Her Money with Jean Chatzky
I know dozens, hundreds of people in the personal finance space, but there are really only a handful of them that I look up to, and Jean Chatzky is one of those people. Jean started her career as a journalist and then grew to write personal finance books, appear on Oprah, become the finance editor of the Today Show, and now she runs the Her Money media brand, which is growing by the minute. Jean joins me today to talk about her career progression and why she’s taking on such a big challenge at this stage in her career.
What are we drinking?
Jean — Chardonnay
Shannon — Malbec
- Shannon has been a huge fan of Jean since the Oprah Winfrey Show. When Shannon was an advisor for Merrill Lynch, she saw Jean on the train platform in her neighborhood. Shannon got to her desk, looked up Jean online, sent her a message, and they met for coffee to discuss women and money.
- In high school, Jean was focused on theater. In college, Jean worked for her school paper and loved it. While in school, she built a good journalistic resume and knew she wanted to work in magazine when she graduated.
- After graduation, Jean was hired at Working Woman’s magazine as an editorial assistant to the business editor.
- Jean wanted to be a fact-checker at Forbes like her friend, but they didn’t think Working Woman’s magazine was serious enough experience and basically told her she needed to go back and get her MBA. Jean didn’t want to go back to school and get into debt, so she applied for jobs on Wall Street.
- Jean worked at Dean Witter for a couple of years in equity research, because she could apply her writing skills, but also learn about finance.
- Barbara Corcoran’s first book was called Use What You’ve Got. You don’t always need a higher degree. Figure out how to get to the job you want with the skills you already have. Are you going to bring it every day and are you going to get along with other people?
- After working for Dean Witter, Jean went back to Forbes and interviewed with the same person and showed him what she had done. He offered her a job.
- She worked for Forbes as a fact-checker for a year and a half and then moved to Smart Money to work as a writer. While there, Jean started doing television. Her theater background helped and her dad ran television stations when she was growing up and she was able to see the TV anchors as people.
- Jean wrote a book called Pay it Down, and she was working on a television series called the Debt Diet. She pitched Oprah on a TV show about helping people get out of debt.
- Louis Uchitelle wrote an article about how Americans own less of their home than in previous generations and are in credit card debt and student loan debt.
- On the Oprah series, Jean and a couple of others were given six months to work with families to help get them on the right track.
- Debt is growing. Lenders are offering more and more financing to people. Many people get laid off in January, so be careful of spending and holiday debt.
- Shannon downsized her life to start her business and help people get out of debt. What do you value? What are your sacred cows? You can have two or three, but you can’t have a herd of cows.
- The top three spending areas the Financial Gym sees are Amazon, Uber, and Seamless for New York clients and CVS or Duane Reade in other areas. These are not usually the sacred cows.
- Jean recently acquired Daily Worth. She is building a brand that is bigger than her. We need more voices and a platform where women can come and know that they can get straightforward, judgement-free, quality personal finance advice and information.
- She acquired the assets of Daily Worth, which is a long-standing personal finance website and incorporated it into Her Money newsletter, podcast, and website. She is looking to do more and more to give the community of women more of what they want and need. Listeners are going for the meat, not the dessert, such as investing, earning more, work-life balance, and stuff that really matters.
- Jean feels the need to build something bigger.
- To find and follow Jean, go to hermoney.com, or text 888111, and Breadcrumbs will ask for your email and get you signed up.
TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to pivot your career. You can actually make money while doing it, rather than taking on student loan debt. Try like Jean to get on-the-job experience in an area you want to work in. I love her story and advise clients to do the same thing, and I think you should consider it as well.
Random Three Questions
- What is a food you hated as a kid and do you hate it now?
- What do you do to relax?
- If this was your last night on earth, what would your last meal be?
Connect with Jean
Website: Her Money
Website: Jean Chatzky
Podcast: Her Money
Last Call: Networking
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