It’s a literal case of “small change”: financial advice is a dime a dozen these days. It may be impossible to tell right away which ones are important and which ones are a bunch of tainted pennies.
Andrew Schrage understands this dilemma and founded Money crackers, a content hub for financial services to help ordinary people with no financial training – a common shortcoming due to the lack of focus in our education system. He spoke to Talking Biz News about his history with the company, what he does on a day-to-day basis, and what topics he thinks don’t get the attention they deserve.
Talking Biz News: How did you first get into what you do professionally?
Andrew Schrage: I have always had a passion for personal finance. A lot of credit for this goes to my parents, who from a very young age did their best to teach me basic financial principles: spending, saving, budgeting, and even investing.
As I got older, it became clearer that many people in my life didn’t share that passion—not because they didn’t care about money or providing for themselves and their families, but because we, as a society, weren’t doing a great job. with training in basic concepts of personal finance.
I was lucky that I learned early on the importance of spending less than you earn and starting to invest early so that compound interest would kick in. And later, when I was old enough to work outside the home, my parents and teachers helped me understand the importance of financial self-sufficiency. This eventually led me to take control of my own financial life, and while working full-time at a hedge fund, I launched Money Crashers despite the inherent risks of owning a business.
We started Money Crashers to make this information available to people who didn’t learn about it in school. We are doing our small part to increase financial literacy and help people take control of their money.
TBN: What have you learned about business writing that you couldn’t have learned in the classroom?
Shrage: Authenticity is everything. People want to hear from messengers they can relate to and whose stories resemble their own, even if the topic is really basic or fundamental. If you really want your writing to stand out, write from the heart. Include personal stories when appropriate, and don’t forget to add a few dashes of humor.
TBN: What does a day in your life look like?
Shrage: We are fortunate to cover a topic with endless possibilities and potential. We’ve been doing this for years and are still breaking new ground because the world of personal finance is constantly changing. Our main goal is to increase the financial literacy of our readers and help them take control of their financial destiny, and we never lose sight of that. We see every day as a new opportunity to teach our audience something new. And every day is a little different: one day there may be a pile of reader and author referrals, the next day there may be news that we need to cover right away, and so on. It’s never boring, that’s for sure.
TBN: What do you think is the key to successful financial content?
Shrage: Besides authenticity and personal connections, the key to successful business and finance content is simplicity. This may seem strange coming from someone who deals with complex financial topics every day, but it’s important to remember that no one can be an expert in everything. If we want our readers to feel more comfortable making their own financial decisions, we need to make sure they are not overwhelmed and discouraged from the start.
TBN: How do you adjust to this job when you feel overwhelmed?
Shrage: We are lucky to have millions of readers. Every publisher has days when they feel like they’re not breaking through, or that their message is getting lost in the noise. But it’s good to remember how many people we’ve helped with their personal finances. When I feel like we’re not helping, I take a few minutes to read user feedback—email, social media—and remind myself that we really do matter.
TBN: What topic do you think is not being covered nowadays?
Shrage: The importance of a comprehensive, long-term financial plan. A lot
personal finance content focuses on quick fixes and, even worse, get-rich-quick schemes. Some topics in this direction are interesting and even useful to the average person, if only to show them what to avoid.
Meanwhile, “sad” is lost in the shuffle or not spoken at all. Sure, creating a comprehensive financial plan that spans the present into your golden years can seem daunting, and yes, it is a lot of work. But we know from experience and research that a financial plan is critical if you want to maintain or improve your standard of living as you age and ensure that you are not a burden on your loved ones. We wish more financial content creators were aware of this rather than focusing on financial fads that may or may not last.