How I'm Skirting the Rules

I’ve Discovered the Surprising Key to Making Money

It's all about taking care of yourself—your body, mind, and soul—according to financial journalist Bobbi Rebell. Her mission is to help you discover the under-appreciated connection between wellness and creating the financial future you want.

Financial journalist Bobbi Rebell

Financial journalist Bobbi Rebell is expanding the definition of financial wellbeing.

Have you ever thought about how your physical health, mental health, and friendships are impacting your career and finances? Bobbi Rebell thinks about that all the time. Bobbi is a financial journalist who leads the U.S. Business Video team for Reuters news agency, and serves as an anchor for their U.S. business video content. Her new book How to be a Financial Grownup: Proven Advice from High Achievers on How to Live Your Dreams and Have Financial Freedom includes specific advice on how everyday health moves, such as practicing meditation, getting enough rest, and healthy communication with friends and family can improve your financial future. Here, she shares more secrets to her success, such as low-cost ways to learn new skills, to increase your earning potential.

I am Skirting the Rules by…expanding the definition of what determines financial wellbeing. The decisions that we make regarding our money are only part of what determines our financial wellbeing. Other factors include health, friendships, and mindfulness.

With health, if you’re not getting enough sleep and you’re not eating well, then you won’t be able to focus as easily at work or complete meet tight deadlines. This can affect whether or not you keep your job (and your salary) or get a raise. And if you get sick, you’re going to spend more money on healthcare, and that’s going to be detrimental financially.

Taking care of yourself mentally is also key. I have been very surprised at how many very successful people meditate on a regular basis. The busier you get, the more that meditation and mindfulness can be helpful. When I was writing my book, I also had three kids at home, a husband, a dog, and a full-time job that was expanding. I was so stressed out because I had so many demands on me. But I still made the time to meditate because I needed that.

As for friendships, people talk about networking in this coldhearted way, but the truth is, I think these days our work and our personal lives all blend together. Some of my best business allies have been friends first or vice versa. It’s your friends who lift you up, your friends who help you get a lead on the sale, your friends who will look at the draft of your book and make the chapter better, and your friends who might introduce you to a key contact who improves your career or become a key contact who is important to your career.

A time when I found the possible (a creative solution) within the impossible (against incredible odds) was…when I was writing my book, How to be a Financial Grownup. I was told by a number of people (who will remain nameless!) that it would be impossible or inappropriate to get some of the most accomplished and inspiring achievers, such as the President and Editor in Chief of Reuters, Stephen Adler, to share their most personal money stories. But, in fact, when asked, the people were very happy to share them.

I used my connections to get in touch with a number of the people I interviewed in the book. It took me six to nine months to write the book, but the book was 20 years in the making, because it took a couple of decades to build trust with sources and build my reputation as a journalist.

Despite the naysayers, I persevered. I figured: What do I have to lose? If someone doesn’t want to meet with me, then they won’t meet with me. I had free time between dropping off my son at 7:45am and getting to work at 10:00am, so I’d use that time each weekday to schedule interviews and write the book.

An example of how listening to my intuition has helped me is…early in my career, I made the deliberate decision that I wanted to become an on-camera person, because I felt that, ultimately, that would serve me better and give me more control. I felt that if I were behind the scenes, I could be more easily replaced. And when you’re behind the scenes, sometimes people take credit for your work, and I had a hard time with that.

I was at CNN, working behind the scenes, and they had wanted me to sign a contract for three years. They said they might be able to put me on the air, but they wouldn’t guarantee it. Meanwhile, I had an offer from Nightly Business Report that was lower pay, but came with an on-air guarantee and would provide me with on-camera training. I decided to take the Nightly Business Report offer. In the long-term, that decision has served me well.

My secret talent is…I rarely get writers block. I am a very fast writer.

To anyone who experiences writer’s block, I’d say: Just start writing. You can always go back and edit. You can even start at the middle or at the end—you don’t have to start at the beginning. Don’t worry about the first draft.

Also, I like writing in different places, because it gives me a fresh start and a new perspective. I have three or four places—cafeterias and coffee shops—near my son’s school that I go to. Proximity is important, because I don’t want to waste time traveling. If you don’t write at home, pick places that are close to you, because time management is important.

A woman is most powerful when she…is healthy and well rested. I’m working on it! I try to eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep, though it’s hard. I try to be asleep by 11:00pm, but sometimes it creeps up to midnight. I’m going to a nutritionist and I’m trying to cut back on chocolate. For exercise, I walk around the reservoir in Central Park a lot and that’s been really good for my mental health. I also like dance cardio. There’s a connection between how we take care of ourselves and success in our careers.

What I wish I had told my myself when I was starting out is…to pick up the phone or write that email to someone I admire. Sometimes the person will answer back and even offer to help you out. The book took a lot of brave cold calls, but getting past the fear paid off.

My favorite skirt (a.k.a life hack or life rule) is…to always be learning new skills—especially technology-related ones. I have spent countless hours watching instructional videos on places like Lynda.com and Coursera.org, as well as the videos associated with various products that I use. Among my self-taught skills are: website management, video editing, and social media graphics creation. Just last night I was watching videos on SEO (search engine optimization).

Depending on your job, figure out what skills are most important. If you’re in public speaking, for instance, you should know how to work a PowerPoint presentation. You should always be improving your skill set—for your current job, for your next job, and for the job that you don’t know that you want yet.