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Chris Schmitz

Chris Schmitz ’08 graduated with degrees in both economics and business administration. Among his other activities at St. Norbert, the Appleton native enjoyed playing guitar in bands like Eric Lives Here and Mighty Putty. Chris also played, and now is an assistant coach for, the Green Knight tennis team.

March 2009

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Blogging through the financial fog

The name – – may not sit well with an English major, but Chris Schmitz ’08 did not set out to make a statement about grammar.

He did set out to help make sense of financial statements.

Schmitz’s couple-of-months-old blog takes its slightly offbeat name from the financial term, behavioral finance. But that’s about the only foreign-sounding phrase you’ll read on his personal finance blog. The general confusion about finances among ordinary people is what inspired Schmitz to combine his love for web design and for personal finance. The result was his Behave Your Finance blog, which the economics and business graduate updates about three times a week.

Ironically, it wasn’t money that drove Schmitz to create a blog to help people meet their financial goals and make sense of finances. Instead, it was hearing repeated statements from fellow students and others about “not having a clue of where to begin” when it came to organizing their personal finances or investing. “Everyone knows it’s a good idea, but has no idea where to start,” Schmitz says.

Schmitz was already reading financial blogs and publications and figured he could “stay sharp” on the topic after graduating in December by establishing his own blog. “I thought this was a good way to share information and to show some initiative to a potential employer,” says Schmitz, who is on the job hunt. “I want to help people since I want to do financial planning in my future [career].”

His enthusiasm is evident; it’s hard to believe Schmitz didn’t know he wanted to pursue a financial planning career until he took an economics class. “I really enjoyed it and kept going because I loved [the classes],” he says. “I know that if I can just get some people saving and investing now, they’ll have time on their side.”

To keep the topic approachable, Schmitz focuses on core concepts anyone can read and understand without knowing “the lingo,” as well as the basics of investing. He also takes his cue from news headlines, explaining what happened, what led up to it, and what will and won’t work to fix the problem.

Not surprisingly, the numbers are on his side. The site gets more than 100 hits a day from all over the U.S., and is increasing exponentially. Some of that has happened because Schmitz submits articles to, and comments on, other blogs. “I just got an offer to write a guest post on Get Rich Slowly, one of the most popular finance blogs in the U.S.,” he says. “That will be great exposure.”

Schmitz aspires to become an assistant to a financial advisor, which he sees as the ideal training ground, and then move on to become a full-fledged financial advisor himself. He counts John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, as one of his inspirations.

“I think the blog is a great tool for showing that I know what I’m talking about,” he says. “I’m in it because I want to legitimately help people.”

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