I became an Extension educator with Rutgers Cooperative Extension in New Jersey because I was in a 4-H club and understood (as a teenager) the life-changing programs that Cooperative Extension provides. I enjoyed teaching adult education personal finance classes and took courses to become a Certified Financial PlannerTM to have a “Plan B” career in case I did not get tenure at Rutgers University. I received tenure, however, and later pursued the AFC® and CHC® credentials from AFCPE to further solidify my knowledge and credibility as I began to specialize in personal finance programming. Later, I became an Extension Specialist and assumed statewide responsibility for financial education programs.
I enjoy improving people’s lives with personal financial knowledge (e.g., characteristics of index funds) and skills (e.g., how to read a mutual fund prospectus). I have “walked my talk” over three decades and it has served me well by helping me build wealth and avoid financial errors. Not everyone can improve their personal life with knowledge and skills from their professional life, but financial educators can. This is a big perk associated with our jobs. Personal finance is very “personal.” Changing lives with research-based information and evidence-based programs. That is #MyWhy. #IamAFCPE.
Dr. Barbara O’Neill, CFP®, AFC®, CHC®
Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management, Rutgers Cooperative Extension