Author Q&A: Financial Fresh Start by Shari Olefson Part 1

Author Q&A: Financial Fresh Start by Shari Olefson with Women Entrepreneurs Radio

Shari Olefson, JD, LLM, author of Financial Fresh Start: Your Five-Step Plan for Adapting and Prospering in the New Economy is a Bar Certified Real Estate attorney and a Supreme Court Certified Mediator with degrees in finance and psychology. Shari served on the front lines of the real estate bubble, the bailouts, and the Great Recession, and is also a trusted journalist, news commentator, and speaker-educator on foreclosures, mortgages, credit, investments, and other money matters. She's stopping by the Secrets of Success blog today and tomorrow to share insights from her new book.

Deb Bailey: So glad you could stop by the Secrets of Success blog! Please share with us, what prompted you to write this book?

Shari Olefson: Like many moms I put preparing my kids - giving them every possible opportunity for a great life - above everything else. And yet I worry that as prepared as they may be, the world may not be ready for them. As the mother of two teenagers, I often wonder how commonplace foreclosures, sequester and fresh college grads struggling to find decent jobs will be when my daughters hit the real world. Also, what exactly will that mean, not only for each of our personal finances, but for our kids and the legacy and country we leave behind for them? Passion for our country and our next generation is what prompted me to write Financial Fresh Start, because those of us with teenagers and younger children still have time - and all these new rules and reforms give us an opportunity - to get the world ready for our kids.

And one of the most effective ways we can do that is by improving our own financial circumstances because when we do well, America does well, and vice versa. I've been on the front line of real estate and finance for years so these new rules and reforms are second nature. Sometimes I wonder how anybody gets through life without a law degree. I get hundreds of calls and emails from folks asking questions when answers are right in front of them, but seem too burdensome to find. Financial Fresh Start essentially gives you a 20 minute law degree.

Deb: There's so much information out there that it can be overwhelming for the average person to understand. How did you break it down so that we can get a better handle on our financial lives?

Shari: We all have different financial situations, but no matter how good or bad it is, you always want it to be the best it can possibly be. After years of economic uncertainty, massive foreclosures, collapsing banks, and the Great Recession, the federal government has enacted sweeping reforms to help millions of struggling Americans. Our government spent BILLIONS of our tax payer dollars for these new protections - Financial Fresh Start helps make sure you get your money's worth!

We now have hundreds of new rules - more than 400 under the Dodd-Frank Act alone - as well as new laws, programs, investigations, and even new authorities such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. These changes touch on the banking, borrowing, credit, debt, savings, investments, homeownership, earning, spending, and retirement of just about every citizen. Unfortunately, few have the time, patience, and expertise to confidently navigate the new economic landscape, seize the opportunities for recovery and prosperity it offers, rise to its challenges, and steer clear of its pitfalls.


The good news is you don't have to read through all this legalese because I've done it for you : Financial Fresh Start: Your Five-Step Plan for Adapting and Prospering in the New Economy simplifies it all - Dodd-Frank, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act and many more reforms-so that average Americans once again have power over their own finances. Maybe you've heard that the rules and reforms enacted in response to the Great Depression brought about some of the biggest changes in the history of our country. The new long-term rules and reforms included in Dodd-Frank and other legislation and programs will likewise have tremendous impacts on you, the country, and future generations.

Starting with the big picture, Financial Fresh Start succinctly explains what the heck happened in America, and around the world, in financial markets to provoke a meltdown in banking, real estate, and the economy in general. It introduces major new rules and reforms, with accessible lessons in what they mean, why they matter, and what to expect next. From a brief overview of the new financial landscape, chapters move on to specific strategies for leveraging the new economic rules to get out of financial trouble, regain financial stability, and achieve the still-possible American Dream of a comfortable income and secure retirement. Financial Fresh Start presents a practical, workable plan for rebounding and thriving in the new economy - in five simple steps:

  1. Adapt your banking and borrowing.
  2. Fix your credit and debt.
  3. Protect your savings, investments, and retirement.
  4. Decide if homeownership is (still, now, or someday) right for you.
  5. Spend less and earn more.

Deb: Is there a specific type of person that you had in mind when you wrote this, and that you think would benefit the most from reading your book?

Shari: Financial Fresh Start truly does have something for everyone, but certainly some readers stand to benefit more. Moms like me (or dads), who have children or grandchildren or kids they care about, and want to do what they can to prepare for a prosperous future, and perhaps even do their part to make things better, certainly top the list. But anyone who wants a better understanding of how we got here, the role each of us plays, the new economy, rules and reforms - what they mean, why they matter, and how they can help you prosper - will benefit. Financial Fresh Start tells the story of the big picture, and then breaks it down into quick actions you can take to protect your money, home and prosperity. Quick and easy is key, because as a working mom, I know what it means to be busy.

Deb: Well, you've given us a lot to think about. Thanks and we'll see you tomorrow for more from your new book, Financial Fresh Start.

Shari: Thanks, Deb. In the meantime, here's my website and social media URLs if your readers want to learn more about me and the book.


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