Recently I had the great opportunity to interview Laura Rowley, whom I know best as a write for Yahoo! Finance. In addition, she has her own blog, at Money & Happiness. She has laid out key personal finance commandments to make sur epeople act as their own financial regulators. Her commandments include “thou shalt set aside cash for emergencies,” “thou shalt not carry a revolving balance on they credit card,” and “thou shalt not use a financial product – credit cards, auto loans, without searching for the best deal.”
I’ve been a big fan of Laura’s for awhile, and it was a pleasure speaking with her. The following is just a short portion of our conversation.
*Disclosure: These answers are based on my notes, but I think I did a good job.
Which of the commandments you came up with is your favorite?
“Thou shalt not live beyond thy means.” If you can do that, you will be so much better off down the road. It doesn’t matter if you make alittle money or a lot of money. If you can live on less than you earn, you’re doing yourself a big favor.
What do you think of the frugality blogs out there? Some think they are too extreme. Others ssay that the small things don’t make a difference.
I think they’re great, I love them. What it comes down to is doing what works for you. I’m not going to wash out ziploc bags but there’s so much out there. I know a camera guy who bought a house with the money he saved by brown-bagging it each day. He got made fun of all the time, but that kind of stopped he got the house.
It all comes down to what you’re comfortable with. What seems like a crazy idea to one person may be habit for someone else.
Of course, I had to ask the two question I ask every interviewee:
If you could tell your 20-year old self on thing, what would it be?
Have more fun! I worked really hard in my 20s and I wish I had taken more time for myself. I learned an important lesson: There’s a different between working hard and working smart. If you can work smart, you’ll have time for the other things, too.
What is your first personal finance memory?
Hm, that’s a tough one. Going all the way back, I guess as one of 11 children, I had to earn my allowance. We earned points based on actions we performed like taking out the garbage and mowing the lawn. It was my first lesson i nworking in order to get something.
Thanks Laura for a fantastic interview. It was a pleasure speaking to you!