Chatzky’s path toward financial perfection

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Jean Chatzky, who is the longtime “Today” show financial editor and author of eight books about personal finance, faces the pressure to be correct every day. However, Chatzky knows what it’s like to make a money blunder.

“I’ve made so many mistakes,” she chuckles. In her early 20s, Chatzky changed jobs, which led to one of the biggest financial mistakes of her life—and a lesson that anyone can heed. “My doozy was switching jobs and not rolling over the 401(k). I didn’t really understand at the time what it was,” she says—retirement was too far away to grasp the importance of planning. “If I had allowed the money to grow, it wasn’t a ton, but it would’ve been worth significantly more,” she says.

Chatzky, who in 2012 launched “Jean Chatzky’s Money School,” which is a series of virtual personal-finance classes, through jeanchatzky.com, avoids individual stocks and invests in widely diversified index funds and exchange-traded funds. About 55 percent of her portfolio is in stocks, 30 percent is in bonds and 15 percent is in cash.