Carrie Schwab Pomerantz

This week, Carrie interviews Farnoosh Torabi, CBS MoneyWatch columnist and author of "Psych Yourself Rich: Get the Mindset and Discipline You Need to Build Your Financial Life" (FT Press: 2010).

CARRIE: Farnoosh, you've written a great book for young adults. Can you briefly explain why the proper mindset is so crucial for a young person who is just starting to build their financial life?

FARNOOSH: I think it's easy, as a young adult, to get emotionally overwhelmed, especially now with so much economic uncertainty. Many are graduating from college with heaps of student loan and credit card debt and entering an extremely competitive job market. Many are being forced to move back home with mom and dad (not so fun). Others are barely making ends meet on their own, given stagnant starting salaries.

In short, being a young professional today can be quite an emotional drain. That's where "Psych Yourself" enters the picture. It teaches us that while life has its setbacks, it also has its opportunities. Before you reach for your financial calculator, you need to get control of your emotions, think strategically, and commit to your goals.

CARRIE: You talk about why it's crucial for all of us to be our own financial advocates. Can you explain why this is important -- and what it involves?

FARNOOSH: If you're like me, you accept that no one cares more about your money and your financial livelihood than you do. And you see why it's so critical to be your own financial advocate, protecting your assets and making the most educated decisions. This is especially critical for a young adult new to being completely on his or her own.

When you're just starting out, it's easy to feel intimidated by the financial world. We often feel insecure about calling up our lenders or walking into our boss's office to discuss a raise. But if you don't ask for these things, no one will do it for you. You'll learn (quickly) that there's not a lot of handholding in the real world. You'll be expected to make a lot of decisions -- from picking your health care options to your 401(k) investment allocations.

My advice: To earn your independence, speak up, ask questions and be heard. From your student loan officers to your landlord, human resources manager, doctor and bank agent, ask questions and follow up.

CARRIE: The title of your book is pretty bold. Tell us what you mean by "rich"? Are you talking about achieving a certain dollar amount, a certain life style, or something else?


Carrie Schwab Pomerantz

Carrie Schwab Pomerantz is a Motley Fool contributor.

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