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Money Management International Improving Lives Through Financial Education
SUCESS NewsletterFinancial Education Newsletter
The Today Show's Jean Chatzky to host video Q&A

Jean Chatzky

Financial expert Jean Chatzky

Blogging for Change is teaming up with financial writer and speaker Jean Chatzky for a video question-and-answer session on April 30, the last day of Financial Literacy Month 2011.

Ms. Chatzky is a gifted and knowledgeable motivational speaker, author, and financial journalist who appears on The Today Show, where she serves as the financial editor. She has written for publications like SmartMoney, More Magazine, and the New York Daily News.

Ms. Chatzky has also authored several books that have touched on everything from money and happiness (The 10 Commandments of Financial Happiness) to women and money (Make Money Not Excuses) to how to thrive in a tough economy (The Difference). According to her website, her philosophy remains consistent whatever the financial topic: “If you want to own your life, you have to own your money,” she says.

Blogging for Change readers are encouraged to submit their own specific question to Ms. Chatzky by commenting on this post. We will select five questions from those submitted for Ms. Chatzky to answer.

Some of the currently submitted questions include:

  • How do you best evaluate your 401K investments?
  • Is there a specific reading list recommended for learning how to manage finances?
  • If you had 60 minutes a week to dedicate to managing your finances, how would you spend the time?
  • What percentage of my income would you recommend that I contribute to my 401k through my company?

Post your financial question as soon as possible and join us for the Q&A on April 30.

Comment on this post


Make your money count! Try interactive financial worksheets.

Financial Literacy Month is all about taking the steps to improve your financial situation. Find resources that can help from income worksheet forms, debt load worksheets, and a worksheet to help you determine your financial priorities.

income worksheet form

Try the Income Worksheet Form

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The goal of our highly trained professionals is to arm you with the knowledge necessary to take control of your financial situation. Our online seminars stress the development of skills that can assure long-term success. You will gain the peace of mind that comes from improved spending habits, increased savings, and the wise use of credit. Take the first step toward financial wellness by enrolling in a Web seminar today!

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Help your credit score blossom this spring


The path to financial freedom isn’t all roses. In fact, one factor that can slow you down is the lack of good credit. Whether you just graduated from college, or you are recovering from bankruptcy, an important cornerstone of your financial success will be establishing good credit. This is a process that may initially seem confusing. After all, the lack of a credit history could actually translate into a low credit score. But how are you supposed to improve your credit score if you don’t qualify for a card or loan? It may sound like a financial catch-22, but following these simple steps can help you start off on the right foot.

Open a savings account

One of the factors creditors look at when they are determining whether to issue a line of credit is your net worth. So it’s important to open a savings account along with a checking account. Creditors want to see your ability to manage money.

Establish credit history

If creditors don’t have enough information to determine your risk factor, they may deny a credit card application. However, there are other ways you can develop a solid credit history. Any payment you make on a monthly basis will factor into your credit history. This includes your cell phone and electric bills. It’s important to make these payments on time. If you don’t like the idea of having credit cards or loans, consider a secured credit card or a credit card with a low limit that you pay off every month, establishing that you are a reliable and trustworthy consumer.

Stay loyal to creditors

Being loyal to your creditors is the next step. Creditors like to see a strong history. Keeping cards open for a long period of time is beneficial to your credit score. While the first credit card you opened may not have terms as appealing as some newer cards, consider contacting your existing lender for better options rather than canceling.

Check your credit report for accuracy

It’s important to check your credit report regularly to ensure it doesn’t include errors. While you want to look out for obvious errors, such as accounts that may have been opened as the result of identity theft, there are other smaller errors that may exist, which can harm your credit. For example, something as obvious as changing your last name from your maiden name to your married name could make a large difference in your ability to obtain credit, as your married name and maiden name may not be linked within your credit history.

Find a balance

Finally, make sure that you keep your available credit-to-debt ration low. Too much open credit can hurt you because lenders often look at your credit lines as potential liabilities. On the other hand, using a high percentage of your available credit can also be detrimental to your credit score. It’s essential that you develop – and maintain – a good balance. Remember that although these steps will help you establish good credit, there is no quick fix. Ultimately, your credit score is based on numerous factors, so it’s important to routinely take a look back at these steps to ensure you remain on the right path in order to maintain good credit.

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Tips for Success

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Tweet for Change

Tweet for Change

Interested in following trending twitter topics about all things financial? If so, check out the popular feeds on In just once click, you’ll be able to see what is on people’s minds right now (in 140 characters or less!).  Social media expertise is not required!

About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling, and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
866.530.9869 or visit

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