word hustle is now associated with side businesses, but a hustle is a con, a scam. These words have always had the connotation of being less than forthright in business, using deceptive practices to get a customer or mark to part with his or her hard-earned money.

Entrepreneurship has a rich history in the United States, considering this is a country of immigrants, and every batch of latest immigrants has a hard time finding acceptance in traditional jobs, and language and cultural barriers often keep communities looking within for business.

Self-employment as a result of side businesses is a growing trend, but not necessarily due to immigration. This is the focus of Kimberly Palmer’s new book, The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life. Kimberly is the money editor and Alpha Consumer blogger for U.S. News & World Report, and I’ve had the great pleasure of working and speaking with her over the past few years. She joined me recently to discuss the theme of her latest book.

Continue reading this article to listen to the audio or to find a link to download the audio for later. You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Visit Kimberly’s website at ByKimberlyPalmer.com.

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I haven’t been running the Consumerism Commentary Podcast on a regular basis. Instead of a weekly podcast, my intention is to share occasional interviews to discuss topics that go beyond product updates and general personal finance information.

Jeff Rose is a successful financial blogger, founder of Good Financial Cents. His new book, Soldier of Finance: Take Charge of Your Money and Invest in Your Future, is available today at all major book retailers today.

I wanted to speak with Jeff about this book because it, like my other favorite books about personal finance, is more than just another annual update to the same basic financial non-fiction literature we tend to see from the more popular authors with television shows or seminars to promote. Jeff gives personal finance an interesting spin stemming very deeply from his own experiences inside and outside of the military.

You don’t need to have military experience to take helpful information away from Soldier of Finance. I am very much a civilian and enjoyed reading the stories Jeff shares in the book and seeing how they relate to training in financial skills ranging from beginning to advanced. With this podcast, my intent was to allow Jeff to share his military experiences throughout our discussion as we looked at some of the metaphors from his new book. Continue reading this article to listen to the audio or to find a link to download the audio for later. You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

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The Consumerism Commentary Podcast is no longer on a regular schedule, but I plan to produce new episodes throughout the year as the opportunities arise.

Today’s guest on the podcast is Helaine Olen, author of Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry. Helaine is a New York-based journalist, contributing to Forbes, and notably wrote and edited the “Money Makeover” feature for the Los Angeles Times.

You can find Pound Foolish, available in book form as well as for the Kindle, where ever books are sold. The book takes a critical eye at the media-driven personal finance industry, from self-help gurus like Suze Orman, Robert Kiyosaki, David Bach, and Dave Ramsey, to commission-based salespeople and lesser-known money coaches who host free-lunch seminars with the intent of selling low-quality products.

In addition to the state of personal finance today, in the podcast, we talk about how personal finance journalism has changed since its emergence during the Great Depression.

[00:00] Introduction from Luke Landes
[00:30] Interview with Helaine Olen
[00:42] Roots of personal finance journalism, Sylvia Porter
[04:00] Changes in personal finance since the Great Depression
[05:50] Complexity of personal finance products
[06:52] Marketing driving personal financial advice, Suze Orman
[11:28] Robert Kiyosaki, wealth guru
[14:33] Corporate sponsorship of financial literacy programs
[15:50] Does financial literacy even work?
[17:50] Modeling financial behavior for children
[19:30] Solutions other than financial literacy
[21:25] Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and regulators
[22:07] What can individuals do to eliminate “gotcha products?”
[25:59] End

Here are all episodes of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast. You can also subscribe using iTunes or RSS.

Episode 169 credits:
Produced and hosted by Luke Landes
Guest: Helaine Olen
Edited and mixed by Jay Frosting
Music by Mindcube

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Podcast 168: Liz Weston, There Are No Dumb Questions About Money

by Luke Landes
Liz Weston

The Consumerism Commentary Podcast has been on hiatus this summer, but Tom and Jay are returning soon with monthly podcasts featuring interviews with authors, industry experts, and CEOs. In the interim, I will be featuring a few Podcast Special Editions, hosted by myself, also featuring a number of great interviews. The first of these Special ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 167: Women and Success

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Tom Dziubek talks with Ellyn Spragins, speaker, author, and editor of the Letters To My Younger Self series of books. Ellyn talks to Tom about how women differ from men in regards to success, especially regarding finding and developing their inner talents. They also discuss her “Letters to My ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 166: Income Taxes and Your Kids’ Summer Jobs

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Tom Dziubek talks with Gregg Wind, CPA at the accounting firm of Wind & Stern, about income taxes related to children’s summer jobs. First, Gregg and Tom talk about tax advantages for parents who have a business and are thinking about hiring their children as employees. Afterward, they discuss ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 165: Credit Scoring and Management

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Jay talks with John Ulzheimer about credit scores and managing your credit history. They also discuss the deceptive marketing of pre-paid debit cards, how a FICO score is built and the unfortunate history of credit repair firms. Consumerism Commentary Podcast Credit Scoring and Management: S07E09 / 165 Download – ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 164: Vanguard’s My Classroom Economy

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Jay talks with Shannon Nutter-Wiersbitzky about My Classroom Economy, a model classroom curriculum designed by Vanguard. Shannon is the Director of Market Research at The Vanguard Group. They discuss many aspects of bringing a real world economy model into the classroom, where students earn salaries and have to pay ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 163: Personal Transformation, J.D. Roth

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Tom Dziubek and Flexo speak with J.D. Roth, founder of the personal finance website Get Rich Slowly about the topic of personal transformation. J.D. discusses many of the changes he’s gone through recently including what inspired him to transform himself and what he did to prepare himself for the ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 162: TOPGUN on Wall Street

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Jay speaks with LT Commander Jeffery Lay, author of TOPGUN on Wall Street: Why US Military Should Run Corporate America. They talk about the leadership qualities missing from Corporate America and what investors should look at to make the right decisions. Consumerism Commentary Podcast TOPGUN on Wall Street: S07E06 ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 161: My Mother Was a Mail Order Bride

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Tom Dziubek speaks with Aloysa, founder of the personal finance website My Broken Coin about how her mother came to America by becoming a mail order bride. She talks about the decision to find an overseas husband, what the search process was like, the risks involved and how the ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 160: The Rich and the Rest of Us

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Jay Frosting and Luke Landes talk with Tavis Smiley, host of Tavis Smiley on PBS. With Dr. Cornel West, Tavis Smiley is the co-author of The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. The interview in today’s podcast was scheduled to include Cornel West as well, but ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 159: The 7% Solution

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Jay Frosting speaks with John Graves, author of The 7 percent Solution: You Can Afford a Comfortable Retirement. They discuss the unique challenges baby boomers face when planning for retirement. Consumerism Commentary Podcast The 7 percent Solution: S07E03 / 159 Download – RSS – iTunes Table of contents [00:00] Introduction from ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 158: Kimberly Palmer, Palmer’s Planners

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Jay Frosting and Luke Landes talk with Kim Palmer, author of Generation Earn and creator of Palmer’s Planners. Consumerism Commentary discussed Palmer’s Planners recently. In the interview, Jay, Luke, and Kim discuss household financial planning for right-brained thinkers and money issues for young people and women. Consumerism Commentary Podcast ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 157: Credit Card Application Fees

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Jay Frosting and Flexo talk with Matt Schulz, Vice President of Content for InvestingAnswers.com. They discuss the implications of a recent legal ruling that excludes credit card application fees from the limit on fees that credit card issuers can charge within the first year. Consumerism Commentary Podcast Credit Card ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 156: Financial Intelligence

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Jay Frosting speaks to Joe Knight, co-author of Financial Intelligence: An Illustrated Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean. They discuss why and how employees in non-financial roles should learn to read financial statements, largely because accounting relies on a lot of educated guesses and biases. Consumerism Commentary ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 155: The Work Revolution

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Jay Frosting talks with Julie Clow, author of The Work Revolution. They talk about differing energy cycles, ditching time cards & meetings, and measuring impact instead of employee activities. Consumerism Commentary Podcast The Work Revolution: S06E25 / 155 Download – RSS – iTunes Table of contents [00:00] Introduction from ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 154: The Psychology of Wealth

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Bryan J Busch talks with Dr. Charles Richards, author of The Psychology of Wealth. They discuss many aspects of the brain’s conscious and unconscious affects on spending and saving. Consumerism Commentary Podcast The Psychology of Wealth: S06E24 / 154 Download – RSS – iTunes Table of contents [00:00] Introduction ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 153: Life Happens

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Bryan J Busch talks with Mitch Weiss, author of Life Happens: A Practical Guide to Personal Finance from College to Career (available from Amazon.com on the Kindle). They discuss many of the topics young people need to know in order to avoid the pitfalls of personal finance. Consumerism Commentary ... Continue reading this article…

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