In a positive and energetic speech on Tuesday, a leading financial coach told students and faculty that finding financial confidence builds self-confidence while offering tips on lowering debt and finding financial security.
Speaking to about 160 persons in the University Student Union Grand Salon, Jean Chatzky, best-selling author and financial editor for NBC’s “Today Show,” urged students that in order to get rich they must abandon their financial excuses. Chatzky shared her highlights of her new plan on “getting rich” that is featured in her book “Make Money, Not Excuses” during the hour long mini-seminar.
“These simple steps came to me one day while in the shower,” Chatzky joked. ” If you can master these, you will be well on your way to becoming very, very rich.”
Detailing the plan, she listed four suggestions for getting rich. These include making a decent living, spending less, investing more, and seeking protection from financial disasters.
“It’s not rocket science. In fact, it’s fairly simple, so why aren’t you richer?” Chatzky asked the audience. “This is when the answers become more complicated.”
According to Chatzky’s research, students leave college owing an average of about $19,000 in student loans, and Americans carry an average of $10,000 in credit card debt.
“These aren’t the reasons, these are the results.” Said Chatzky.
She pointed out that we put up roadblocks inhibiting us on a road to wealth. About a year ago Chatzky began collecting excuses from colleagues and family by sending out an e-mail. She was surprised that the same excuses kept popping up.
Some of the most popular?excuses are time restraints and the fear of investing being too complicated.
She said a lot of people feel they just don’t know when to start.
“If you’re going to conquer these four steps, all of these harmful, self-doubting words have to go.” She said. “We are driving a bus to wealth and these words stop us.”
For students that find themselves unable to get their financial act together due to time restraints such as school and work, she suggests time-saving tools like online-banking. She said that the old fashioned way of paying bills via postage can take up to two hours a month while banking online requires less than 15 minutes and saves money on stamps. Chatzky cited research showing that people banking by hand are four times more likely to be a victim of identity theft.
The audience agreed by a show of hands that investing, especially in the stock market, can seem very complicated.
“In the world of money, investing doesn’t have to be one hundred percent right to make a step in the right direction.” Said Chatzky. “You don’t have to be the smartest investor to participate. Good enough is just fine.”
The road to wealth hasn’t always been so clear cut for Chatzky. She talked about landing herself in major debt after graduating college, owing half her year’s salary in credit card debt. Neglecting to pay bills resulted in living pay check to pay check. She finally decided it was time to grow up and started saving receipts, rebalancing her 401k, and becoming chief negotiator for her household.
She encourages people to take action even if they make mistakes, to just take a deep breath and keep going. “The process is not instantaneous.”
“I’m really excited with the way things went,” said Wendy Phelps, associate director of marketing and programs for university student union. “Jean did a great job in imparting financial strategies in a way that was easy for everyone to understand.”
Chatzky is a featured money coach on Oprah’s “Debt Diet” series, and hosts a daily show on the “Oprah ‘ Friends” channel, exclusively on XM satellite radio. The speech kicked off the University Student Union’s summer programming efforts. For more information about upcoming summer events visit http://usu.csun.edu.