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Procrastination. Confusion. Intimidation.

New York Times science writer John Schwartz was confident writing about infrastructure, rockets, and climate change but when it came to his personal finances, he just couldn’t face it.

How can we be so smart in life but willingly turn a blind eye to our money lives? Actually it’s pretty easy to put things off. Until you can’t.

John Schwartz, author of “This is the Year I Put My Financial In Order,” has been through it all: High interest credit card debt, foreclosure, career volatility, and putting two kids through college.

He knows what it’s like to be forced to eat a $2 lunch because that’s all that’s in the budget. He didn’t want to face his retirement fears. Can we blame him?

But from tough times comes a lot of great practical lessons. John has emerged intact and talks to me about facing up to it. We talk making a will, life insurance, real estate nightmares, and how to get ahead when you feel like you’ve been behind your whole life.

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