Jean Chatzky, financial editor for NBC’s “Today” show, spoke at 7:30 p.m. yesterday in Emerson Suites about financial planning and succeeding as a writer in a lecture titled “Money 911: Teaching Americans to Cope Financially in a Changing World,” part of the Jessica Savitch Distinguished Journalism Lecture Series.
Chatzky spoke about how to achieve financial security after the recent financial crisis and her efforts to succeed as a financial reporter.
“We are terrible, terrible, savers in the United States … it didn’t use to be that way,” she said.
Chatzky said as she rose to her current position as financial editor at NBC, she acted as “translator” of financial information to the public — an important role in the recent economic downturn.
“If we, the end-users, had understood even a bit more of the risks that we were taking on, perhaps we wouldn’t find ourselves in such a precarious position today,” she said. “Making sure that we never end up in such a stew again –that’s what gets me up in the morning.”
Chatzky said to manage money better people must delay gratification and save more than they spend. She said that since money is a limited resource, people must make always make wise choices of when to spend and save.
Melissa Gattine, special programs public relations coordinator for the Park School of Communications, said Chatzky’s expertise in current issues was a key factor in why the Park School invited her to speak.
“We were looking for someone who could talk about something really topical, so we were thinking economy, healthcare — things that were really big issues,” she said. She was someone who could talk about all those issues to the everyday person, who’s covering it and offering advice in this climate that the economy is just such top news all of the time.”
Roberta Spring, associate director of the NBC “Nightly News” and best friend of the late Jessica Savitch, said in an introduction speech that she was thrilled when Chatzky accepted the invitation to speak because of her relevance to the times.
“[Chatzky’s lecture] is so timely, so perfect for everything that our world … is going through now and for students here,” she said. “When you think about your futures you have to plan financially.”
Students at the lecture said they learned new ways to stay financially secure from Chatzky.
Sophomore Mofei Li said she was glad to learn about money management, but that the time for her to worry was still far off.
“What [Chatzky] taught is something still far away from me, my parents pay tuition for me and the everyday expenses,” she said. “It’s good to know them now because someday you’ll graduate and you’ll use these things.”
Junior Tucker Ives, a television-radio major, said he enjoyed the lecture and appreciated Chatzky’s money-managing techniques which are not taught in his major.
“These [Park sponsored] speeches are usually on communications,” he said. “It was nice to get the financial stuff too because it’s an important part of life no matter what field you’re in.”
Chatzky said when lecturing for a college audience her goal is to bestow “tactical, practical information” and steps to follow.
“If people can leave saying ‘I’m going to do this tomorrow or next week,’ then I feel like I made progress,” she said.