Finance expert Farnoosh Torabi offers career advice at HUB appearance

Farnoosh Torabi leads a glamorous journalism career. The best-selling author has appeared on big-time shows Good Morning America, the TODAY Show and Larry King Live. She’s contributed to national glossies Glamour, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan. But here’s one thing you might not expect:

Her 2002 Penn State degree was in finance.

Torabi, who was featured in Valley’s Fall 2011 issue, returned to speak at her alma mater last night in the HUB Auditorium. She discussed her unusual path from finance to journalism and how she combined the two subjects as a financial-advice writer and TV personality. She also shared her practical money pointers for students.

Couldn’t make it last night? We have some of her tips here:

Debt is debt.

We often refer to student loan debt as “good debt.” And while investing in your education is worthwhile, it’s still debt! When making decisions about how much to take on, follow this rule: The college debt you accumulate should be no greater than half your expected first-year salary.

Get a job.

“I know that’s easier said than done,” Torabi admits. But even if your parents pay for your tuition, earning your own money makes you more independent. For Torabi, that meant financing a semester abroad in Paris and buying Christmas presents for her family and friends.

Choose roommates wisely.

One student in the audience asked how to approach a roommate about late rent payments. You can avoid that problem by simply being smart about who you live with. But if you still find yourself in this tricky situation, be polite but assertive. And if he or she really can’t pay up, offer to help the person find another place to live. Sure, you’re friends, but “when it comes to money, it’s business,” Torabi says. In the end, everyone gets kicked out when the rent isn’t paid in full.

Be high performance and low maintenance.

Even in a job-slashing economy, people who perform well without any drama don’t get fired. Be calm, polite and a hard worker — your boss will thank you later.

Torabi is the author of “Psych Yourself Rich.” Follow her on Twitter at @Farnoosh.

Photo courtesy of Farnoosh Torabi