Clark Howard is a consumer advocate, entrepreneurial businessman, and educator in thrift. I’ve been a follower of his work for a dozen years or more, primarily through his daily radio show, The Clark Howard Show, on the web and on my local AM station, WEOL 930 in Elyria. Clark is also a regular on HLN (Headline News) and an established author. I know he’s both a travel agent and a landlord. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has other public enterprises that extend his brand.
When I’m in the car (or, less often, at home) between noon and 3 p.m., it’s Clark I’m listening to. I keep up with consumer tips and trends through his e-newsletter. The guy is not only an effective teacher, but an interesting character as well. He gets chided for a lack of healthy eating habits and for some extreme thriftiness, but it just makes him more human. His staff adds different dimensions to his work, and when the show’s staff writer contacted me for information about premarital counseling and financial issues, I was glad to share a few words. Now I feel part of the team!
I have at times shared with loved ones and parishioners things I’ve learned from Clark such as how to pay off multiple credit cards, how to “ladder” CDs for the best interest rates, and how to save on travel. When my Dad passed away and Mom was looking for solid financial advice, I shared information from Clark’s online Investment Guide.
In premarital or individual counseling, I’m not there to give financial advice, though I’m glad to pass along resources with those looking for help. For me, there are spiritual issues involved: when one is a good steward of resources, there’s more to share with the needy of the world. John Wesley, an English pastor and founder of the Methodist movement, said, “Having, first, gained all you can, and, secondly, saved all you can, then give all you can.” When I can save on the basics of daily living, I have the ability to be more generous in my charitable giving. I’d rather give more to a mission project in India (where I have first-hand knowledge of the needs) than to give it to a big corporation’s CEO and shareholders.
These days, I’m shopping for a new cellphone plan, and listening to Clark’s advice. I’ve also been considering a newer car and heeding Clark’s guidance on hybrids v. gasoline engines. Sometimes in listening I learn something new that directly saves me money or avoids a poor decision. Other times, it simply reinforces something I already knew.
So thanks, Clark, for your work on behalf of us all. I’m happy to pass some of that knowledge along.