The Wall Street Journal
K. Esther Szabo was a small child when the recession of the early 1970s sent her family's fortunes into a tailspin. Her father, an economist, struggled to find work, and her mother worried about paying the bills. The family eventually filed bankruptcy.
The tensions at home put a permanent mark on Ms. Szabo. To help her family, she started working at age 8, doing chores for neighbors, and has been working ever since. When a personal-finance class in college introduced her to the idea that calamities like the one that crippled her family could be avoided with careful planning, she found the idea "mind-blowing," she says. She now co-owns a Los Altos, Calif., financial-planning firm.
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