The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

Ron Lieber

The Alumnus who Will Save You Money
Photo credit: The Parker Weekly

Born in Chicago, Ron Lieber is the former writer of the “Green Thumb” managing-your-money column for the “Wall Street Journal” and the current writer of the financial column “Your Money” for the “New York Times.” From the “Your Money” Column he became the recipient of three Gerald Loeb Awards, all for Personal Finance business journalism. Lieber attended the full 14 years at Parker where he then went on to earn his B.A. in American Studies at Amherst College and moved to Brooklyn, NY. 

Growing up in the city, Lieber is the oldest of three. He has a brother and sister who are twins. As they got older and Lieber was entering high school, while he was finishing up eighth grade things started to change. His parents separated, and right at the beginning of the process his father also lost his job. This put the Liebers in a tight space. 

It was 10 or 15 years until my family was back economically to where it had been before. The school rallied round my brother, and my sister and I were sort of seamlessly brought into the financial aid system at the school. It was incredible the way they treated us. There was never any question that the Liebher kids were going to leave Parker.” Lieber said this in a video series he recorded for Avenues The World School

Still going to Parker, Lieber and his family were worried about continuing to pay for his high school education and scared of being evicted for their lack of ability to pay over time. Thankfully, the Board of Trustees presented them with the amazing opportunity to continue attending Parker with full financial aid. 

Continuing to grow up and learn, he entered his senior year, and it was time to begin college applications. Not having enough money to apply to the schools he wanted to attend, his college counselor at the time, John McClintock, had the connections and knew the name of a guy in Evanston who knew how to help. This man ended up being the Assistant Dean of Financial Aid at Northwestern University and helped families learn to understand financial aid and how the system works after hours. He charged Lieber around one hundred dollars for an hour of his time, and it paid off. A few months passed and Lieber finished his applications, got into Amherst early admission, and received good financial aid. 

In an interview author Cindy McDonald held, Lieber said, “There was a system out there, multiple complex systems. And there were always grown-ups around who could help you if you’ve just found them and maybe slipped a little cash across the table to them.” Lieber said,  “it’s probably not a big surprise that I grew up to be a personal finance journalist.”

As a personal finance journalist, Lieber wants to ensure that parents and their kids know how to handle their money correctly and with care for college. His book, “The Price You Pay For College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make” was published in 2021. 

Lieber was able to leave college with just under ten thousand dollars in student loan debt, which was a little more than average at the time. All of this was an important  learning experience for him.

In 2002 Lieber was looking for a job as a journalist when the “Wall Street Journal” presented him with the opportunity to be a part of the launch of the consumer news section of the paper. 

Those editors said to me there, what they saw in me that I had never seen in myself before. They said Ron, what you don’t understand is that your beat at this newspaper is going to be the beat that you’ve had all along in life and you’ve just never realized it. Your beat here at the ‘Wall Street Journal’ is going to be beating the system, whatever the system is, that’s going to be your job.” This stuck with Lieber, and he ran with it through all his experiences.

After his time with the WSJ Lieber helped start FiLife in 2007 as the managing editor. A year later, Lieber left FiLife to join “The New York” Times as a financial columnist, a dream job.

Lieber has written six books including The Price You Pay For College and The Opposite Of Spoiled where he speaks about Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money. He is married to fellow NYT journalist Jodi Kantor whose work covers the workplace, technology, and gender. Kantor has written two books, “She Said” and “The Obamas.” 

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About the Contributor
Chloe Deutsch
Chloe Deutsch, Culture Critic & Brief Writer
Chloe Deutsch is a sophomore who is so excited to be this year's culture critic and one of your brief writers! This is her second year working with "The Weekly" after being a staff writer. When she isn't writing, you can find her scrolling on Pinterest, reading a book, or hanging out with friends.