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I'm A CHO And You Can Be Too

I am the knower of things. 

When my husband suspiciously asks how I know some tidbit of pop culture, I usually say that to him.

I am the knower of things, honey! I'm with it! 

The implicit joke is that I know nothing when it comes to pop culture. Can someone please explain this hashtag to me??

But I am in fact the knower of things and I have knowledge to share. I know how to be a good technology reporter and since going freelance in 2011, I know how to be a really good Chief Home Officer. I am now ready to embrace this roll and proudly call people like me a CHO. I am the knower of how to be a really great CHO! 

What is a CHO? I know it sounds kind of rude so get your giggling out about the acronym so we can discuss. I'll wait....

Okay then. A CHO is a term marketers use for the person in the household who makes the financial decisions. I would like to expand. A CHO is something at least one person in your household must be. It has nothing to do with cooking or cleaning. It has to do with rocking your home finances like the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. That's what I do. I am the Chief Home Officer of Morris Family Inc. and I use the lessons I've learned in business school to track, predict, and manage our financial lives. 

I love doing this. I'm really good at it. I want to help other families be good at this too. 

Managing online bill pay is not enough. Checking in on every so often is not enough. Someone in your house needs to know the entire financial picture and plan for the future. Someone needs to keep the books. If that someone is you, keep reading. If that someone is your spouse, text them the link to this post

I was a CHO before I had a family. If you're single you have to be your own CHO because no one is going to do it for you. You must have a handle on your own finances. There is no other way to be! 

As for families, what is one of the top reasons couples fight? Money. Duh. Why? Usually that happens when there is a lack of communication and common goals. This can be avoided with a good CHO. 

I'm not saying that my husband and I haven't had fights about money. Oh we have! My husband is Mr Spendy Spend on things that I do not agree with. He wants to eat out WAY too often. He comes up with home improvement projects that are $$$$$!!!!!#$%#$^%%$&#%^#!@! 

Early in our marriage I would kind of freak out about these extravagances. I would attack him personally. I try not to do that any more. Instead, I sit him down with my spreadsheets and explain how we can (or cannot) make those choices work and then we make a decision collectively. This way is better, trust me. 

I have been to business school. I have read copious personal finance books. I have worked for CNBC for over 3 years. I know about personal finance. I am the knower of things! I'm ready to share those things! 

What are your CHO questions? I am going to make an effort to write about this topic regularly here on my personal blog. Please contact me in any form or fashion and I'll address your home finance issues. Together we are going to ROCK our personal finances so that no bill catches us off guard, no blood is drawn over money in our families, and no financial goals slip through our fingers. Because we're CHOs dammit! 


Working At The White House

Well it's not every day a girl like me gets to moderate a discussion panel at the White House with the Vice President and Director of Domestic Policy Counsel! I got to do just that this week and it was VERY exciting for me! You can find the video on this landing page or watch the YouTube video embedded below.

I made the mistake of reading the comments on the White House's YouTube page. Note to self: ignore the asshats who propose my skirt is too short. It's a below-the-knee skirt! And to the person who asks why they let a 16 year-old host this, thanks!! 


Working For The Mouse

Last summer I was offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to host videos for Disney Cruise Line. I was apprehensive about the assignment since it was so different than anything I have ever done but in hindsight, it was an amazing learning experience and a career highlight!

Enjoy the fruits of my labor below! 


An introduction to Disney Cruise to Alaska

Top Five Family Activities on a Disney Ship


Top Five Things for Kids to do on a Disney Ship

Top Five Things for Adults to do on a Disney Ship

Highlights from the port of Juneau 

Highlights from the port of Skagway

Highlights from the port of Ketchikan

Top Five Things to do in Juneau

Top Five Things to do in Ketchikan

Top Five Things to do in Skagway



Letting Go Of My Peanuts

Friday, April 29 will be my last day at CBS Interactive and CNET.

I joined CNET in January of 2008, six months before the network was acquired by CBS. I moved from San Francisco to New York City for this position with much trepidation. I was alone and inexperienced. Little did I know that this job would afford me invaluable TV experience, as well as lead me to my precious family.

I am proud of the work I have done here and proud of the friends, colleagues, and viewers that I've met. If you are reading this blog, you are probably one of those people and I am grateful for you.

So what is next for me? I am hoping the answer is "A lot!" I have a few irons in the fire but no big announcements as of yet.

So why leave? The simple answer is that it is time. I have been hosting a daily technology news show for over 4 years, if you consider that Loaded is an extension of my previous show, Textra. I love this show but I am ready to challenge myself in new ways. Please allow me to put it allegorically.

I once read a story about how people in India used to catch monkeys. They put peanuts in a jar that was nailed to the floor. When the monkey walked by, it would reach in for the peanuts and be trapped because its hand could not come out of the jar while it was full of peanuts. The monkey did not realize that it would be free if it just let go of the peanuts.

The peanuts are a metaphor for the things in our lives that we cling to. We all hold onto things that entrap us. It could be a job that you are a little too comfortable with, a friend that drains your energy, anger, or resentment. In my case, CNET represents my peanuts and those peanuts are hard to let go of because I am comfortable here. I love it here. I am proud to be a part of this team. Nevertheless, I feel that it is time to see what else my career has to offer and I'll never do that while I cling desperately to these peanuts.

I hope you will continue to follow my career. I will keep you abreast of upcoming projects on this site and on Twitter. Meanwhile, thank you for your continued support and interest. I hope you will stick with me as I let go of my peanuts.


The Journalist Formerly Known As Del Conte

Maybe I am more famous than I thought because I keep getting this response when I tell people that I am changing my last name:

"Oh but you're keeping Del Conte on air, right?"

Who am I, Madonna? Do I need a stage name and a real name? I'm not an entertainer, I'm just a reporter. If people want to follow my career, they will hopefully remember my name, right?

I never thought I would change my name but I surprised myself when I married a wonderful man four weeks ago and actually wanted to take his name. We became a family this summer when our little boy was born. He was an unexpected surprise and I did not want to get married just because I was pregnant. There are many ways to raise a child in these modern times and I felt strongly that a forced, unhappy marriage would not be the best environment for my baby. I wanted us to wait and decide to get married if and when the time was right because we loved each other. Not because we are forever bound to one another's lives due to the child. In the end, we married because we wanted to solidify to one another that we are a committed team and a family.

I have accomplished a lot under the surname Del Conte so I was hesitant to change my name. I felt like it was my brand. My identity. I was afraid that I would have to start all over again with a new name and I'm sure there will be some confusion.

I considered keeping Del Conte for professional use and Morris for personal use but that started to get confusing. Will my paychecks go to Morris but my email address will be Del Conte? Will my driver's license say Del Conte-Morris? What about registering for conferences? Will my badge say Morris but publicly I am Del Conte? It all was a little too much to manage and in the end, I decided that I am just not important enough for two names. And if I kept my name professionally, who would I be keeping it for? TV producers? Viewers? Twitter followers? I don't think those are the right reasons. 

So I am now legally and professionally Natali Morris. It isn't as "romance language" as my maiden name but it is romantic in a different way. It says that I am part of the family called Morris, which includes my husband and my baby boy. It is meaningful to me and that is saying something because I usually hate ceremony, ritual, tradition, pomp, and circumstance of any kind. Weddings embarrass me. I revolt against diamonds. And I really don't want to lie to my child about Santa Clause's nonexistence. Yet I wanted to have the same name as my husband and son.

I feel myself justifying the name change a little when people show surprise that I would leave behind a beautiful name like Del Conte. Why am I explaining myself? Why can't I just say, "It's Morris now" - end of story? Has women's liberation made us ashamed of old world tradition?

I am not advocating that married women change their name. To each her own. I think it is a beautiful thing to take on your husband's name and I think it is a beautiful thing to keep the name of the family you were born into. I am only sharing my choice so that I can stand up for it once and for all. It's Morris now. I am proud of that.