E*TRADE Seminar #3: “Yes, You Can Retire”

After the Seminar #2 debacle (okay, okay, I am being a little too harsh, but I definitely didn’t enjoy Seminar #2), Seminar #3 was much better. It is entitled “Yes, You Can Retire.”

Jean Chatzky is the presenter and is well-known as the financial editor for NBC’s TODAY show. For her presentation, she ran through some of her Money Rules. In her “Money Rules” book, she covers 90 wealth-building rules. She covers a dozen of them in her seminar.

I will highlight my favorite ones.

Money Rule #1: Personal Finance is More Personal Than Finance

I think the rule says it all. Sometimes, people hear “finance” and assume it’s all about math, and they start remembering their struggles with grade school math, and then they go to the corner and cry. (Too harsh, again?)

Well, personal finance is partially about your money and math. But it really is more personal. It’s about you. How you want to live your life, what your goals are, how you want to enjoy life.

Money Rule #2: Money Is Simple, People Make It Complicated

Money itself is just a tool that people use. It’s just paper and metal coins. But people associate power, security, and love with money.

When it comes to money, you earn it (income) and you spend, save, or give it away (expenses). But, oftentimes, people associate money with security. I suppose that may help, but if you spend less than you earn, regardless of income, then money is not complicated.

Money Rule #14: Financial Plans Don’t Fail People, People Fail to Plan

Financial plans are inanimate things. They don’t fail people. But people do fail to plan well enough or simply do not plan at all.

There are many online calculators that you can use to track your goals. There are even calculators that you estimate the likelihood that you reach your goals. Using these calculators, you can set appropriate goals for yourself. Plan, plan, plan!

Money Rule #73: Hope Is Not an Investment Strategy

This one is self-explanatory, I think. Don’t sit around, cross your fingers, and wish for the best. This one ties in well with Money Rule #14. You need to plan. Hoping and wishing alone will get you no where.

Money Rule #11: If You Can’t See It, And You Can’t Touch It, You Won’t Spend It

This is the “out of sight, out of mind” idea. If you have your savings automatically deducted from your paycheck, you won’t miss it in the first place. This is why investment vehicles, like 401(k)s, work so well.

The money leaves your paycheck, and you hardly notice a difference. It’s then invested, and your retirement savings grows over time. Because all of this is done automatically, you don’t have the opportunity to spend it.

Money Rule #53: It’s Not About Having It All, It’s About Having What You Value Most

People think that retirement is about having it all, but it’s not. It’s about having what you value the most in life. And for each person, this is something different. This Money Rule ties well into Money Rule #1, which states that personal finance is more personal than finance.

If you keep money simple, if you develop a plan to reach your goals (to obtain what you value the most), if you don’t simply rely on hope, and if you automate you savings, you will easily reach your retirement goals.

My Thoughts About This Seminar

I enjoyed this one much more than the previous one.

Jean Chatzky spoke about many more ideas. But what really hit home for me is Money Rule #1: personal finance is more personal than finance. She didn’t run through a TON of math or numbers. Her Money Rules (at least, the ones I selected as my favorite) don’t have to do with math at all…

It’s about invoking the personal side of personal finance. At the end of the day, money is simple, the math is simple. What’s truly exciting about personal finance is how different people interact with their finances, how they set goals, and how they succeed with money.


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