Jean Chatzky

Jean Chatzky

Teaching Women How to Manage Their Money

Ep. 85 – In this episode of Trailblazer’s Impact, Nan McKay talks with Jean Chatzky as Jean shares her career journey. She’s an award-winning personal finance journalist, author, and the CEO of Hermoney Media. Jean shares how she became a magazine writer focused on financial matters. She also shares what she hopes to achieve by starting her website and the contributions she’s making to help people manage their money better.

“We have to be open to deviating — to going through the doors that open. Sometimes it’s difficult to do when they’re not the doors you’re expecting, but it might be the best thing to happen to you.”

Top Takeaways:

  • Why having a diverse childhood might positively influence children as they become adults.
  • Why it is sometimes important to enter the doors that open in life.
  • The purpose of providing an environment for women to learn and share valuable financial information.
  • What you need to do to be a financially stable individual.

How did growing up in the midwest influence her? [2:47]

Growing up in the midwest helped her get out of the “New York City bubble” in how she related and socialized with people. Her father was a college professor, which meant they  lived in different college towns as she grew up.

What were her career goals in college? [4:50]

She liked math in high school but then in college, the math got harder and she was drawn to the school newspaper. She found herself working hard in the newspaper and doing internships during the summer. She wanted to come to New York and work for a magazine. She was open to different opportunities which is why she is where she is now. She took the doors that opened. These doors can be scary since they’re not what we expect but letting yourself do it could lead you to gain the necessary confidence and become an expert.

When did she get interested in the money side of things? [7:01]

Her first job after college was at a magazine called Working Woman as the assistant to the business editor. After that, she wanted to work on a full-on business magazine but couldn’t get a job. She later went ahead to Wall Street for a few years and garnered a lot of financial education which is why she was hired by Forbes.

What challenges did she face in her approach to teaching women about money? [9:11]

She left Forbes and joined Smart Money magazine when it was launching. It was at the time when 401 (k)s were taking effect and people were given more responsibility to take control of their finances than ever before. She moved into personal finance to give people the information they were so eagerly looking for. The personal finance industry became big since people needed more services and information.

What is her website all about? [12:29] publishes podcasts, newsletters, and a lot of free resources and information. She wants people to learn in a comfortable environment as some women are confused by the language of Wall Street. provides that environment while teaching women about managing their money and sharing information with each other.

What is AARP all about? [15:20]

She has been working with AARP Magazine for 7 years now where she writes a column. She also represents AARP at events giving talks and fighting for legislation she believes is important. In the last couple of years, she’s been working on the Work and Save initiative which is an affordable and more effective version of 401 (k)s for smaller companys’ workers and owners.

What are the four pearls she could provide to the listeners? [18:41]

The five things that you have to do if you want to have a successful financial life.

  1. Make a decent living or someone in your household to live comfortably to take care of your debts and your lifestyle. More money doesn’t make us happier.
  2. Spend less than you make.
  3. Save what you’re not spending and then invest it for enough growth for the future. It could be 15% of your paycheck.
  4. Figure out how to have an emergency fund or insurance.
  5. Find some way to give back which is proven to boost happiness to people who do it.

What advice does she have for single mothers? [21:32]

We have to work on the earning side of the equation. It is important to look at your skills if you’re not making a decent living – think of what you could do to increase your earning potential and how you could make space in your life to do it. Look at where the country needs workers and where you might be able to get the skills needed without incurring a vast amount of debt.

How was it being on NBC’s Today show as a financial contributor? [28:27]

She did it for 25 years and it was fun and created a family. Being approached by people she helped years ago has been the most fulfilling thing for her.

What advice does she have for young people today? [25:13]

Save 10-15% of whatever you’re earning and never stop.