How do you juggle your family, your career, your money, your social activities, and ah, toss a triathlon into that line up, all with grace? Take a lesson from Fox Business Network’s anchor Liz Claman.
She knows how to pick up the ball, keep running with it and appear perfectly composed. In fact that’s just what she had to do last year! Hours after completing the New York City Triathlon she had to run back onto the NYSE floor to cover a huge market meltdown after the S&P ratings agency downgraded the United State's triple-A credit rating.
Claman says she knew viewers were depending on her to let them know how the market was affecting their portfolios and that kept her going.
“By the time I hit the floor of the stock exchange, I was so ready mentally that physically I decided to completely ignore the fact that less than 24 hours before, I had swum a mile in the Hudson, cycled 26 miles up the Westside Highway and then run a 10k in Central Park.”
Racking up even more post triathlon mileage that day, Claman pounded the pavement inside the stock exchange for 14 hours. Then she hosted her signature FBN show, Countdown to the Closing Bell. Today marks quite a milestone for the program, it’s Claman’s 1,000th episode! Over the past 3 years, she’s covered the market's tank then soar to record highs. She’s seen promising stocks plummet and her share of financial scandals that shook the industry. After spending so much time on the front lines of one of the world’s largest financial hubs, what’s her advice to investors and even to people who don’t have money in the market?
Claman's Financial Tips
1. Just because the government isn’t cutting its spending doesn’t mean you should follow suit. Look over your entire balance sheet of your household. I’m talking about your cable bill, your electricity bill, everything. Then figure out ways to slice and dice. Imagine you’re holding a gigantic Exacto knife and cut down on even the smallest things: Fresh-squeezed OJ? Switch to the not-from-concentrate. It’s still healthy and tastes almost the same, only way less expensive. Why are you still buying expensive shampoo instead of Suave? Hello? I dumped the $59 truffle shampoo I was using and switched to herbal essence for $4.00 a bottle and I’m up $47 bucks instantly! It’s the little things that add up to the big savings.
Related: Simple Ways to Save $100 a Week
2.If you’re pregnant or have kids, set up a 529 college savings account tied into Upromise.com. I literally set mine up the first week my daughter was born. I was so anxious and focused on college because someone had told me the week before she was born that when she turned 18, college would cost $80k a year!!! Omg!!!! Take a breath and set up the account. Make sure it’s one with a low fee. You can find them on Upromise.com and then set up your credit cards and frequent shopper cards on Upromise. Every time you purchase something from a participating company (Target, Walmart, Victoria’s Secret, there’s a huge list on there!) the company kicks a percentage back into your child’s 529. Anywhere from 1-7% depending on the company. So if you buy bras on Victoriassecret.com, they’ll kick back 5% of what you paid into the account. Who knew lingerie could help pay for Yale?
3. Take the headlines with a grain of salt. Perfect example: August 8th, 2012. It was the market’s first chance to react to the ratings agency downgrade of our nation’s triple-A rating. The day before, I had completed the New York city triathlon—1 mile swim, 26 mile bike ride and a 10k run to top it all off. But I had to muster the energy just 24 hours later to charge around the floor of the New York stock exchange and talk viewers through a market fall. It looked bad that day but since then we’ve seen a significant rally in stocks. So listen to me when I say, sometimes it’s darkest before dawn. Don’t fear the bad headlines. Guys like Warren Buffett see them as opportunities to buy stocks that were too expensive before.
4. Have a rainy day fund. You’ve heard this before but I’m going to tell you again: following the same model of dollar cost averaging, set up an interest bearing account with your bank and auto-debit a little bit each paycheck to flow right in. People say that ideally you should have 3 months worth of your salary saved up in case you lose your job but last I checked, in this current job climate it sometimes takes longer to find the next gig. Let it be a never-ending savings account that’s instantly accessible… just in case! Think "Boy Scouts" and be prepared!
Related: Money Rules That May Surprise You
5. Dollar-cost average. Pick an amount you can live without from your paycheck ($50, $100, $500 a month) and have it auto-debited right into a high-yielding mutual fund. This way you’re buying into the market at all different prices. You’ll turn around in a few years and have thousands of dollars socked away without having even noticed. The stock market goes up, it goes down, so you’ll be buying more shares at a lower price when it’s down, and the shares you have already will be worth more when the markets go up. Over time, the stock market has shown to return-- on average—9-11% each year. There are fewer better bets out there for the long-term investor.
6. Don’t be emotional about investing. When I was standing on the floor of the New York stock exchange in September of 2008 and the Dow fell 777 points, you were looking at McDonald’s at a much cheaper price than it is today. Wouldn’t you have loved to have gotten in back then? If you auto-dollar cost average, it eliminates the angst that goes with, “Gee, everyone’s fleeing the market, I’m too scared to get in here” and does it for you.
7. Overhaul your portfolio. Take a couple of hours, turn off the phone and look through your 401k and any mutual funds or investments you have. If there is “any” doubling up, and I bet you there is-- meaning, you own Coca Cola shares in your 401k but also in a large cap mutual fund you’ve owned for a long time, jettison the shares. There’s no reason to double up. That money could be used for different investments.
If you want to check out Claman’s show, Countdown to the Closing Bell airs from 3-4pm EST. She then co-anchors After the Bell from 4-5pm EST.
More from GalTime: