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Chances are, you've read at least one of Liz Pulliam Weston's personal finance columns on MSN.

At a glance
Name: Liz Pulliam Weston
Hometown: Los Angeles, Cali.
Education: B.A. from Pacific Lutheran University in economics and communications and a graduate of the Certified Financial Planners training program.
Career highlights:
  • Award-winning nationally syndicated personal finance columnist.
  • Most-read personal finance columnist on the Internet, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Columns run twice a week on MSN Money.
  • Author of "Easy Money: How to Simplify Your Finances and Get What You Want Out of Life" (2007) and "Deal with Your Debt: The Right Way to Manage Your Bills and Pay Off What You Owe" (2005).
  • Appears regularly on numerous television and radio programs, including NPR's "Talk of the Nation" and "All Things Considered," American Public Media's "Marketplace Money" and NBC's "Today."
Every month about 12 million people do. That's a lot of readers, and her simple, straightforward writing style invites them back for more.

In her books, her column on MSN Money and her syndicated newspaper column, Pulliam Weston regularly exhorts her readers to take control of their finances and work toward financial independence. Bankrate recently caught up with her to learn what she had to say about how to build wealth and get out of debt.

q_v2.gif People sometimes assume that personal finance experts such as yourself never struggle with money because they have all the answers. Did you ever struggle?

a_v2.gif Yeah. If you are a reporter, you are making not a heck of a lot of money. I've been living in southern California since '92 so ...

The one thing I did right was start saving for retirement early. I didn't know what I was doing, but thank God I did. And my mother taught me not to get into credit card debt. You always paid your credit card bills in full.

But I did a couple of stupid things. I bought land in Alaska, raw land with no road to it. I mean -- dumb!

q_v2.gif Do you remember the best advice you ever received on how to be financially successful?

a_v2.gifThere are so many good ones, but again I go back to my mom: Pay yourself first. You always put some money aside from every dollar you get and then stay out of credit card debt.

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She was very leery of any kind of debt. She wanted to get the mortgage paid off as soon as possible. She really had a hard time with people who lived beyond their means, so I got that inculcated pretty early.

 

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