Mary Carlson, Ph.D., is no stranger to financial planning. She currently serves as a professor in UGA’s online Master of Financial Planning program and runs her own blog focused on the topic. Carlson is a valuable resource to her students and to the thousands of followers of the popular blog, Chief Financial Mom. Her blog speaks to parents searching for financial advice and features expert tips on hot topics such as: “relationships and money”, “managing your money,” and “saving for the future.”
Carlson has always had a desire to empower others by sharing her knowledge of financial planning and the information she received through her education. It was when she became a mother that she recognized the more specific challenges and needs of parents. Carlson had noticed a gap in the availability of good education and information about personal finance for moms in particular, and she decided to fill this gap herself. This is when her blog and website, Chief Financial Mom, was born. Her blog incorporates a different approach to personal finance by sharing advice and information for moms to make smart money decisions and have healthy financial relationships.
“I believe it’s vital for moms to know about money in order to empower and educate their own children about personal financial matters,” she says.
Carlson says the most common question moms seem to have about saving money is the “how to do” of it all: how to get started, how to save while paying down debt, etc. “Most moms are constantly being pulled in different directions involving different aspects of life, and too often they choose to let their husbands handle financial decisions while they conquer other tasks,” says Carlson. “It is my hope that through my blog that mothers will feel empowered to handle and their financial matters and better communicate with their significant other about the family finances.”
She says, “Financial planning has been a man’s world for quite some time, and the industry is looking to change that to reflect the demographics we see in society. Therefore, I wanted to work with this niche and educate this generation to be able to teach the next.”
One piece of money-saving advice from Carlson is to stop saying “I’ll do it tomorrow,” and stop putting off little tasks in your day-to-day life; tomorrow doesn’t bring any additional resources. Savings can become automatic, and with a small amount of planning and focus, that cycle of putting things off can be changed into a long-term plan for saving and utilizing limited resources on a daily basis.
As an adjunct professor, Carlson specializes in financial communication and counseling. She teaches master’s level students, many of whom as working professionals and parents, key communication and counseling skills to not only enhance their practice but their own lives. “Money is just a tool that we use regularly, but it carries so much power and emotion behind it that often infiltrates our own personal relationships if we aren’t careful,'' says Dr. Carlson. “By learning to communicate about money and have the skills required to be successful at it, UGA master’s students are able to not only improve their relationships with their financial planning clients but also their personal relationships.”
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