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Mellody Hobson talks money, movies and Chicago

November 26, 2009 5:47:00 PM PST
Chicago's own Mellody Hobson is one of the nation's best known personal finance experts. She's part of the Good Morning America team, and president of Ariel Investments. She is also a proud Chicagoan who loves movies and also helps steer one of Hollywood's biggest studios.

ABC7's Hosea Sanders spent some time with Mellody at a Siskel Film Center event, talking about the money crunch, movies, and her hometown.

"Definitely Chicago is seeing the real effects of the economic trauma we've all gone through. From walking up and down Michigan Avenue and seeing the stores, to the real effect on the rank and file, to the recent layoffs," Hobson said.

This city produced two of the most high profile money-mavens: Hobson and Suze Orman.

"I think there's something definitely to Midwestern values, and I think the ideas of living basic, saving, investing, those are themes that when you grow up in the Midwest, you hear that advice over and over again. As our society has evolved, especially going to a cashless society, with people using credit cards and debit cards for most things, we're starting to lose the connection to money in terms of the idea that it's finite. That we can't stretch and live beyond what we've got," Hobson said.

Hobson was a devoted movie fan even before she got involved with her constant companion, iconic filmmaker George Lucas. She is proud of her hometown's contributions to the cinematic world.

"There's no one in the movies in Chicago that you think of besides Siskel and Ebert, and obviously those two names are names known around the world," Hobson said. "I'm on the board of Dreamworks Animation, and we make movies like Madagascar and Shrek. The movie business is at an interesting crossroads. On the one hand, the tickets are way, way up. People are going to the movies; they want to be with other people during these times, that's clear. But at the same time DVD sales are down."

But the lure of other options, for business or for pleasure, will never take her away from our town for long.

"I would say that there's a lot of optimism in Chicago. I love the fact that in Chicago we have the tagline, 'The City that Works,' and that is something that I think just speaks volumes to all the possibilities that are only sort of brewing. ?I would never live anywhere but Chicago. There's no place I'd rather be, no place," Hobson said.


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