Q&A: A Financial Expert’s Painless Guide to Managing Money

Does hearing the word “finance” make you snore? You’re not alone. Many of us wish we were better with our money, but just don’t care enough to figure out all the complicated jargon. That’s why financial advisor George Kroustalis wrote a fun, digestible guide called “Secrets to Becoming a Financial Badass.” By sharing just a few fundamentals, Kroustalis proves that setting yourself up for financial success doesn’t have to be difficult or boring.

Knowing that money is always on the minds of our college and career-bound readers, we decided to chat with Kroustalis and learn more about how to become a financial badass. Keep reading to see what he shared!

1. What do you feel is the biggest financial challenge for career-bound millennials?

“There are so many more ways to spend money now, primarily through technology. Apps and games, money transfer services (Venmo, Splitwise, Paypal), and subscription services like Spotify, Netflix, and Hulu give us more options to burn $10 here and $20 there—they take a chunk out of our pockets every month and add up without us realizing it. Combined with the rapidly increasing cost of higher education, it can be difficult for those entering the workforce to balance long-term financial commitments and short-term spends.”

2. Financial literacy can be overwhelming. How does Financial Badass take the stress out of learning these critical skills?

“Financial anything can be overwhelming. The word alone makes people cringe, and I want to change that by making financial literacy more accessible and proving that this stuff isn’t as complicated as people think. Financial Badass uses a simple formula that’s worked well over time by focusing on what you can do with money rather than bogging you down with theory: save, spend, and invest. It’s that simple.”

 

3. Many refer to millennials as the “entitled” generation. Do you agree with this assessment?

“No, I don’t think they are entitled. Every generation faces certain cultural realities that are out of their control but influence their behaviors and legacy. For the baby boomers, it was Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement. For the millennials, the defining force is technology and how it’s enabled everything to be delivered with the touch of a button. They’re not entitled—they’re living at a different speed.”

 

4. We always hear that it’s “never too early to start saving for retirement.” In an economy where cost of living can be astronomically expensive, is this still the truth? 

“Absolutely! The earlier you start to save the better, because the more years you have in front of you, the LESS you need to save month to month. A person with an income in their early 20’s is WILDLY powerful, and yet, very few twentysomethings know this: they have the most control over how big their retirement nest egg will be later in life. Getting into those habits when you get your first paycheck is much easier than trying to retrain yourself later in life when you have other financial commitments (a house, family, etc.).”

 

 

5. In terms of building wealth, which do you feel is the more valuable skillset for younger adults who are still building their careers: saving or investing? 

“To invest, you have to have money saved. They go hand in hand: you can’t do one without the other. Saving is great, but if you don’t invest seeking the highest rate of return, then you’re selling yourself short. Investing and letting compounding work its magic is the other half—the higher percentage the better. More time + higher growth percentage = nailed it.”

 

6. What are some easy ways for young adults to invest while still balancing monthly costs? Do you have any tools you recommend?

“Thankfully, there are apps for that! Acorns, Robinhood, and Mint are saving and investing tools that require minimal effort and management. They’re a great way to get started thinking about investment and have tons of customizable options to make your money work for you.”

 

7. What is your benchmark for achieving financial badassery? What’s your measure for “making it”?

“Being “rich” or financially successful means doing what you want with your money, today, in a few years, and after you retire. It’s saving for those “what if’s”—a spur-of-the-moment vacation, an unexpected car repair, tickets to a playoff game, a career change—and being prepared for those inevitabilities. It’s also having the means to take care of yourself and to invest in your physical, mental, and spiritual health—that balance is essential to being a badass. The last piece is attitude: you have to be positive and resolved in your financial decisions. You can’t predict everything life will throw at you, but you can make a plan of positive action that keeps your financial future secure.”

Do you have any questions about setting yourself up for success? Make sure to grab a copy of “Secrets to Becoming a Financial Badass!”

GIVEAWAY: We’re giving away a copy of “Secrets to Becoming a Financial Badass” and a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card! Head to our Facebook for details.

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