There are things about money that Kris Miller wants you to know. She put it into her book Ready for PREtirement: 3 Secrets for Safe Money and a Fabulous Future (Morgan James Publishing, 2012), explains it on her Web site (krismillermoneymaestro.com) and happily expounds on it when asked. Her main concern is letting people know how they can invest their assets smartly and protect them wisely—from long-term care and catastrophic illness expenses, from probate and from the recession.
Miller, who is 58, lives in Hemet, Calif., and is nowhere near retirement herself, spent 22 years as an estate planning specialist and a legal document assistant—“a paralegal, but in California, there is a special designation, so it’s like an attorney”—and, through volunteer work at a senior center, saw how old people were being taken advantage of. “When I learned about living trusts, I did some research and pulled some wills. I started drilling down and saw all the fees and extra charges when estates were going through probate. Probate wasn’t even necessary. I saw that the average middle-class person could create their own living trust. That’s how I started.”
Nowadays she lectures almost exclusively on the benefits of living trusts to people thinking of retiring and tries to get younger people to listen. “There may not be any Social Security in the future. Younger people have to be proactive, instead of just giving it to someone else to do. It’s never too late. You just don’t get as good planning if you start late.”
The money path came rather late to Miller, who was a missionary for 20 years, traveling all over North and South America to spread the word of Christ. “I came into the financial world from another point of view,” she says. “I really had the sense of wanting to help people.” At one point she started writing songs and heard God tell her to go make a record. “This was not something I knew how to do,” she says. “It was insane. But I had a group of seven sisters and we sang together, and we knocked on doors in Hollywood and got a record deal.”
Singing and songwriting is still one of Miller’s favorite things, including taking chapters from other people’s books and turning them into songs, something she has yet to do for her own book. Today, Miller autographs Ready for PREtirement, 1–2 p.m., at Table 4 in the Autographing Area.