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Hillenmeyer's Retirement Playbook: Work With What You've Got

Right now, that account has about 20% cash, with the remainder evenly split between debt and equities. Even in the tumultuous market thus far in 2008, with many indices suffering double-digit declines, my portfolio is down between 2% and 3%. This conservative platform frees me to indulge myself by hand-picking my more aggressive investments.

I have a chunk of money in a real estate investment trust and another in my favorite hedge fund (no nepotism involved in the fact my brother is a comanager of the fund). I also have a decent-sized chunk in a high-interest savings account because my fiancée and I are about to buy a new house. Being a public figure, I get every variety of deals thrown my way, from restaurants to oil-drilling ventures to diamonds. I have even been targeted to join a couple pyramid schemes. The most important decisions I make with regard to the myriad of "get rich quick" ideas I see is the foresight to say, "No!" However, even the deals I turn down usually provide a good deal of learning value.

The details of my portfolio are less important than the idea that I have found a setup that works for me. I've harnessed my investment needs, risk tolerance, and even life stage to design a platform that fits with who I am. I think you can find great ideas in all sorts of places, but only the ones that fit into your investment needs should find their way into your portfolio. I run a 4.7 40-yard dash (on a good day) and my NFL combine report described me as "having the upper body of a swimmer" -- not exactly a ringing endorsement for a linebacker. But I have maximized my utility by focusing on my strengths, and I've established quite a nice career for myself. Whether your financial question of the day is "Which yacht should I buy?" or, "Can I afford to supersize it?" there is an investment strategy out there that can work for you. Your decision is just to make sure that whatever route you choose is the right one for you.

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