How Gen Y Can Overcome Its Biggest Financial Hurdles

One expert says investing in yourself will pay the most dividends in the future.


[See How to Avoid Common Investing Mistakes.]

Has that chutzpah helped you succeed? Any stories you could share?

Yes, I think chutzpah is my middle name. For my first internship, I was shuffled around through HR because I was too young, and I finally showed up at Asa Aaron's desk, and I said, "I'm your summer intern." He said, "If you could get through NBC's security, I'd say you're a good intern." So I cut through the red tape of everybody telling me no, that I was too young, and I just went and asked for it.

I didn't have a Rosetta Stone for financial information, which I hope to be, but I had a lot of chutzpah. I was in high school and my boyfriend said that he wanted to be a hedge-fund manager, and I just smiled and nodded, and I was like, "That's great, you want to be in gardening, babe."

Obviously, you've come a long way since then. How did you learn about Wall Street and investments?

I begged a broadcasting company in Chicago to put me on the air in Milwaukee because I thought that was a big market, and I would take the train from Northwestern and do whatever I could do be on the air. They said there was a new business station they'd opened in Chicago. Did I know anything about business? I was like, "I will learn." I was 16 or 17 at the time. And so I was thrown on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and there's no way to fake it there. I learned very quickly. And then I came up to CNBC, talking about the wonkiest of wonky macroeconomic finances on a global show on CNBC. So I learned the language, I taught myself.

In my family, we didn't grow up reading the Wall Street Journal. I grew up in an immigrant household, and we didn't talk about that stuff. My girlfriends didn't talk about money, so it's always like a dirty little secret, a taboo. And so I wanted to break that, break the cycle.

What's your advice for other young people on learning these concepts?

Join the conversation. Stop smiling and nodding. And I think to really be educated on some of the terms that are thrown around not only in business news, but in general news.