Financial Comfort with Jean Chatzky

Last night I went to the O at Home event at the Hearst Tower. Sponsored by Wachovia, the theme was “comfort”. Jean Chatzky spoke to the audience about financial comfort. She has a great book, Make Money Not Excuses, and she talked about how to stop using excuses and deal with your personal finances. As an entrepreneur, you need to look at both business and personal finances to succeed in your goals.

She outlined four simple steps to be richer.

  1. Make a decent living.
  2. Spend less than what you make.
  3. Invest. Have your money work for you.
  4. Protect yourself from the unexpected. Sock away money for emergencies.

As soon I heard her four steps, I remember that it echoed what Aaron Patzer showed me on the Mint.com blog on Wednesday. I love how Jean said to the audience of about 200 well-dressed people, “You are far from rich”. I have long thought that Americans believe that they are “pre-rich”, so they spend capriciously and rack up credit card debt because one day they will the jackpot and somehow money will be rolling in.

Jean advises that everyone use online banking and not just for the obvious reasons (quick, easy, green) but also because it may protect you from identity theft. She said that a study was done that said that people who do online banking look at their money 4 times more often than people who don’t. If you review your accounts regularly, you can spot suspicious activity quickly.

Another thing is to invest. She recommends getting a life cycle mutual fund where you can set a target retirement date. This is cool because your retirement fund is goal-directed so it begins with the end in mind.

The one takeaway from Jean Chatzky that I got is this: “money confidence breeds more money”.

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