Search form

Donate Today

Inspiring a Smarter You

Financing the Next Chapter | Jean Chatzky

Looking to finance the search for "What's next?" in your life? Best-selling author and award-winning journalist Jean Chatzky is the finance editor for NBC's Today Show. In a recent interview with KCTS 9, she shared her top tips for savvy saving to fund creative exploration and self-reinvention at any stage and age in life.

Financing the Next Chapter A question I get asked a lot is “How do I finance my search for what’s next in my life?”, and I tell them to try to build yourself an exploration fund, of sorts, by just automatically moving some money every single time you get paid into a separate account. You’re building a bank of cash, so to speak, that you can just use to take a class if you want, to visit a new place that you might want to live, to really explore. That’s the purpose of this kind of money, to figure out what you want to do. Don't Quit Your Day Job “Don’t quit your day job!” is one of my big rules of thumb. Because if you can road test your next phase while you’re still earning a paycheck, you’ll know that whatever it is you want to do next can actually support you, that it’s not just your hobby. Exploration Funds When people are looking to make a change, sometimes there’s a cost associated with making that change. Maybe you need to get certified in a particular programming language, maybe you want to buy a franchise, maybe you want to think about moving to another place in the country, but you’re not really sure because you’ve never visited. An exploration fund is just a pool of money that you can use to allow yourself to go out and dig into these things a little bit and see what fits. It’s better than diving in cold because sometimes if you dive in cold thinking that you know what you want to do, you make mistakes. Baby Steps Saving can be daunting, but again, baby stepping your way there is really important. You need to understand what you’re saving for and how much you’re trying to save. Many people try to save in a vacuum and that, while possible, is not always as successful because it’s like running a race without knowing where the finish line is. You need to know what you’re aiming for and then you need to take that marathon and break it down into 26-mile-long chunks so that you can benchmark your way through it and feel successful, not just when you reach that finish line but all along the way. Life Coach If you are feeling like you want to make a change but you either don’t have a true grasp on what your skill set is or aren’t sure what would be good uses for your skills, a life coach can help you sort those things out. It’s a little like short-term therapy; you go in and you’ve got a problem that you need to solve and a life coach can help you solve that. Hope for the Future I hope anybody who’s re-imagining their life feels a little more hopeful, feels like they have more of the tools that they need to tackle, at the very least, the financial part of the equation.