“Your guide to financial fitness” is the motto of MoneyCrashers.com, a site that works hard to help people make smart choices when it comes to all sorts of financial topics, including credit, debt, investing and more.
Co-founder Gyutae Park, who also spends his free time playing the drums, was kind enough to share the ins and outs of how MoneyCrashers.com got started, as well as provide a few insider tips for our readers.
1. What inspired the start of Money Crashers?
My co-founder, Andrew Schrage, and I decided to start Money Crashers because we’re both passionate about personal finance and helping other people reach their financial goals.
The U.S. went into recession around the time we started (2009), so we thought our idea would be relevant as well.
2. Do you have a background in finance or business?
Andrew majored in economics in college and worked as an analyst at a hedge fund shortly after. My educational background is more related to business and engineering.
What helped us most, though, was direct experience growing a business and a lot of trial and error working with finances.
3. What sparked your interest in the financial field?
Although money isn’t everything, I do believe people can lead a more valuable life when they have more of it. I’ve always been passionate about smart money management, and my parents did a pretty good job of instilling that in me growing up as well.
4. What are some financial obstacles you’ve overcome?
One of the biggest obstacles I overcame was paying for schooling at a private institution for four years. It certainly came at a cost, but by managing money well and limiting debt while in school as well as right after graduation, I was able to overcome the challenge.
“By setting goals, you have a basis
by which you can track progress.”
5. What advice do you have about overcoming those obstacles?
You can overcome just about anything in life, and financial issues are certainly some of those things. The most important thing to do is to commit to doing something and getting started.
As you do that, it’s always a good idea to develop financial goals as well. If you have $15,000 in credit card debt, for example, that’s not going to go away overnight. Get yourself on a budget, figure out how much extra you can send in each month and write out your goals.
If you fall behind, don’t get frustrated – simply scale back your goals.
6. Why do you think it is important to set financial goals?
It’s important for people to set financial goals because for things like solving student loan or credit card debt, or even saving for retirement, they aren’t going to be reached immediately.
By setting goals, you map out a long-term strategy and you have a basis by which you can track your progress. If you set goals and reach them, you can give yourself a little pat on the back each time. That’s another good way to stay on track with your goals and remain positive.
7. What are your long-term financial goals?
I have committed to never carrying a credit card balance, and I’ve done that so far. My current goal is to make sure I’m saving for retirement and maximizing contributions to tax-advantaged retirement accounts, such as a Roth IRA.
8. What topic do you like to write about the most?
I like to write about personal budgeting and credit card debt. Although they may seem like basic topics, when it comes to managing money effectively, it’s exactly where you need to start.
I’m also shocked at some of the statistics I read regarding the number of Americans who still carry excessive credit card debt, as well as those who don’t make use of a personal budget.
9. What’s your #1 piece of financial advice?
Cut your spending as much as you can while you’re in school. For every dollar you don’t spend (and for every one you save), that’s one more dollar you’ll have to send into your loan balances.
If you graduate with $25,000 in student loan debt, which is close to the national average these days, you may struggle to get off on the right financial foot.
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