Jean Chatzky is one of the nicest people to whom I’ve ever talked and one of the most practical. In her book Make Money, Not Excuses she talks about how to quit keeping yourself from financial success by making every reason not to.
Her words are honest and easy to apply, but don’t think Jean found all this out by research and reading it in school, she’s gone through her share of financial trip-ups and lessons of hard-knocks.
In the 1980’s she was fresh out of college and living in New York City. “It was a big deal that I had a job in New York at the time. I made $11,000 a year, but I also had to work part-time freelancing stories and tutoring.” She said credit card debt increased and she worked harder to pay it off, but didn’t seem to get any where.
Then relief happened, or so it seemed. “I’d worked a place where I’d been putting money away for my 401K, so when I changed jobs, instead of rolling it over to my new job, I had them send me the money and I botched my 401K money.” Spending it on paying off some of her debt and simply spending it, she says now how big of mistake that was. “I should have kept it in a retirement plan.”
A few years later, she married, but the financial duties were not an equally divided job. “He did the financials and it wasn’t equally shared.”
Since then, she’s had two children, divorced and found her voice. You’ve probably found her voice as well, on XM Radio Channel 156, Oprah and friends everyday at 11a EST.
Jean told HMC some great ways to you to get more involved and build your portfolio to reach your financial goals.
Get involved—women need to be very involved in the financial health of their portfolios not only for reasons of knowing where you money is going and how it’s being saved, but also if anything happens to your partner or spouse, you can take care of yourself and your family can care for themselves. “Your spouse and children need to know what you want if something happens to you.” She doesn’t expect for spouses to become clones of each other, but “you need to make sure the other knows how to manage the finances if something happens to the other.”
Quit making excuses—there are many reasons women don’t know their finances.
Jean says some of the most common reasons women don’t get involved in the families financials are numerous. “They’ll say ‘I’m too busy’, ‘too scared’, ‘too disorganized’, ‘it’s too complicated’ or ‘I don’t do numbers.’”
Understand you are smart enough–A study from the National Association of Investor’s Corporation for the University of California, reported women actually make better investors. “The study reported that women out perform men (for investing) by 1.4% annually.” The reason? “We trade less frequently and once we by it, we tend to be more loyal.” This less frequent buying and selling activity, saves a huge amount on brokerage fees and commission.
Address the problem, even if you don’t want to—It’s no secret that Americans are often biting off more than they can chew. The want for bigger and better can take hold of all of us from time to time, but when it’s causing more money to go out than come in, this can only add up to financial complications and avoiding those bills can only add up to disaster.
“Not talking about it is more harmful,” explains Jean. “It festers and gets worse.”
Even if you are drowning in debt, Jean says there are ways you can start right now to get hold of your spending.
Stay focused on the long-term goal—If you impulse buy, it can railroad your long-term goals of financial security. “Think,” Jean says, “is this going to keep me from paying off my credit card when I’ve planned to?” She encourages you to not purchase if the answer is yes, but think twice before you do.
Use purchasing pause—when you see something, take a deep breath and have someone go ahead of you. Then decide do I need or want that? Figure out what is this going to do for me financially and then ask what happens to you if you don’t buy it?
Little things can make you rich—Not buying habitually can make you rich. Little things add up and when you’re saving by not buying, that money will add up
A little deprivation is a very empowering thing—“When you resist those impulses, it means you’re in control,” explains Jean.
With all these little things in place, should we constantly say no to ourselves?
“It’s understandable to a point,” Jean says. “it’s nice to buy things, but it’s also nice to be able to say no and be in control.”
Check out Jean and her XM Radio show on Oprah and Friends or you can click here. Pick up her book Make Money, Not Excuses at your local bookstore.