April 8, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Navigating the Financial Journey of Modern Orthodox 20s

Gabe, Josh (panelist), Zack and Ahuva Greenberg. (Credit: SJ Tannenbaum/Courtesy of Sy Syms School of Business and Yeshiva University Office of Alumni Affairs)

For Modern Orthodox Jews, navigating finances in your 20s can be intimidating. Common expensive endeavors of this cohort include taking out student loans, landing their first job and allocating investments, losing health insurance coverage through their parents’ plan, starting a family, and buying their first car and house. Each of these pursuits requires extensive research and financial planning so that every young adult can make sound decisions based on their personal circumstances.

At 26 years old, I constantly find myself facing financial inquiries. Luckily, on January 31, I had the opportunity to attend “Financial Planning in Your 20s,” an eye-opening joint event between the Yeshiva University Office of Alumni Affairs, Young Alumni Council and Sy Syms School of Business, where attendees had the opportunity to initiate discussions regarding their general monetary concerns with experienced panelists.

Conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan and ranked among the major accounting and consulting firms worldwide, Grant Thornton was the perfect venue for the event. Emerging from the elevator on the ninth floor and venturing through the double glass doors into the main hall, I sensed a sophisticated and vibrant ambiance. The faculty greeted all 75 guests and directed us to tables where we could pick up our name tags and YU paraphernalia, including kippot and magnets, and also submit questions for the panelists.

During the first hour of the event, participants were encouraged to eat and socialize. The room contained recreational games such as ping pong, foosball and arcade-style basketball. Beverages including soda, alcohol and water were offered, and Chinese food, sushi rolls and salad were served.

Tami Radinsky (panelist) (Credit: SJ Tannenbaum/Courtesy of Sy Syms School of Business and Yeshiva University Office of Alumni Affairs)

 

Approximately an hour after the commencement of the event, it was time for the panel to begin and we moved into a large room off to the side. The panelists were introduced by Josh Saltzman, partner at Grant Thornton and YU alumni. The moderator was Michael Strauss, the associate dean of Sy Syms School of Business and former executive vice president of travel related services at American Express. On the panel was Tami Radinsky, YU alumni (’00), current partner and national healthcare audit leader at Grant Thornton, and former director at PwC. Another member of the panel was Elie Borger, J.D., YU alumnus (’97) and current principal of Borger Financial Services. Lastly, my father-in-law, Joshua Greenberg, Queens College graduate (’95) and owner of JAG Business Solutions was also a panelist.

For the next hour or so, Saltzman walked around with a microphone, handing it to different participants who took turns asking questions. Many topics surfaced, but I will highlight several of my key takeaways from the forum:

Don’t compare yourself to the people around you and the vacations that they take or the sizes of their homes. At the end of the day, it’s not your salary that matters, but it’s about what you save after paying all of your expenses, and that will look different for everyone.

Run your finances as if you have a corporation to stay on top of the amount of income you are bringing in so you can discern how much to spend and save. To ensure that your assets exceed your liabilities, create a P&L (profit and loss statement).

Josh Saltzman introducing the panelists.
(Credit: SJ Tannenbaum/Courtesy of Sy Syms School of Business and Yeshiva University Office of Alumni Affairs)

 

Be financially responsible. To stay on top of your finances, make sure you are considering plans for the next five to 10 years. If you are planning to have children soon, make sure you and your significant other are backed up by life insurance so that you have something to fall back on in case anything were to happen to one of you, God forbid. If you think you may need to seek yeshiva tuition assistance, don’t spend on extravagant vacations, and keep a modest home.

Teams are more successful than individuals, so if you are married, partner with your spouse when it comes to financial planning and ensure that both of you are involved in the finances.

Whether you choose to work at a Jewish or non-Jewish organization, mentorship is what matters. Therefore, wherever you work, focus on gaining a direct supervisor whom you respect, is menschlich, and willing to train, teach and guide you.

In closing, we heard remarks from the YU Young Alumni Council presidents Chayim Mahgerefteh, YU alumnus (’20); and Abigail Lerman, YU alumna (’22). Then we returned to the main hall for a dessert of cookies and more socializing. I am grateful to have had the privilege of experiencing a fun and educational evening with my peers, and I look forward to the next YU alumni event. Below are three upcoming events:

Back to Beis: On President’s Day, Feb. 19, the Undergraduate Torah Studies Program will host a Dor L’Dor learning program for men at the Glueck Beit Midrash on the Wilf Campus.

Yom Iyun, Come Learn at Stern: On Sunday, Feb. 25, the Office of Torah & Spiritual Life and the Office of Alumni Affairs will host a yom iyun from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Beren Campus. Open to all alumnae of YU and mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts of current Stern College students.

Suicide Prevention and Resiliency: For all alumni in mental health field, including psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors, therapists, rabbis and chaplains—6 p.m. on Thursday April 4, at Wilf Campus, Weissberg Commons.

Elie Borger (panelist) chatting with participants. (Credit: SJ Tannenbaum/Courtesy of Sy Syms School of Business and Yeshiva University Office of Alumni Affairs)

 

To receive updates regarding future events run by The Yeshiva University Office of Alumni Affairs, follow them on Facebook (Yeshiva University Alumni Affairs) and Instagram (YU Office of Alumni Affairs).


Ahuva Greenberg grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and lives in Teaneck, New Jersey with her husband, Zack. Professionally, she is a benefits specialist at IPG Mediabrands. Ahuva recently visited Disney World and enjoyed the new “Moana” exhibit, “Journey of Water,” in EPCOT. Ahuva runs an Instagram page where she posts about her and Zack’s fun adventures, so make sure you are following @funzacktivities!

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