Your Money Milestones: A Guide to Making the 9 Most Important Financial Decisions of Your Life


A Whole New Way to Look at Your Money…and Make It Grow!

“Here is a lively new guide that offers fresh and actionable ways to approach everyday financial problems. Whether you’re rich or just getting by, starting your career or winding down, you’ll benefit from the author’s insightful observations and suggestions—all delivered with warmth and wit.”

—Evan Cooper, Deputy Editor, InvestmentNews

“The author’s unique gift is to make complex ideas from the world of high finance simple ...

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Your Money Milestones: A Guide to Making the 9 Most Important Financial Decisions of Your Life

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A Whole New Way to Look at Your Money…and Make It Grow!

“Here is a lively new guide that offers fresh and actionable ways to approach everyday financial problems. Whether you’re rich or just getting by, starting your career or winding down, you’ll benefit from the author’s insightful observations and suggestions—all delivered with warmth and wit.”

—Evan Cooper, Deputy Editor, InvestmentNews

“The author’s unique gift is to make complex ideas from the world of high finance simple to understand, and his new book gently coaches readers in how to think about their personal finances. Best of all, readers can use Milevsky’s financial calculators online to test these ideas, so they can make choices with confidence. Investing in this book might be the wisest financial decision you make this year.”

—Gil Weinreich, Editor, Research Magazine

“The author has accomplished the near impossible. He has made the complicated, confusing, and often contradictory world of personal financial planning easy to understand. More importantly, he’s made it easy to act on his ground-breaking advice and guidance and has made it easy for readers to address their most important financial decisions in a thoughtful, practical, and painless manner.”

— Robert Powell, Editor, Retirement Weekly and Retirement Columnist,

“What are the nine crucial financial decisions every person must make over the course of a lifetime? If you don’t know, read this book. The author’s nine choices revolve around his core concept of human capital and how it must be gradually converted to financial capital to achieve a successful retirement.”

—Jonathan Chevreau, National Post Columnist and Author of Findependence Day

Your Money Milestones helps just about anyone see life’s most important money decisions in a fresh and completely rational light. If you want a smart, practical roadmap to a financially sound future, you need this book.”

—Eric Schurenberg, Editor-in-Chief, BNET

Your Money Milestones illustrates how four principles inspired by basic arithmetic can be applied to manage the most important financial decisions (money milestones) people face over their entire financial lifecycles.

  • Addition: Identify the true value all of your financial resources.
  • Subtraction: Budget for the hidden liabilities in your future.
  • Division: Spend your total resources evenly over time.
  • Multiplication: Prepare for many alternative and unexpected universes.

This book offers a complete framework for thinking about money that’s every bit as provocative as Freakonomics. Drawing on the newest research into psychology and personal finance, Milevsky helps you identify the true value all of your resources; budget for hidden liabilities in your future; plan to spend your total resources smoothly over time; and prepare for unexpected events that could upend even the most careful planning. You’ll discover why children are short-term investment liabilities but may be long-term pension assets, why winning the lottery may increase your chances of going bankrupt, and why giving up control of your retirement nest egg might actually make you happier. The insights are fascinating and useful throughout your life whether you're deciding what to study, contemplating your first home purchase, deciding whether to keep contributing to your 401(k), or considering when and whether to retire.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

800 CEO Read Bestseller, March 2010.

Recommended in "5 Money Books Worth Every Penny," by Liz Pulliam Weston, MSN Money .

"Your Money Milestones refutes mainstream financial rules." USA Today , March 12, 2010.

Publishers Weekly
Admitting that he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the latest economic downturn “by doing everything exactly right,” Milevsky (Are You a Stock or a Bond?) revises personal finance planning now that “all the received wisdom is out the window.” He introduces readers to a simpler model employing basic arithmetic: assessing the value of assets (addition), allotting funds for future liabilities (subtraction), planning for even spending over time (division), and preparing for unanticipated occurrences (multiplication). He examines the nine major money milestones including paying off student loans, having children, purchasing a home, and retiring—with a decidedly contrarian twist: he insists that most people should not purchase a home until they are in their 50s or 60s, when they have unlocked most of their labor or “human capital” and converted it into financial capital. With helpful chapter summaries and designed for readers to pick and choose which chapters are most germane to their current stage of life, this is a comprehensive and readable introduction to wealth management. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780137029105
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 1/25/2010
  • Pages: 198
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Moshe A. Milevsky, Ph.D. is a tenured finance professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University ( in Toronto, Canada, and the executive director of the nonprofit IFID Centre ( He is also the president and CEO of The QWeMA Group (, a software company that develops intellectual property and numerical algorithms for the financial services industry. He also writes a monthly column for Research Magazine that is read by financial advisors and planners in North America.

Moshe is a well-known public speaker and has delivered keynote lectures and seminars in Europe, South America, the Far East, and the UK. In June 2009, he was a main platform speaker for MDRT’s annual meeting. He has consulted for global insurance companies and pension funds including the Florida State Board of Administration’s (FSBA) retirement plan. He is currently a member of a variety of corporate advisory councils. To date he has published seven books, more than 50 peer-reviewed research papers, and more than 100 personal finance articles on the topic of insurance, investments, pensions, retirement, and annuities.

Moshe received two National Magazine (Canada) awards in 2003 for his popular-press writing and received a Graham and Dodd scroll award from the CFA Institute for a 2006 research article in the Financial Analysts Journal. In the summer of 2002, he was elected a Fellow of the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences, and in September 2008, he was given a lifetime achievement award from the Retirement Income Industry Association (RIIA). In May 2009, he was named to Investment Advisor magazine’s IA25 list of most influential people in the financial advisory business.

Moshe’s previous book Are You a Stock or a Bond? Create Your Own Pension Plan for a Secure Financial Future was published by FT Press in September 2008 and is available in fine bookstores everywhere.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xv

About the Author xvii

Prologue: Financial Deicide xix

Introduction: Human Capital: Your Greatest Asset 1

Chapter 1: Is the Long-Term Value of an Education Worth the Short-Term Cost? 13

Chapter 2: What Is the Point of Saving Money Forever? 35

Chapter 3: How Much Debt Is Too Much and How Much Is Too Little? 53

Chapter 4: Are Kids Investments and Can Marriages Diversify? 69

Chapter 5: Government Tax Authorities: Partners, Adversaries, or Bazaar Merchants? 85

Chapter 6: Can You Eat Your House or Will It Ever Pay Dividends? 101

Chapter 7: Insurance Salesmen and Warranty Peddlers: Are They Smooth Enough? 113

Chapter 8: Portfolio Construction: What Asset Class Do You Belong To? 129

Chapter 9: Retirement: When Is It Time to Shutter the Well and Close the Mine? 147

Conclusion: Four Principles to Guide All Financial Decisions and Money Milestones 169

References 177

Index 185

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