We have a special treat for you today – an interview with Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance. A hedge-fund-analyst-turned-Internet-entrepreneur, Andrew has a wealth of insights into personal finance and investing and in this interview shares with us some of them.
1. For the benefit of our readers, could you give us a summary of your background / what got you to where you are now?
I graduated from Brown University with a degree in economics. I then took a position at a hedge fund located in Chicago, Illinois, but quickly became restless working in the corporate world. I decided to venture out on my own, and began working on Money Crashers in 2008. It has been very challenging, but with a lot of hard work and effort, we feel we’ve turned Money Crashers into one of the top financial resources in the world.
2. You run a popular personal finance blog in Money Crashers. What sparked your interest in personal finance and what are your goals with Money Crashers?
I’ve always had an interest in finance, which is one reason why I majored in economics, and have a sincere desire to help others.
3. What stops most people from achieving their financial goals? What are the most common mistakes that you have observed?
The primary reason that people don’t achieve their financial goals is a hesitation to take action. Either you run your finances, or they run you, and many people are complacent about becoming financially fit. They know that paying credit card interest is a waste of money, yet they simply lack the desire or motivation to eliminate this expense. If people looked at what they’re paying in credit card interest on an annual basis, I believe more would make serious efforts to gain control over their finances.
I also think that a lack of education is a major detriment. For instance, people know they should be saving for retirement, but they’re fearful of getting started because they just don’t know how to do it.
4. What do you invest in, and how do you think about investing?
Right now, I have a mutual fund and a Roth IRA. I feel that I have a well-balanced portfolio, with some money in stocks, bonds, and cash. I’ve chosen to keep a good deal of money invested in stocks, because at my age, I think it’s fine to take a few risks. As I get closer to retirement, I’ll focus more on bonds.
My overall investment strategy is to keep it simple and balanced. I also review my portfolio twice per year to make sure my money is earning as much as possible.
5. Could you give an example or two of the best investment(s) you have made so far?
A few years ago, I decided to put a decent amount of my Roth IRA into healthcare. That choice turned out to be very profitable. The individual investments I chose have performed quite well, even with the recession.
6. What are the most important lessons you took away from your own path to financial freedom?
My path to financial freedom wasn’t an easy one, and I certainly made some mistakes along the way. The biggest lesson I learned is that no one is going to manage my finances for me, so it’s my responsibility and mine alone to get them in order and keep them that way. For those looking for guidance in their quest for financial fitness, there’s no better place to start than some awesome Warren Buffet quotes that can truly guide people of all ages and backgrounds!
7. Any book recommendations?
I’ve always been a fan of Dave Ramsey, and his book “The Total Money Makeover” is a great read for anyone looking to become financially fit.
8. Any last words of advice to those who want to become financially free one day?
If you’re carrying any sort of credit card balances, do whatever you can to eliminate them. The sacrifices you need to make in order to do this are not lifelong – just until that last balance is paid off.
9. How should readers get in touch with you?