Denise, an early reader of The Difference
Denise, center, in cap and gown


Occupation: Full-time community college instructor

Personal life: Married with one very busy 14-year-old daughter

Biggest financial concerns: With exception of the significant reduction in the value of our savings and investments, my husband and I have been able to weather the upheaval in the current economic climate. That said, we do not take for granted how lucky we have been so far. Therefore, we have chosen to be more aggressive in tackling our finances.

Both my husband and I had to borrow heavily to pay for our undergraduate and graduate school education. Even with that debt, we have been able to live comfortably within our means, which includes paying our bills on time. Since our daughter will be leaving for college in four years, in addition to paying off our student loan debt, we want to pay off our credit card debt and build our liquid savings.

Lessons learned from The Difference: Long-term financial prosperity is not just about the money. Making small changes, such as exercising regularly, contributes to developing financial security. Like changing eating habits, my husband and I are making small, incremental changes in our financial behaviors that are easy to incorporate into our lifestyle.

Favorite chapter from The Difference: "Ding, Dong, Your Passion Is Calling" was my favorite chapter in The Difference. Although I love my job, it had always been my intent to get a PhD to increase my scholarly engagement inmy field. Since pursuing a PhD is not an option right now, I am taking the advice from Barry Schwartz via The Difference and applying the "Good Enough" principle to my professional life by becoming actively involved in professional organizations related to my field.