Expert Interview with Dian L. Chu on Financial Health

Financial healthReady to finally start saving for the future? Whether you're just starting out or already have a healthy savings account, think carefully before taking savings to the next level. Dian L. Chu, a market analyst who is the founder of EconMatters, offers some fascinating insights that can help you make stronger decisions for your own financial health.
 

What is your professional background? How has it served you in your position with EconMatters?

I'm a market analyst with professional experience in Fortune 500 companies. I'm currently based in the U.S. and have been working in the upstream oil and gas sector for the past 10 years, mostly in financial and corporate strategy analysis. My background and experience has offered me the training to see the big picture and inform readers of investing and market related events.
 

Who should be visiting the EconMatters website and why? What can they expect to find there?

I founded EconMatters with a goal to be a truth seeker for readers in investing and market-related events. In addition to the unique analysis and insight by myself, EconMatters also has a team of analysts and contributing authors to provide a 360-degree view cutting through the mainstream media hype and propaganda.

Also, if you're seeking free budgeting tools and tips, sign up for Mint.
 

What do you think most people need to learn about personal finance?

Buy and hold does not work any more; investors need to review portfolio and take gains (or even losses) to best preserve capital.
 

When someone is just starting to save money, what are the first steps they should take?

Put the extra cash (beyond the rainy day fund) to pay off debt first (credit cards, mortgage, car loans, etc.) before even considering investing or taking on margin trading, which is probably the worst investing strategy.
 

How can the average person get started with investing?

Max out on their company 401(k) 401K and 401(k) matching, if available. Seek out tax experts to maximize their tax advantages. Start investing in a diversified mutual fund or ETF.
 

When it comes to investments, how do you know if you're on the right track to building a sound financial future?

Cut down as much debt as possible to minimize leverage and required cash outflow. Have 9-12 months' cash reserve before getting involved in direct investment in markets (as opposed in a diversified mutual fund or ETF).

Follow Dian on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Sign up for Mint and get free budgeting tools and tips.