Today, I spoke to Kimberly Palmer, who is the author of Generation Earn, and is a Senior Editor for US News & World Report. I’ve spoken to Kimberly before back in late 2008, so I figured I’d catch up with her again. In this interview, she talks about how your financial life impacts your career, and how young professionals can save money.

How does your financial life impact your career?

Your money and your career are completely interconnected – not just in the obvious way because your job is what puts money in the bank, but because if you are on top of your finances, then you can invest in ways that help take your career to the next level. You can work with a coach who helps you become a better leader, or sign up for classes that help you transition into a new field. Most importantly, if your financial life is running smoothly, then it frees up your time and energy to focus on your career dreams.

In your new book, Generation Earn, how can a young professional manage their life, career, and also give back?

It starts with dreaming big and then taking small steps until you get there. It’s completely possible to start building financial wealth, an ambitious career, the family life you want, and also to give back, even if it’s a gradual process. For example, we all make decisions every day about the clothes we buy or the food we eat, and with a little research you can make sure those decisions align with your bigger values. Eventually you might work up to donating to a charity or even starting your own nonprofit, but today, you can start with an environmentally-friendly lunch.

Which career paths might cost a young professional a lot of money?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is going to school for something that you actually don’t want to do. Not only do you waste your time, but also lots of money, especially if you took out student loans. That’s one of the big myths about student loans being “good” debt – it’s only good if the degree actually helps you advance your career.

Is it wise to have multiple jobs going on at once?

It’s essential! Earning money from multiple sources is the only way to give yourself any job security today. Even if you have a side-gig that earns you just a few hundred dollars a month (or a year), it gives you a cushion in case your main job suddenly disappears. It also lets you explore talents and interests that your main job might not cover.

What is your best advice for saving money, while being employed?

Save one out of every three dollars you earn. That might sound crazy, and at times (such as shortly after graduating, or having a baby), it’s impossible. But saving that much, which includes money for retirement, long-term goals, and emergencies, is the only way to create financial security over time.

Kimberly Palmer
is the author of Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back. She is a senior editor for the print and online Money & Business section of the U.S.News & World Report. She is the author of the personal finance blog Alpha Consumer on, and weekly on-air guest on WTOP-FM, the top news talk radio station in Washington, D.C. She has written about trends in the credit card industry, personal finance, consumerism, retail trends, creativity in the workplace, working mothers, and paying for college. Palmer has been interviewed on Court TV’s Star Jones, C-SPAN, FOX Business Network, KTTV FOX 11 (FOX News Los Angeles), MSNBC’s News Live,and Retirement Living TV’s Daily Café, as well as major metro radio stations.