An Interview with WalletHub’s analyst – Jill Gonzalez

Mar 31, 2016 by

An Interview with WalletHub’s analyst – Jill Gonzalez

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) First of all, tell us about yourself, your education and experience.

“I’m an analyst for WalletHub. I help to develop methodologies for our studies, then analyze the research. My take on consumer finance has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, Fortune and Kiplinger. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications and a minor in broadcasting from The Ohio State University.”

2) What do you mean by “least financially literate state”? How does a state become ” most financially literate”?

 “A financially literate state is home to residents who don’t, for the most part, spend far more than they make, have unbanked households and/or acquire loans from non-bank lenders (payday loans, etc).

A state becomes financially literate by implementing educational programs that will teach students the basics about what contributes to financial stability, or by helping adults get on track to become financially literate.”

3) What are some of the parameters that you look at?

“For this report we compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three key dimensions: 1) WalletHub’s “WalletLiteracy Survey” Score, 2) Planning & Daily Habits and 3) Knowledge & Education. Each key dimension has its own corresponding key metrics, 12 in total. Please view the full methodology here:

  1. Let’s talk about a “rainy day fund”. Most people I know are living or surviving from paycheck to paycheck in this very dismal economy. How does one ever hope to get ahead and who teaches those skills for people to save for a rainy day?

“Building a rainy day fund is important, because you’ll be less at the mercy of this unpredictable economy and able to withstand a prolonged period of unemployment, should you need to. Your goal should be to gradually save about a year’s worth of after-tax income through monthly contributions to an emergency account.

As far as how to do that, try to rank order your expenses and trim the fat if necessary. And most importantly, once you develop your budget, make sure to actually stick to it or else you’ll have completely wasted your time.”

5) Tell us about non-bank lenders – and how do the legally get to charge interest rates about 21 percent?

 “Non-bank lenders operate without a banking license, meaning that in most cases they are unsupervised both by the government and credit reporting agencies. This explains the high interest rates that these financial institutions charge.”

6) What is a FINRA?

“FINRA is short for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a private corporation that protects investors by making sure the securities industry operates fairly and honestly. The data for the “FINRA Financial Literacy Survey” key metric was put forward by FINRA’s Investor Education Foundation who provides underserved Americans with the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for financial success.”

7) I always try to make more than minimum payments on my credit cards- but hey- life happens- a flat tire, an oil change is needed, a trip to the emergency room- what skills do people need in todays economy ( other than remaining healthy and out of the E.R.)?

 “You should implement the snowball method, which will strategically help you pay off amounts owned. In order to become debt free at the least possible cost, you should attribute the majority of your monthly debt payment to the balance with the highest interest rate while making the minimum payment required on the rest. Once your most expensive debt is paid off, repeat the process as necessary with the remaining balances.”

8) Who should be teaching financial literacy in the schools? And do we need to lengthen the school day or year in order to accommodate this?

“Many schools around the country already employ math or statistics teachers to teach financial literacy. Some states even include financial literacy in their curriculum and have made it mandatory to pass before graduating high school. These schools have not had to lengthen the school day, but rather work it into health or home economics classes.”

9) What have I neglected to ask?

I think we covered everything. Thank you!”

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Robert Louis Stevenson

    I have been trying to get into wallet hub through the normal way. As a first time user I did’t have a password so I asked wallet hub for one and didn’t get one.. So the next day I went back and tried again. This time wallet hub gave me a password about five lines long. I copied the password and then when I entered it I was told there was a problem and then no way could `i enter wallet hub. Thank you.


    Robbie Stevenson

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