About


I am a full-time freelancer based in Anchorage, Alaska. For seven years I wrote blog posts and personal finance columns for MSN Money; during a couple of those years I also was a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly. After Microsoft fired all its writers on Sept. 11 (could they have chosen a better day, maybe?), I got a job writing for Money Talks News. In my spare time I write for women’s magazines and occasionally for personal finance websites.

Surviving and Thriving is my playground for words, and a place to express ideas that don’t fit anywhere else.

I spent 18 years of my life as a full-time newspaper journalist (Anchorage Daily News, Chicago Tribune) and freelanced for a wide variety of publications — everything from Quail Unlimited to the New York Times Review of Books.

My writing has won regional and national awards, including prizes from the Association of Women in Communications, the National College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of American Travel Writers and the Women’s Sports Foundation.

I went to college for one year, 1976-77, and then started back up in autumn 2005. In December 2009 I earned a degree in the Comparative History of Ideas (B.A., magna cum laude) from the University of Washington in Seattle, where I was a Mary Gates Scholar.

Originally I am from rural New Jersey. That is not a typo.

I’m a member of American Mensa, but people are much more impressed by the fact that I was a contestant on “Jeopardy!” back in 1991.

I’m mom to Abigail Perry, who blogs about personal finance and disability issues at I Pick Up Pennies. She makes me proud.

For more of my backstory, see “Why I’m writing, and why you should read it” and “The life I once led.”