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Encore: Speaking Money; Gendernomics; Your Own Portfolio

Aired December 31, 2011 - 13:00   ET


ALI VELSHI, HOST: Your house, your budget, your retirement, your investments -- if you cannot speak money, you are lost.


VELSHI: Welcome to a special edition of YOUR MONEY. Christine Romans, host of "YOUR BOTTOM LINE" and co-author of our brand-new book, "How to Speak Money."

Christine, you and I are just like any couple. We're not married, but we certainly do disagree on money, and we have for the last 10 years. What would you say -- I've never asked you this. What's your key to understanding money?

ROMANS: My key to understanding money is that we must live below our means and put a little bit away to build wealth for the future. And that's going to give -- that's going to give cushion and what's going to allow us to have a less stressful life, quite frankly.

VELSHI: This is why we've been fighting for 10 years.

ROMANS: Why, because you don't put money away?

VELSHI: I think money is something that you should use to get more money. You should seize opportunity.

ROMANS: See, here's the --

VELSHI: You should take measured risks.

ROMANS: -- thing. He like to risk his money to grow more. I like to save mine because I don't want to lose it. And that's the way a lot of men and women are, and that's, frankly, the way a lot of spenders and savers are. At the end of the day --

VELSHI: She has a minivan.

ROMANS: And he's got a motorcycle. A perfect metaphor! Neither of us is intimidated to enter the world of money, but in our relationships or in dealing with any part of this economy, our goal for you this hour is that by the end of this hour, you will feel confident about money and you be able to speak money in your job, with your mortgage banker, with your spouse, with a little more confidence.

VELSHI: We wrote a book about it, but we didn't do it alone. Here to help you for the hour, our good friend, Jeff Gardere -- he's a clinical psychologist -- Doug Flynn, a certified financial planner from Flynn Zito Capital Management, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, the founder of, and Louis Barajas, a personal wealth adviser. Welcome to all of you.

ROMANS: Nice to see you guys. Louis, I want to ask you first about speaking money. We've talked about this before. There are people who think they can't speak money. And they think that -- they live paycheck to paycheck. Maybe they're putting a little bit away in a 401(k). But beyond that, it's a completely foreign language to them. That's going to hold them back, isn't it.

LOUIS BARAJAS, FINANCIAL ADVISER: Absolutely. But you know what? Speaking money -- everybody speaks money. I just go back to they're just not aware of how they're speaking money and what their money is for.

VELSHI: Right.

BARAJAS: And like I've always said, you know, the purpose of money is a little better life, and I've never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse.

ROMANS: Right.

BARAJAS: You know, no one's taking anything with them.

ROMANS: Right.

BARAJAS: So how do we use the money to live a better quality of life?

ROMANS: That's the most important part of it. And it's not about the pursuit of money at all costs because, you know, that's all suspicious in its own right.

VELSHI: Right.

ROMANS: And that -- we're not about that, right? We are not about that.

VELSHI: You often say that when you think about -- you know, Louis just said all these decisions about money -- everybody speaks money. You don't necessarily know when you're making a decision. So when your kid comes home with a report card that's not --

ROMANS: That's right.

VELSHI: -- appropriate, are you mad because they didn't study, or are you worried that, Oh, my goodness, my kid's future just got flushed down the toilet because he didn't, you know, do the right thing math? Lynnette?

LYNNETTE KHALFANI-COX, ASKTHEMONEYCOACH.COM: That's right. And as a mom of three kids, I can attest to that because you're thinking, Oh, if they're not going to do well in school, does that mean they're not going to be able to get a good job, they're not going to have the economic and career advancement that we all want, you know? And so I think, at the end of the day, though, when it comes to sort of speaking money, it's true that all of us do to a certain degree speak money every single day. We pay our credit card bills. We fill up the gas tank. You know, we worry about the mortgage, et cetera, et cetera. But for a lot of people, they don't feel confident about their skills in a certain area.

VELSHI: Right.

KHALFANI-COX: It might be in investing space, long-term planning, insurance, whatever. And that's the sort of overwhelming feeling I think that a lot of Americans have.

ROMANS: But the thing about Ali and I, Jeff, is that Ali is the spender and I'm the saver. It physically pains me to spend too much money. Ali likes --

VELSHI: And it physically pains me to see how she saves it.

ROMANS: It's true, but -- it's true, but the thing is, is that he makes his money grow, and that's his goal. And mine is to make sure I have enough for three 529s and a retirement at the end for me. People are different. That doesn't mean that either of us is wrong.

JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: No, absolutely not. And the important thing in looking at what Lynnette is saying, when, as parents, we do have these differences, the yin and the yang -- we talked about this before -- I think it's so important that we model these behaviors for our children --

VELSHI: Right.

GARDERE: -- so that they do get a good balance of the parent who may want to risk more versus the one who may want to save more. And then they develop their own style. But as Louis says, when it comes to speaking about money, we all do it, but it's important that we do it in front of our children --

VELSHI: Right.

GARDERE: -- without making them crazy because we want to bring them into the culture of understanding what investment and saving is all about so that it becomes part of their lives.

VELSHI: We don't even do it in front of each other sometimes.


VELSHI: I mean, when you're intimidated by money -- Doug, you deal with people who -- I think they come to you as a financial planner because they think they've got money problems to solve -- debt, savings, investments -- when, in fact, they're not talking the same language -- they're not speaking money the same way to each other.

DOUG FLYNN, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER: Not at all. Oftentimes, they haven't really had those conversations together. And getting in the room and speaking about it is one of the first times they've actually laid it all out there. It's something really important to do, to understand where you're coming from, who is the saver, who's the spender. Typically, there is one or the other.

You can actually survive when you have two savers. It's very difficult to do that if you have two spenders. So it's an interesting dynamic. But you start to learn about what's important to both of you and work it out. It's just a matter of opening the communication, like anything else in your life, getting it out there and understand once you know that you can get on a path to make it happen.

KHALFANI-COX: But you know what I also often tell couples, who feel like they're financial opposites, you know? I think God played a cruel joke on most of us who are married to a certain extent to invariably pair up a saver with a spender, a splurger with an extreme hoarder.

It's really not the case that if you're financial opposites, your relationship is doomed and it's never going to work out or anything.

GARDERE: No, not at all.

KHALFANI-COX: You really can get on the same financial page, don't you agree, Jeff --


KHALFANI-COX: -- and it's a matter of the communication, like you said. When they come to you, it's the first time they've ever talked about it or whatever. But couples need to realize even if you have different money styles, different money personalities, once you start speaking money and assessing your joint goals, you can get on the same page together and make it work.

GARDERE: And it can be a compromise. You learn from one another, where you become less of a spender or less of a saver, where you try to find that balance. And you do need the pro and the con in this thing because you're not going anywhere because you're stuck in this whole idea, this climate of being comfortable --


GARDERE: I think that's part of why people are attracted to each other, that they offset each other a little bit, and it works really well. Those are some of the good things that can come out of it.

BARAJAS: Yes, but the problem is that for some people, financial planning, money is about a product. For other people, it's about a process. You're looking to create opportunities, what products are out there available for you. You're thinking, You know what? When I get to a certain age, I don't want to be stressed out. I don't want to live on the streets. I want to be financially comfortable. And even though you may have the same end result, you're going to approach it very differently.

VELSHI: Right. BARAJAS: And if you don't have a buy-in for each person, you're never going to reach the goal, especially if you've got a partner that's totally different and opposite, the yin-yang --

ROMANS: And the things have changed so much recently, too, because to be quite honest, there are a lot of people who were planning for the future who are now planning for the right now. And what I hope in the next 45, 50 minutes we can do is talk about even if you're planning for the right now, you are still putting a little bit away for the future because that's what the whole goal is for everyone.

VELSHI: So the whole point of speaking money, which you and I have learned from each other, is that if you kind of roughly speak the same language -- you know what the words are, you know the vocabulary --

ROMANS: Right.

VELSHI: Louis just said "buy-in." You can buy into the other person's approach. I don't actually have to take it from your approach and you don't have to take it from mine, but if I kind of get where you're coming from --

ROMANS: Right.

VELSHI: -- it makes it easier to understand.

ROMANS: And then you finally realize I'm right.


VELSHI: Many times over the last decade that has happened!

ROMANS: You know, we fight about money and we bet you do, as well. The difference -- we're going to do it on CNN right in front of you. One of us is an over-spender, one of us is an under-spender. Can you guess the answer and why it's so important to understand? And how to fix it -- fix him, next.


ROMANS: This won't be our last argument throughout this hour, but it's time to deal with a subject Ali hates, saving money.

VELSHI: Sort of.

ROMANS: I'm exaggerating. You like -- don't like to have your money sitting there, not doing anything.

VELSHI: Right. I can't imagine putting my money into a bank account where I saw a banner in the window of a bank in Chicago that says you can get 0.8 percent --

ROMANS: I think half --

VELSHI: -- by putting your money in a bank.

ROMANS: Half a percent is what you're getting from the bank, and that means you're getting nothing because inflation is more than that.

But me, I'm so afraid of risking money that I lose opportunities. So the point here is that we have to figure out what you want your money to do for you and how to get there.

VELSHI: Right.

ROMANS: That's budgeting and that's long-term financial -- you know, it's all that scary stuff --

VELSHI: It's a lot of stuff.

ROMANS: -- that people don't like to talk about.

VELSHI: Mostly --

ROMANS: What's your plan? What is your plan?

VELSHI: Mostly, in America these days, it's about debt. That causes people a lot of tension.


VELSHI: But we -- you can't just go into this willy-nilly.


VELSHI: You need a plan, and this is part of why we've written a book for this because we're responding to a lot of you who say, We need a plan.

Doug Flynn, and our great panel are with us. Doug, let's talk about retirements and budgets. How do people who haven't had this conversation -- by the way, this is whether you're a couple or you're just on your own.

FLYNN: Right.

VELSHI: How do you start the process? How do you start the conversation?

FLYNN: Yes, nobody really likes to budget, when you really get down to it. They don't want to really know how much they spend on gifts for each other and they don't -- they don't really (INAUDIBLE)

ROMANS: But it's like a diet. You don't keep track of every calorie, just like you don't like to keep track of every dollar because you don't want to know what's at the end of that calculation.

FLYNN: That's right. You really don't. And the unfortunate part is most people don't have enough money to do everything they want to do. There's only X amount of dollars at the end of the month. It's a good (ph) thing you have to start saving, obviously.

Once you save enough, then you can become an investor. That's the second part of this. But you have to know where is your money going to get the most out of it. But if you have enough money at the end of each month, you can start putting it towards the specific goals. And that's really, really important to do that.

Some people need help. If they can't find any money out of there, there's money being lost. You have to look at it.

ROMANS: A simple way to look at it -- 70/10/10/10. We've talked about this before. You live on 70 percent of your income. You save 10 percent, you invest 10 percent, and 10 percent, hopefully, you're able to give back somehow.

FLYNN: That's right.

ROMANS: That's your goal, 70/10/10/10.

FLYNN: And we do that with clients. We have a piggy bank we give them when they have a new baby that has the one big pig --

ROMANS: You gave one to me.

FLYNN: I gave one to you -- with 70 percent and there's three piggies with 10/10/10 just to start really early. Remember, your kids are looking at you. What are you doing, what are you not doing? That's where they're learning.

VELSHI: That's a point that Jeff made.

KHALFANI-COX: And this is a great lesson, too, for kids to understand about choices and what you can and should do with money.

VELSHI: Right.

KHALFANI-COX: After you earn money -- that's how you get it, by the way. You don't marry it. You don't inherit it. You don't win it in the lottery. If you really want to have, you know, sustainable security, financial security --

ROMANS: Right.

KHALFANI-COX: -- over a lifetime, you've got to earn it. Everybody has to work for a living.

VELSHI: Right.

KHALFANI-COX: After that, there's only four things can you do with money -- save it, spend it, invest it or donate it. I have a piggy bank like that for my kids, as well, with four different slots --

VELSHI: Right.

ROMANS: Right.

KHALFANI-COX: -- instead of the one little slot.


GARDERE: A real money coach!

BARAJAS: Yes, I don't think people are budgeting correctly, though, because we use -- but I just -- when I ask them what's their top value, then they'll tell me their marriage or their kids --

VELSHI: Right.

BARAJAS: -- or their wife. And I say, Where in your budget does this show that you're investing in your marriage? Where in your budget does it say that you're investing the self-esteem of your children? Where in your budget are you investing in yourself to get yourself more valuable for this global economy that we're in.

VELSHI: Right. Right.

BARAJAS: And you'll never see that on a budget --


BARAJAS: -- that 70/10/10. So there's a percentage that's missing for growth. Again, going back to that original --

VELSHI: Growth. Interesting.

BARAJAS: -- quality of life issues. That's the stuff -- and you'll never see it on a budget.


BARAJAS: And so I allow for that.

ROMANS: I want to bring in Lynnette quickly because she's going to inspire you for a minute. Before you can have a budget, and quite frankly, grow your wealth, you have to dig out of the debt you've already put together. And Lynnette dug out of $100,000 worth of debt, so she knows what she's talking about -- 100 grand!

KHALFANI-COX: I know. It's awful to admit, you know, but --

ROMANS: But you did it! But you did it!

KHALFANI-COX: That's correct. A decade ago, in 2001, I had $100,000 in credit card bills alone. It's awful. I know it, of course, now. I took three years. I paid it off. I never missed a single payment. And then I wrote a book about it, "Zero Debt" --

ROMANS: Right.

KHALFANI-COX: -- "The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom" to sort of explain exactly what I did. I knew that if I got out of $100,000 in credit card debt, the average person, average household who's carrying about $10,000 or so in debt, in credit card debt, they could do the same.

VELSHI: Most people -- right. That's right. Most people are not carrying -- most people have -- if they have a mortgage, they may have that kind of debt, but you've got a house against it. So that's remarkable that you could do that.

Jeff, let's bring you in because you are a clinical psychologist. You understand how people work on this stuff. And there are a couple points we want to bring up for people. And the first thing is you've got to have meaningful conversations with your partner about this.

Everybody here has said the same thing, that people don't come in and say, Hey, we've been talking about money for years with each other, and now we'd like your expertise. So you've got to initiate the conversation. You've got to take the initiative, even if somebody else isn't bringing it up because I think it's easy for two partners not to bring it up. You need to be honest --


VELSHI: -- about yourself and with your partner about your financial situation.

ROMANS: And your goals. And your goals, what you want your money to do for you. You have to be honest about that, too.

GARDERE: Exactly. And this conversation really is about the only thing that you have to fear is fear itself. Christine, you said this, you're afraid of what's at the end of perhaps not so much of that rainbow. And therefore, we get into this whole idea that if we don't talk about it, the issues will go away.

Well, you have to open it up. And it's really just taking the first step of just having the conversation and a series of conversations and being willing to take advice from one another, dealing with the good news, what may not be the bad news. But you know what the greatest news is? That you're actually addressing it. And that really is the very, very first step, the hardest step.

ROMANS: Part of my problem is that I speak money in such a way every day that I know that it costs $75,000 a year for a nursing home. That's with -- that's with a roommate.

VELSHI: Right.

ROMANS: I know that you need $250,000 out of pocket for medical expenses in 10 years of retirement. I know that I'm not saving enough for that. And my 529 plans --


ROMANS: -- and that makes me very nervous.

VELSHI: But you can see why it's not natural for people to want to have this conversation. But know it. Know it.


VELSHI: Better to know it and face it.

KHALFANI-COX: But you know what else? Even beyond the numbers and the seemingly scary statistics, look, there's a fundamental reason why most couples don't talk about money.


KHALFANI-COX: Some of them have fear of what they've done or failed to do.

VELSHI: Right.

KHALFANI-COX: They don't want to be judged. They don't want to say, Oh, you know what? Yes, I had bad credit in the past. Yes, I made financial mistakes. I racked up debt. I filed bankruptcy. I lost my home in foreclosure. I was unemployed, and the bills got out of hand. So people sometimes don't want to address issues because they feel like they're going to be personally judged --


KHALFANI-COX: -- or called on for having made certain mistakes.

VELSHI: We could talk about this for hours. Louis, you said something that I want to get to after the break. You talked about preparing yourself for a global economy. The language of money is entirely global today.

ROMANS: Right.

VELSHI: Whether you live here or in China or Germany or anywhere else, understanding this new world order of money and its effect on you is critical. We're going to explain in just a minute.

ROMANS: And make sure you get on Twitter to talk to both of us about how to speak money. If you have questions, tweet us @alvelshi and @christineromans, and we'll help you become fluent in the world's most important language, money.


VELSHI: All right, in order to speak money around the world, let's make sure we're all speaking the same language when it comes to this very important term "globalization." Now, this is a term that's come to mean a lot of things, but what it really describes is the growing number of people and nations with the access to the benefits of modernization, the ability to prosper, to get richer, to participate in this global economy.

Bottom line, when you're thinking about a job for yourself or your kids, you've got to think about careers that are either global in scope or give you access to this whole idea of globalization.

ROMANS: That's because this is the way the world is going. But the problem for Americans, Ali, is that how many people can go to China or go to India to get their next job? It's one of the pieces of advice you hear most often. We can argue forever about whether you should be going there, where the jobs are.

But I want to bring in Thomas Friedman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign affairs columnist for "The New York Times." Tom, one thing about globalization is it is changing the way the world works, faster than American workers' skills can change. And we hear a lot from experts on job placement that you should be sending your, you know, college graduate kid to China to get a job --

VELSHI: Or learning Chinese.

ROMANS: -- or to India. But my worry is the vast number of people in this country for whom that is just not even feasible in any scope. How do average families make globalization work for them?

TOM FRIEDMAN, AUTHOR, "THAT USED TO BE US": Well, I think the thing you have to understand is that globalization has its upsides and downsides. And our goal should be to cushion the worst and take advantage of the best.

What is the best? The best is the fact that if I just have the spark of an idea now -- if I just have the spark of an idea -- I can actually go to Delta (ph) in Taiwan. They'll design it for me, skip over to Hangzou (ph) and Ali Baba (ph) will give me a cheap Chinese manufacturer to make this, jump over to, Jeff Bezos at Amazon will actually do my fulfillment and delivery. will do my logo, and I can get an accountant on Craigslist.

In other words, you know, basically all of these are commodities now. They're actually available to everyone. Now, you might say we have a -- you know, mom and pop, you know, they can't really do that. You would be amazed at the number of people starting global companies overnight, OK, accessing a system now where my customers can be global, my suppliers can be global --

VELSHI: Right.

FRIEDMAN: -- and my collaborators can be global overnight. That's happening everywhere.

ROMANS: So is America's education system churning out people who are able to take advantage of globalization and advance their own family's well-being by that, or do we still have this disconnect with how fast the world is moving and how fast America is responding?

FRIEDMAN: Well, you know, we have both extremes, basically. We have a system that is producing the very people who are designing and driving the whole technological architecture of this new globalization platform. And we have people who are just so behind, they don't have a high school degree --

VELSHI: Right.

FRIEDMAN: -- and can't possibly access it --


FRIEDMAN: But Tom, let me ask you this, then. The bottom line is that -- look, let's take it back to education. We do know -- for those people who have lost jobs in manufacturing to what they call globalization, or as we argue sometimes, the advent of technology that would have eliminated some of those jobs anyway -- we do have opportunities for younger people.

I have countless CEOs tell me the best thing a kid can do either in college of after college is an internship in another country, where there's a different language, the able to learn that language. Can young Americans equip themselves for this new globalized world?

FRIEDMAN: There's no question. You know, first of all, let's understand one thing. If horses could vote, there never would have been cars, OK?


FRIEDMAN: So this technological churn is going to happen. It's just inevitable. The question is how you get the most out of it. And the way you get the most out of it is you've got to lean into this world.

You know, one of the pieces of advice I always give to people is think like a new immigrant. How does a new immigrant think? New immigrant thinks, I'm in this new country. There's no legacy place waiting for me at Harvard, OK? I've got to approach this world, first of all, by understanding where the opportunities are and make sure I pursue them with more energy and vigor than anyone else.

We are all new immigrants now to the hyperconnected world, and that's how you've got to lean into it.

ROMANS: And the big -- I mean, a big -- the big competition, of course, is China. And there's no question. I mean, there's this ongoing debate on whether China is a threat or an opportunity. Ali and I agree that it's both those things, depending on where you are in this country, as you point out, the two very extremes in this country.

So China -- how important is it that the United States deal with China in a sensitive way so that we don't have protectionism, so that we don't have these two countries at odds instead of, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says, rowing in the same boat in the same direction?

FRIEDMAN: Well, you know, we have to be very tough with them. They have undervalued currency, which takes jobs away from America, and they have very -- they fiddle a lot with trade laws in a way that force U.S. companies to transfer their intellectual property there. That's been going on for a long time.

But you know, all our strengths are really hiding in plain sight. We do have a free economy. We have a place where Google is not censored, where we imagine ideas. Look at Apple. Apple to me has always been the model. Imagine it here, design it here, OK? Orchestrate the global supply chain here, and then use China where you can for the assembly, the lower-skilled labor jobs, and is a huge market.

We need to do that -- or motto needs to be, Not always made in America, but Imagined in America, Orchestrated in America. That's where the high-value-added jobs are going to be. VELSHI: Tom, you're excited about it. I know you're a little troubled by some of the direction things are going, as well. So it's -- you're not sugarcoating it. These are challenges that we're in. But you are excited about it. So are we. Tom Friedman is the author of "That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back." Thanks, Tom. Good to talk with you. Christine, your view?

FRIEDMAN: A pleasure.

ROMANS: My view?

VELSHI: China.

ROMANS: China --

VELSHI: Threat or opportunity.

ROMANS: Both. Absolutely both. And how the U.S. manages its relationship with China is incredibly important for American families.

VELSHI: But you out there who run businesses or are deciding on your kids' education can do things, and we outline some of them in the book --

ROMANS: That's right.

VELSHI: -- that you can do very specifically to take advantage of this as it's happening.

ROMANS: Yes. All right. It's the battle of the sexes "How to Speak Money" edition. Women are increasingly controlling the money in the household. But I got an important message for all you women out there. It has to do with how you manage your money, and of course, how you manage money with the men in your lives. That's next.


ROMANS: OK, women earn less than men for the same jobs. One major problem -- women tend to ask for less money when negotiating a raise. This becomes an issue for some women. Not being aggressive in getting that raise can mean a big drop-off in salary and benefits for the future. And it's not necessarily trying to be more like men and be aggressive like them, but getting in there and advocating for yourself or having somebody advocate for you is really important.

VELSHI: I don't know whether you came up with this or someone told you about this, but I've always heard you say something about when -- when negotiating for salary, always ask for something that ends in a three.

ROMANS: Never give the number first and always end with a salary with a 3 because it gives a smile on your face, and if they say to you three? Why 53? Why 103? You say because I ended with a three, I'm smiling and I'm worth it. VELSHI: Men don't usually take that approach. They tend to be a lot more aggressive suggesting that they're worth a lot more than anyone ever suggested they're worth. They also invest more aggressively as well.

The bottom line, some of you may like this or some of you may not like this, and look, I think there's a valid argument here, but women and men often speak a different language when it comes to money. Don't take it from me.

Let's bring in Jeff Gardere. He's a clinical psychologist. First of all, do you believe that's true? We've seen studies that both the behaviors and outcomes are different for women and men when it comes to negotiating, when it comes to investing.

JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think it was true for many, many years. Now we're seeing that it's changing, especially when we look at unemployment rates and men have been affected by that more than women.

I think women now are taking more of an assertive approach, a smarter approach, but all of that goes around the socialization of our children. We socialize and it's changing, but we tend to socialize our daughters to be seen and not hear, and our boys to be heard and to be seen.

Therefore, women adopt that approach based on that upbringing, so do men, but I think all of that is being flipped upside down now, because women now have much more that they can bring to the table.

And we realize in many ways they are superior financially, in that they do take the time to think a lot more to the whole picture, because they're in the workplace, they're in the home, so therefore they can see more of that global, that bigger picture.

ROMANS: You talk about socializing. It's interesting, one of the experts we had in our book was so adamant about this point, sports might be a reason. Because men are negotiating for I'm going to be the first batter up, or I'm going to pick you to be on my team. And girls are tending to do different kinds of things that involve negotiating together and mutual --

VELSHI: What's good for the whole group.

ROMANS: Exactly.

GARDERE: Women, again, I'll make this very quick. Women, it's almost like a relationship. What do women go for in a relationship? They go for more security. They go for someone who has a deeper personal, more complex personality.

So what do men go for? Men go for the short term. What does she look like? What can I get out of it right now? That's the same way men tend to negotiate a lot of their jobs.

Give me the big money, I want it right now, instead of looking at the benefits are and how one can sustain one's self throughout a job with all of the benefits.

ROMANS: Not getting a $5,000 raise for a woman at the age of 22, is equal to about half a million, I think at least a half of million dollars over the course of a working lifetime.

So not going for the raise or not getting the raise or even for whatever reasons, I mean, many will say it's just simply women are paid less for lots of different reasons, including discrimination, that's real money. That's real money, Doug.

LYNNETTE KHALFANI-COX, ASKTHEMONEYCOACH.COM: I cannot tell you the number of women that I know who come to me who have been underpaid on the job, undervalued and scared to ask for a raise.

They feel like if I asked, you know, I don't want to seem like I'm tooting my own horn. They feel like I got this job offer, should I consider? What if they give the job offer away and give it to somebody else who's willing to make less money?

And so, we really do have to address the fundamental issue that many women, I'm not saying all and I'm not saying that this is exclusively a female problem, but many women definitely feel at a disadvantage at the bargaining table when it comes to the jobs.

DOUG FLYNN, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER: I will tell you. I've been working with clients for over 20 years, and unfortunately I have a lot of widows as clients as time has gone on. I found that the longer you work with somebody, a woman in particular, eventually they can be on the exact same plain as a man.

Once they crunch the numbers, as Jeff said, it may take more time to come around, but they absolutely can be exactly identical in terms of risk level and how they setup their portfolios. They don't come in that way, but just explaining it and showing what you need to do to get there, they're very smart obviously, and they can figure it out and they get right on the same plain.

GARDERE: That's why a lot of women are being unemployed less than men, because the men came in with those huge numbers, the big impact, a deep impact I called it, whereas the women were a little bit smarter in looking at more of a long-term picture. That's why guys are being laid off much quicker than women and women are staying employed.

VELSHI: All right, hold that thought for a second because the question now as we take you into the area of taking fuller control of your financial life is to buy or not to buy?

It's a question that many of you want answered. Whether we're talking about a house, do you buy or do you sell right now? Do you rent? We're going to get into all of that next on this special edition of YOUR MONEY, "How To Speak Money."


VELSHI: This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy a house.

ROMANS: You've been telling me that for a year.

VELSHI: Christine will tell me why I'm completely wrong, but I'm going to go first on this one because I've been saying it for so long that I figure I might as well just give you my argument.

Number one, you will never, never in your life see interest rates go as low as they have gone. They are as low as they've ever been historically. When you buy a house, most people think of the price. Most people say, you know, I think price is going to go down another 5 percent.

If you are like most Americans who buy a home with a mortgage, that might be 15 or 30 years, locking in a long-term mortgage at this low interest rate will be more valuable to you than whether or not your house goes up by 5 percent or 10 percent.

Now if you're buying it with cash, that part of the equation doesn't work, but the second thing is you look at these prices. Houses are more affordable. For all the bad side we've seen about this, the foreclosures and people who had to sell their houses, there are more available houses right now.

Not a quick fix. I'm not saying do this instead of investing in the stock market, do it instead of preparing your 401(k), but if you're looking for a place to live and you want to stay there for a long time, this might be the best time in history. ROMANS: And here's my counter, if you don't have money in the bank, you don't have a credit score of 720 and if you're worried about your near term expenses, you got to be very careful in the housing market right now.

It might be more important to repair your personal finances and rent for a couple years, even though rents are going up a little bit. But you need to make sure you don't take on too much house that you can afford, that your income stream there is good, and I'm actually an advocate of multi-generations moving in together.

I really think that this is going to be an important new wave of the future. The old idea of one household, one house, one or two working people in that house, that almost bankrupts people.

VELSHI: I don't have a bushel of kids, so having multi-generation would give you built-in babysitting.

ROMANS: I know I need my mother to come live with me. That's what I'm trying to do and then that would shorten all kinds of our costs, right. Robert Shiller is here. He's a professor of Economics at Yale University. Robert, help me out here, who is right, Ali or Christine?

ROBERT SHILLER, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, YALE UNIVERSITY: Well, I think it differs by person. Maybe that's what you were saying. It depends on your circumstance. Also, we just don't know.

You know, interest rates have been declining for 30 years, and they've reached an all-time low. So I don't know whether they're going to go up immediately or not. The consensus forecast seems to be that they'll go up a little bit, but it's not clear -- and we don't know what -- I hate to say this, nobody knows. I don't know. Nobody else knows either.

How could anyone know after the biggest bubble in history, after the near miss of a depression? It's fundamental uncertainty right now.

ROMANS: It's really a lost decade for housing, if you look at the wealth that's been lost at the housing market. I mean, people -- some people spent the money built up in their homes to send kids to college, to live a middle-class life, maybe even if things were getting tide tighter for them on the job front. Was that a mirage, all of that wealth in the housing market? Was it a mirage that is never coming back?

SHILLER: I think it's pretty clear it was a mirage, talking about say 2005 or 2006. Home surprises reached levels never seen before in U.S. history. It's not part of a long-term trend.

It was way beyond. It was a bubble. It was something that happened to our thinking that got us crazy. That doesn't mean we won't go back there. We could have another bubble, but it doesn't seem imminent to me right. Look at the situation, we're not about to embark on another housing boom, I don't think.

ROMANS: It doesn't feel like. it certainly doesn't feel like it.

VELSHI: It doesn't feel like that. But Robert, if you are making the decision whether or not to -- whether to buy or rent is often very personal. It's got to do with your circumstances.

If you don't know if you're going to be somewhere for a while or you may have to use the money from that house, but putting those things a side if it's not a matter of your own circumstance, buying versus renting, where do you fall on that right now?

SHILLER: Well, it's a lifestyle thing. Rental of properties are different. It's a matter of family situation. So I think -- you said it right. I think if I had a young family, I wanted to settle down.

I want to get into a good school system, I would - there are probably good bargains out there. I'm sure there are, and the mortgage rate might be at an all-time low, so I would say definitely do it, but don't do it in anticipation of a boom that's going to make you a lot of money. I don't know how many people are thinking that way. Some people I'm sure still are.

ROMANS: You know, Robert, it's interesting because you mentioned a good school district. I've also advocated in the book as well that if you need to rent to be in a good school district that might be very important for your family too.

Because we know that in education, a good education is also an investment in your family. So I feel as though that 1990s, 2000s everyone's got to have a house, everyone's got to have a house, it's really much more complicated than that now. SCHILLER: I remember in the early 2000s, a young woman told me she wasn't going to get an MBA because she had put so much money into a house. What a tragedy. What a mistake.

VELSHI: That's entirely the wrong decision.

SHILLER: Yes, human capital.

VELSHI: Human capital.

SHILLER: Human capital matters more, and your children matter more than your house. This idea that you have to have a big and beautiful house to impress people is way overrated. I mean, you can get on -- live in a modest apartment, right, and send your kids to a good school. That makes a lot more sense to me.

ROMANS: And you don't have to pay the $1,200 plumbing bill when something happens in the apartment. That's one of the other advantages. In the book, we profile a guy named Sander Clark, who quite frankly, he thought maybe -- he's a young guy, wants to maybe want to move to the west coast for his job.

He's not going to buy a place because he wouldn't to be able for his job. So there you go. Robert Shiller, very nice to see you, sir. Thank you so much.


ROMANS: So if you're a saver like me, you're pretty much getting burned. You're not getting any interest on your money. I'm going to tell you some ways to make money with your money.

VELSHI: Now she's finally listened to me and make sure to get on Twitter to talk to both of us about how to speak money. After you've read the book, if you have questions, tweet us at alivelshi and at christineromas. We will help you become fluent in the world's most important language, money.


ROMANS: Welcome back to the special edition of YOUR MONEY "How To Speak Money." Never before have savers been awarded so little for stashing their money in a bank account or CD. Is there any place to park your money and make a little interest to make a little money with your money from least risky to most risky, here's what it looks like.

There's your mattress, of course, it's the least risky, but it's a really bad idea. It's not guaranteed by the federal government, and it won't grow. In fact with inflation your money gets less valuable every year that you leave in here.

So what about a bank account? You know the answer to this. The pro is it's insured by the federal government in case the bank goes belly up, up to $250,000 per account. The con is you're not getting anything on in, about half a percent in interest. Unless you have a rocking online bank, you had a lot of money stashed in a jumbo checking account or you've combined your savings, your checking and your investment accounts, you aren't getting squat.

Your next option, slightly more risky, though, but with more potential for a reward, stocks with dividends. The company pays you interest on each share that you own. One example, Altria, the parent company of cigarette maker, Phillip Morris. It's going to pay 6 percent to hold it shares.

Other companies, Merck and Pfizer, they also pay dividends of almost 5 percent. Hundreds of companies do this, but to keep your risk low, stick with large cap, blue chip stocks with a history of raising dividends over several years.

Now with more risk comes more reward. How about high-yield exchange- traded futures or ETFs? It's another option. With these, you can pick a basket of stocks. These are some of the really most popular high-yielding ETFs from Wisdom Tree Vanguard and Standard and Poor's.

Finally, high-yield mutual funds. When you contribute money to a mutual fund, along with thousands of other small investors, a fund manager buy stocks with that money. These are often ranked by the fees and performance of the fund managers, PIMCO and Fidelity are some of the top ranked funds -- Ali.

VELSHI: It's very hard that the people who were the most responsible and worst savers and now in the light of this recession we've gone through, want to be the most responsible, will not be rewarded for that at all.

It's unfair, it's terrible, but it is the way it is. Doug Flynn, you have people that come to you with these questions. They say, I don't have the appetite for more risk. What do you tell them?

FLYNN: Well, it's a good point. I think part of it is, in the book, we have a detailed risk profile. I think that's something that deserves to be looked at. I think you might have more appetite than you think with goals that might be 20 or 30 years away.

Goals that you might have a year or two away, you shouldn't have anything to do with the stock market, but people tend to put everything in one big bucket and expect it to be the portfolio.

I'm going to get in the market. I'm going to get out of the market. If you separate into your goals, you can start thinking more like long-terms goals, I can be a little more aggressive with and maybe I'm comfortable.

I'm going to learn to become comfortable, but short-term things, savings and money I need tomorrow should have nothing to do with that. So I don't worry if the market goes down 20 percent.

So you have to start looking at it and thinking about it that way. That's the beginning of developing a portfolio, and getting comfortable with investing. Two bad things can happen to people when they start investing.

You either do really, really well or you do really, really poor. And if you do really well, you tend to take bigger and bigger bets until the whole things caves in or if you do really, really poorly like the people who invested in the last 10 years in the market, they've been burned. They haven't anything. They may shy away from investing for the rest of their lives. That's not going to do --

ROMANS: Interest rates are so low. They are so low and that's because the government is trying to spur. The fed is trying to spur economic activity.

VELSHI: Get people to borrow and they're trying to get people to take mortgages.

ROMANS: But if you're on a fixed income, you're not getting any money for your money. You're not getting rewarded for saving and that just really hurts a lot of people who don't have a big means.

LOUIS BARAJAS, AUTHOR, "LATINO JOURNEY TO FINANCIAL GREATNESS": It is, but you have to understand that most of the mistakes are not made on the interest rates they are made on behavioral mistakes.

For example, if we're talk about an older person who put money in. Let's move into high yield, they don't realize if interest rates start to go up their principle will fall.

Now they are getting the interests. They're getting the dividends, but the problem is they are looking at their statement at the end of the month and they lost $20,000. They get scared and pull the money out.

And they booked the loss. So what's happening is it's all based on emotion. We know (inaudible) that says that most people will earn a lot less in bond funds or stock funds because they get scared when the market goes down. They do have money underneath the mattress. I know a lot of people who have money in the mattress right now.

VELSHI: Let me ask you this, Doug has a practice where he deals with a lot of people they may not have talked to each other about money, but they generally have a little bit of level of sophistication about money.

You deal with a lot of people who this is their first foray into having a conversation with somebody about their finances. How do you approach this differently because generally speaking the less sophistication and experience and comfort you have with money, the more conservative you're likely to be.

KHALFANI-COX: That's right. You know, Lou, brought up a point earlier that I think is very relevant here. He said process versus products. That's one of the things that I tell people who are novices frankly to the stock market or the world of investing.

Do not worry about specific investment products, what's the hot stock of 2011 or 2012, what's the best mutual fund. That's the wrong focus. You should be thinking about the process of investing, which is simply in my view a five phase process.

Strategizing to meet your own personal goals and needs, buying the right investments, holding and monitoring the assets in your portfolio, selling in a judicious manner and a tax efficient way for the right reason with a sell discipline or sell strategy behind it and the fifth phase of investing process is working effectively with financial advisors, your CPA, your accountant.

BARAJAS: That's great advice but just remember they are conservative. I think this is where people get ripped off. This is where I think there are a lot of financial predators going on people saying you're giving 1 percent at the bank.

Put your money in this gold account right now. There are a lot of predators for the novices, people who are just starting to learn and you have to be --

ROMANS: For people who are afraid.

BARAJAS: Well, they don't have enough and so when you don't have enough, you want to win the lottery. All of a sudden they want to have nothing and make a lot of money the very next day. They get greedy, greed or fear and then they lose a lot of money. So you have to be very careful --

VELSHI: The strategy part of what Lynette says is good. I think we all agree. I guess, that's kind of our point. If you understand a little bit more about how to speak money, you will simply be less intimidated.

GARDERE: That's when you have to go basic. Educate yourself. Buy the book "How to Speak Money." You didn't pay me to say that. But the important thing is finance is not sexy and a lot of people will bypass that in the newspapers, the magazines.

Instead of reading vampire novels all the time like I do, go out and get yourself a book on finance and get educated and therefore, you'll be a little bit more into the comfort zone and understand --

ROMANS: I appreciate that. You know, I would add one thing that you speak money -- you speak the language slightly differently depending on your age and that's on your investments.

And depending on what you need that money to do for you. The language you're speaking or the way you hear money when you're 20 is different than at 40 and different than at 60. It has to be a conversation that's evolving throughout your working and your retirement years.

VELSHI: In the book, we have an entire chapter dedicated to be being just as a quiz for you so that this isn't a general conversation. This is something you go through it and you pick every one of those things and it tells you where you fall into that whole gauge. This is a great conversation.

We wish we can keep on talking to you. We hope it's been helpful to you. Jeff Gardere, our clinical psychologists. Thank you for joining us.

GARDERE: My pleasure.

VELSHI: Doug Flynn, a pleasure to see you, financial planner with Flynn Zito Capital Management, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, the founder of and Louis Barajas, a personal wealth adviser. Thanks to all of you for being with us.

Well, fights over money may be the leading cause of divorce in this country, but Christine and I made have made it through this book and this hour and we still want to work together.

ROMANS: Hypothetically speaking, we made together through the hour. You're right. Since you made it with this far with us, you should be a lot more confident we hope about your own financial situation.

Coming up, Ali and I will share one thing we feel you need you to make sure you know, what you learned when it comes to how to speak money.


VELSHI: You know throughout the process of writing this book, we came across a lot of people who really said that they were intimidated by the conversation. People who were smart in other areas of their lives, they're confident in other areas of their lives, in their business, their jobs, their professions, in politics and news.

But for some reason, when it came to money, it was more intimidating. Now I think the fact that I don't really know much about auto mechanics, but when something goes wrong with my car I know the root to take to get it done and to get it fixed.

That's the approach you have to take with money. If you do it, it becomes less intimidating. We just can't live under this rock where money is scary to us so we won't take charge of our own.

ROMANS: I think the most important takeaway for me on money and how to speak money is it's happening all around you. It's happening in politics. You're speaking money when you vote. You're speaking money every time you go to the grocery store and choosing the name brand over grocery store brand.

It's how you're choosing to push your children in what areas because we don't talk about this, science, technology, engineering math, these are really important growing areas of the economy. Is your family ready to position themselves for those things? Every kind of step you take is really speaking money whether you know you're doing it or not.

VELSHI: All this discussion about the election, it's all money as well. So these are all really important points. I guess, one of the other things we thought about is that people speak money differently. Sometimes they speak the same language, but they speak with different accents.

ROMANS: That's right. I mean, you and I speak money a little bit differently, but in the end, we come from the same place, which is that you need to live slightly below your means, right, to grow your wealth, to grow your wealth not for selfish reasons, but for comfort and a cushion.

VELSHI: Do it to protect your kids and your family and to help them be successful. Thank you for watching this special hour of YOUR MONEY, "How To Speak Money." The book available now online and of course, in your local bookstore.

ROMANS: We wrote the book for all of you out there. We want to hear what you think. We want you to ask us questions. Tell us how you're doing. Any great ideas you have about speaking money, you can tweet us @christineromans and @alivelshi. We're going to do our best to respond to each and every one of you.

VELSHI: You can see Christine on "YOUR BOTTOM LINE" every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, of course, and YOUR MONEY, here for you every Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Have a great weekend.