We’re excited to share an interview with Laura Adams, the author of Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich. Laura is also the host of a popular podcast, MoneyGirl’s Quick and Dirty Tips, and recently began writing a weekly article here at Cash Money Life. Today we take a look at her recently published book.
Q & A with Laura Adams, author of Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich
CashMoneyLife.com: Laura, thank you for taking the time to share a little about your book with our readers. Can you share with us who is the target audience for your book? People who are new to personal money management, those with intermediate experience, experts, or all of the above?
Laura Adams: All of the above. The book covers the major issues and strategies that everyone needs to know to accomplish their financial goals. It makes complicated topics easy and fun to understand—even for someone who’s just getting started managing their money. Those with more financial experience will get caught up on new financial rules, learn about up-to-date personal finance technology, find clever ways to save money, discover free online resources, understand how to improve their credit score, and much more.
CashMoneyLife.com: Do you have any tips for balancing short- and long-term financial goals?
Laura Adams: One of the best ways to make sure that you stay on track with your financial goals is to establish a healthy emergency fund as early as you can. Without a safety net of at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses, it’s easy to get stuck with expensive credit card debt if you have an unexpected financial hardship. That can double or triple the cost of an emergency by the time you pay off the credit card balance in full. Depending on credit cards to bail you out of a financial jam is something that holds many people back from building wealth. Having an emergency fund gives you peace of mind and the freedom to pursue important long-term goals like retirement and education.
CashMoneyLife.com: What are some quick wins that most people can aim for to accomplish big returns with as little effort as possible?
Laura Adams: Using the cash you already have to earn more interest is a really simple way to accomplish more with your money. In the book, I list sites where you can find free high-yield checking accounts that pay over 4% on balances as high as $25,000. These accounts are FDIC insured, have no minimum balance, reimburse ATM fees, and offer free online bill pay. You can’t beat that!
CashMoneyLife.com: If you could impart one piece of advice, what would it be?
Laura Adams: A lesson that I had to learn the hard way is how tough it can be to kick the habit of overspending on credit cards. When I graduated from college and started working, shopping became a real form of therapy and entertainment for me because I really didn’t like my job and I was coping with a long-distance relationship. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was buying shoes and clothes because I could always count on them to make me happy, at least for a little while. The problem, of course, is that I was accumulating a huge amount of credit card debt. In chapter one of Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich, I help you explore your money mindset, which is basically the way you personally view money. Being honest with yourself about your relationship with money is one of the keys to cleaning up your financial messes so you can start to make smart money moves like conquering your credit card debt for good.
CashMoneyLife.com: Is there such a thing as good debt?
Laura Adams: Debt is good—if it makes you grow rich! That could be an affordable mortgage for a home that will appreciate over time or a reasonable student loan that allows you to get the education you need to earn a good living. Before you go into debt for anything, ask yourself how the purchase will help you build wealth or earn more income. If it can’t do that—and material possessions like shoes, fancy cars, and high-priced toys can’t—then it’s probably a bad debt that you should avoid.
CashMoneyLife.com: How can people struggling financially really grow rich?
Laura Adams: Many people who are struggling financially simply don’t have enough information yet to improve their situation. It’s like being lost in the woods without a map or a compass. You have no idea where you are, how you got there, or which direction to go—a really helpless feeling. So the first step is to stop and re-group. In chapter two, I show you exactly how to see the “big picture” of your finances so you can master your cash flow, eliminate debt, and start to build wealth. Once you see a holistic view of your financial situation, it’s actually pretty easy to create a plan to get out of the woods and on the road to a more secure and happy financial future.
CashMoneyLife.com: Many people have too much debt—what’s your advice for them?
Laura Adams: Having too much debt relative to your income is a surefire way to grow poor, not rich. An eye-opening exercise is to add up all your high-interest debt payments—on credit cards, retail store cards, and vehicles, for instance—and see how you could be using that money to build wealth instead. Just enter your information into an online Savings Calculator like the one at dinkytown.com. Let’s say you work really hard to pay off your debts and free up $500 per month. If you invest that money every month for 10 years you’d have over $80,000, assuming a modest 6% average return. When you realize how much your debt is holding you back from having the kind of life you truly want, it makes it easier to stay out of debt for good.
CashMoneyLife.com: Where can readers find your book?
Laura Adams: It’s available as a paperback or e-book at all the major book sellers like Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-A-Million, and the Apple iBookstore. My publisher just authorized me to give away two free chapters from the book that you can download at SmartMovesToGrowRich.com.
CashMoneyLife.com: Thanks for your time, Laura, and best of luck with your book!