Stop saying personal finance is simple—it isn’t – CNBC

December 18, 2021 by No Comments

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In late 2015, I logged onto my then-boyfriend’s laptop to watch Netflix since my computer was dead. What followed was about as cliché as you might expect.

I pulled up the internet browser, and there it was: a secret email exchange between my boyfriend (let’s call him C) and a webcam model. C had asked the model how much she charged for video chats, and she had given him a list of rates and services, ranging from late-night text access to simple email chatting to other arrangements.

C and I were not in an open relationship, nor did I know about his ongoing inquiries. (Though, in hindsight, can I truthfully say I was surprised?) I remember staring at his MacBook Air, wanting to smash its thin metal frame against the coffee table. Yet, even though my hands shook in anger, I withheld. MacBooks are expensive. Rage pumped through my veins, but I still knew that smashing a $1,200 laptop was just not something you do.

The event, as painful as it was, caused a chain reaction that sent me, in a roundabout way, here, to my current job as a money reporter. After my breakup with C, my long-time college boyfriend, I needed financial stability — and fast. The year before, I’d quit my job to go back to grad school, and C agreed to support me while I started freelancing as a yoga and writing teacher.

Without C as my financial safety net, I scrambled to pick up part-time work teaching reading at a local elementary school. Eventually, I leveraged that experience into two years teaching full-time at independent schools, then I started freelance writing again (after finishing up my master’s program in creative writing).

See? Not exactly linear. I started writing about money in 2019 while trying to decide whether to stay in my new career as an independent school teacher. I pitched an article about how I made the decision to leave, and voila — here I am. I’ve learned so much writing about money that I can hardly believe it was just two years ago that I published my first personal finance story.

Now I spend my days speaking to experts, researching and writing about topics like debt, budgeting and credit cards, and I’m glad to say I’m a little wiser than when I agreed to throw caution to the wind and trust C to support me. But I’m also committed …….



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