Financial expert Nicole Lapin is the millennial woman’s go to girl for all matters relating to dollars and cents. After starting her career in finance at the age of 18, Nicole Lapin has gone on to become the youngest anchor ever at CNN and CNBC respectively. From her role as the money saving correspondent on the Wendy Williams show to reporting on the business of Hollywood, this finance maven does it all!
Her Agenda had a chance to speak to Nicole Lapin about her new book Rich Bitch. She shares her most valuable advice on how young women can make better financial decisions and take control of their financial destiny.
Her Agenda: What is your personal motto?
Nicole Lapin: Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.
Her Agenda: What do you consider to be the most valuable financial advice for young millennial women?
Nicole Lapin: You have to think for yourself, and rethink “conventional” financial wisdom. There’s an old adage that says “play to your strengths.” well, that’s sounds like gospel…if you don’t think about it for yourself. Sure, it can be true for some. But not for everyone, because nothing is true for everyone. So a 401(k) might really be the best retirement vehicle for you…but there also might be a better option out there. And instead of buying your house, renting might actually be the way to go. Only once we start thinking for ourselves do we truly learn this language of money—and truly feel empowered.
Her Agenda: For those who may be overwhelmed by the work of getting their finances in order, what should be their first step?
Nicole Lapin: Like those “other” 12-step recovery programs, the first step is admitting that you have a money problem—then we’re going to figure out together how to get back on track. This is a simple 12-step program that helps you to get your financial life together…once and for all. It’s not about bling bling and private jets; it’s about living a rich life in every sense of the word. So from family to fashion to 401(k)s, I’ve got you covered.
Her Agenda: Aside from reading your book “Rich Bitch,” how can young women educate themselves on money management?
Nicole Lapin: Join the conversation! Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know; just look it up, learn more about it, and realize that money is a language like anything else. The more you know, the more you want to know. Still have questions? Tweet me @nicolelapin and I will answer any and all of your burning money questions!
Her Agenda: How did you come up with the title for your book? Were you afraid that some people would be put off by the title?
Nicole Lapin: This is the first personal finance book that swears. It’s a jargon-free zone, and I wanted the title to reflect that spirit. I’ve been called a bitch in a derogatory way throughout my career. But there’s nothing wrong with being strong and confident. That’s why I’m taking the word back and owning it. If being a rich bitch means being debt-free and on top of my career, then I’m a Rich Bitch and proud of it.
Her Agenda: What are the most important things for young women to consider before making a major financial decision?
Nicole Lapin: Before tackling anything else—investing, making a big purchase, starting your own business—you have to get the debt monkey off your back. Start with the highest interest rate debt you have first–which is usually your credit card. Schedule your debt payments to automatically come out of your paycheck each month so you don’t even have a chance to spend that money on something else. It doesn’t hurt as much if you never see that money in the first place. Give yourself a realistic timetable to pay it off, but don’t set comfy deadlines. Paying debt off isn’t a comfy thing. Don’t forget: the longer you drag it out, the more money you’ll be shelling out for interest.
And finally, negotiate everything: medical bills, cable bills, and of course your credit card rate! Don’t accept the sticker price on anything. Creditors have an incentive for you to pay the debt back even at a lower rate, especially if it is “unsecured debt,” like credit card debt, since they don’t have any collateral to take if you don’t pay them back (unlike with “secured debt,” such as a mortgage, which is backed by something the lender can take away if you don’t pay them back (á la a house in the case of a mortgage). So try and try again. You might also qualify for a hardship plan, which could lower your rates or payments or both. It’s your money, after all—so fight for it!