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Chatzky, Jean 1964–

Chatzky, Jean 1964–

(Jean Sherman Chatzky)

PERSONAL: Born 1964, in Detroit, MI; married Peter Chatzky (a chief executive officer); children: two daughters. Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A.

ADDRESSES: Home—Westchester, NY. Agent—The Robert E. Shepard Agency, 1608 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA 94703-1804.

CAREER: Editor and writer. Working Woman magazine, New York, NY, began as editorial assistant, became assistant editor, 1986–87; Business Traveler International magazine, staff member, c. 1988; Dean Witter, associate editor, 1989–91; Forbes magazine, reporter/researcher, c. 1991–98; Money magazine, editor-at-large, 1998–; Today Show, National Broadcasting Company, New York, NY, financial editor; America Online money coach, 2003–.


(As Jean Sherman Chatzky) The Rich and Famous Money Book: Investment Strategies of Leading Celebrities, J. Wiley (New York, NY), 1997.

Talking Money: Everything You Need to Know about Finances and Your Future, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2001.

You Don't Have to Be Rich: Comfort, Happiness, and Financial Security on Your Own Terms, Portfolio (New York, NY), 2003, published as The Ten Commandments of Financial Happiness, 2004.

Pay It Down!: From Debt to Wealth on Ten Dollars a Day, Portfolio (New York, NY), 2004.

Columnist for Money; regular contributor to USA Weekend and Time magazine.

ADAPTATIONS: Talking Money was adapted for audio cassette, read by the author, Time Warner Audiobooks (New York, NY), 2001.

SIDELIGHTS: Jean Chatzky is the author of several books focusing on personal finances and how people can get out of debt. "We need to share this information, because until we start getting it off our chests, we're not going to make progress as a society," Chatzky told Jeff Zaleski in an article in Publishers Weekly. "There are so many corporations out there that have all this money to study ways to get us to part with our money, and to get inside our heads and make us spend. We need people on our side to help us fight back."

In Chatzky's 2003 You Don't Have to Be Rich: Comfort, Happiness, and Financial Security on Your Own Terms, as noted by a Latin Trade contributor, the author suggests that "unless you are extremely poor, money does not have a direct relationship with general contentment." As a result, Chatzky not only offers specific advice about finances—from finding jobs and budgeting to setting goals and insurance protection—but also provides a broader overview of financial life by having readers consider how much money they really need and what actually makes them happy. As a Publishers Weekly writer assessed, "Chatzky's style is friendly and her counsel sound, though less extensive than some readers may need." Barbara Jacobs, writing in Booklist, pointed out that the book is different from similar efforts in that it includes quizzes and answers. The reviewer also wrote that "Chatzky has good advice on maximizing relationships, time, and 'going with the flow.'"

In Pay It Down!: From Debt to Wealth on Ten Dollars a Day Chatzky presents her case that debt is the enemy of the family's finances and provides a program for getting debt-free in three years. As Chatzky commented to Zaleski, "I think the only way to enable mass America to get out of debt is give them an easy-to-follow plan. And that's what this is." In the book, Chatzky breaks down the road to becoming debt-free into various individual steps, such as learning and interpreting credit scores, tracking spending habits, consolidating loans, and finding the ten dollars a day to pay off debt. She also discusses real-life cases, including worst-case scenarios, and how to remain debt-free once the goal is reached. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted, "This is that rare book that has the genuine ability to improve many lives. Its power lies in its simplicity and focus." Writing in Library Journal, Stacey Marien called Pay It Down! "an accessible, straightforward approach to tackling a common financial problem."



Booklist, October 15, 2003, Barbara Jacobs, review of You Don't Have to Be Rich: Comfort, Happiness, and Financial Security on Your Own Terms, p. 367.

Business Record, October 27, 2003, review of You Don't Have to Be Rich, p. 17.

Latin Trade, December, 2003, review of You Don't Have to Be Rich, p. 54.

Library Journal, September 1, 2004, Stacey Marien, review of Pay It Down!: From Debt to Wealth on Ten Dollars a Day, p. 164.

Publishers Weekly, August 11, 2003, review of You Don't Have to Be Rich, p. 266; August 16, 2004, review of Pay It Down!, p. 50; September 6, 2004, Jeff Zaleski, "The Team: Jean Chatzky and Her Colleagues Go for the Breakout," p. 30.


Robert E. Shepard Agency Web site, (March 24, 2005), "Jean Chatzky."

University of Texas of the Permian Basin Web Site, (March 24, 2005), "Jean Chatzky."

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