Expert Interview with Eric Rosenberg on Financial Responsibility and Side Businesses for Mint

Eric Rosenberg has spent years in finance, doing everything from making the call about financing a mortgage to helping universities invest their money. At Narrow Bridge, he brings that financial acumen to bear on personal finance, from simple investment ideas to thorny problems with which we all struggle. We spoke with him about finance, dreams and starting a business.

How did you choose the name "Narrow Bridge" for your blog?

The name Narrow Bridge Finance is an evolution from the original name of the site, which was Narrow Bridge Adventures - Adventures in Personal Finance.

The name Narrow Bridge comes from a Jewish song by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, a famous spiritual leader who lived in the late 1700s to early 1800s. The song goes: "The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is to have no fear at all."

As many people find their finances stressful and sometimes a bit scary, I wanted to help people save time, money and headache when dealing with their money.

How important is organization to keeping up your finances?

I always tell new readers to start their personal finance cleanup and goals with organization. Making an account inventory and understanding all of your assets and debts helps us get a grip on the best and the worst of our personal finances.

Keeping your bank accounts, credit accounts and loans in good standing is almost impossible if you don't keep everything organized and track what is going on in your accounts.

What common misconceptions about personal finance are floating around out there?

There are more finance misconceptions out there than I can count! A couple that I run into often are:

Overdrafts Impact Your Credit Score - FALSE! Only activity related to credit and loan accounts impacts your credit score. Overdrafts are expensive, but don't show up on your credit.

Credit Card Accounts Expire at the Date on the Card - FALSE! Your credit accounts are open until you or your bank close them. That date is only for the physical card, not the account. At the date on your card, your bank sends you a new card for the same account.

What should be the first step for a new investor? Where should they start?

New investors should start by keeping it simple. Warren Buffett suggests new investors put their money into a low-fee S&P 500 index fund, as the market has always gone up over time. Picking individual stocks is much more risky and difficult than just investing in the biggest benchmark that even professional investors have time beating consistently.

What are some steps to starting a successful side business? What are some pitfalls?

Starting a business doesn't have to be expensive or overly stressful. Just pick a hobby or passion that you are good at and start selling. All you need to succeed is a product or service, a way to sell it and customers to buy it. Don't stress out over the details to start. Just start and fill in the details as you go.

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