Scary. Uncomfortable. An emotional minefield. None of your #$@& business. For most of us, personal finance is…well, personal. Research shows we’d rather talk about almost anything else. Well, here’s what I think: If we want to help our kids, our parents, our friends, and ourselves deal with money issues and create financial opportunities, we need to learn how to talk about it. After all, survey after survey shows that money is the single greatest cause of stress in Americans’ lives. I want to help change that.
While lots of families in my Queens neighborhood spent Sunday nights playing board games at the kitchen table, the Kobliners did things a little differently. My dad would break out his old-school ledger, Mom would open up the bills, and we kids would watch as our parents put our financial house in order. Okay, maybe the Kobliners weren’t the wildest bunch on the block, but that kind of openness about money stuck with me my whole life—it’s a big reason I got into writing about personal finance.
My upbringing, along with countless chats over coffee with friends and family, taught me something: We need to open up conversations about sensitive money matters, because there’s no reason to go through the anxiety of debt, the complexities of investing, the struggle to save…all alone.
When we share our knowledge, our experiences—and yes, even our mistakes—we can help the ones we love make smarter decisions based on real information. It’s that simple.
Let this site be your money talk resource. Come here to share a few money stories. Connect with others. I’ll share a few of mine—and give you loads of practical, research-based advice on everything from how to get the right student loan to choosing a smart retirement savings plan to tricks for managing your kids’ weekly allowance.
Most important, though, I’ll give you strategies for opening up a dialogue about money. Are you putting off that talk with your spouse about investing? With your daughter about college? With your parents about how to pay for their care as they age? Overdue for a raise but afraid to raise your hand? Ready to teach your little ones the value of a dollar but not sure how? I’ll walk you through what to say and how to say it. And don’t worry—it won’t feel too much like homework (promise).
So, sure: Money can be scary. But here’s where we tackle the fear head on—and kickstart the conversation. You got this.
I have been writing, researching, and talking about money issues for 30 years as a commentator, a journalist, and the author of two New York Times bestsellers: Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties and Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not), a guide for parents to teach financial basics to kids ages 3 to 23.
I have been a contributor to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, and O, The Oprah Magazine, and a regular columnist for Money, Glamour, and Redbook magazines, in which I provided easy-to-understand, jargon-free information to readers. I have been a regular personal finance contributor to MSNBC, and have appeared on NBC’s Today show, ABC’s Good Morning America, PBS’s NewsHour, and Oprah. On radio, I have had regular contributing spots with public radio’s The Takeaway and NPR’s Marketplace. My favorite TV gig, however, was partnering with Sesame Workshop on For Me, For You, For Later, a special in which I taught Elmo how to spend, share, and save money.
I graduated from Brown University and live with my family in New York City.