NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Money has no conscience. It depends on yours. -- Valerie Coleman Morris
You may recognize her from CNN; she was a business anchor for them. We caught up with Valerie Coleman Morris, financial literacy advocate, to check on the state of the union's financial affairs.
Financial intelligence is the 21st century emancipation. If you are financially intelligent, that is your freedom, Morris says.
Morris, the author of It's Your Money, So Take It Personally encourages people to learn how to save, grow and invest. She specializes in helping people improve their "money intelligence" and wants people to know that money has consequences. She said that the goal of her book is to make sure that people secure their own financial lives and avoid passing on debt -- and the things that cause debt -- to the next generation.
Here are some key points to her message:
- If you are single, do not wait until you find the person of your dreams; build your own financial life first. Then look forward to building a healthy financial life together with someone.
- If you are engaged, learn whether you are marrying a spender or a saver. Know how financially responsible your partner is beforehand. "When it comes to money and couples, you can talk about it now, or fight about it later. Money is the No. 1 cause of divorce," she says.
- Women -- especially African American women, who on average earn less money than men and women of other races doing the same job -- must create a wealth-building mindset. This is a mindset that women can share with their family. Having a financially responsible life can create generations of financially responsible people.
- Be honest with yourself. Are you in control of your money, or is you money in control of you? If you are already in control of your money, learn how to stay in control.
"I want people to understand that they can have a new relationship with money," says the author.
Readers of It's Your Money, So Take It Personally, have called it a "spending prophylactic." Before you spend any money, Morris' messages will tend to come back to you.
No matter where you are in life -- whether you have done a good job with your money or you acknowledge that you have done a horrible job; whether you are just 18 and starting out, or near the finish line of daily work, say in your 60s -- Morris says it is never too late (or too early) to get a financial life.
Check out the video above to see what else Valerie has to say about getting your financial life in order.