One of the first personal finance books I ever picked up was Women & Money by Suze Orman. From that moment, I was hooked. Suze's words were the first that actually stuck with me. That book helped me realize that I couldn't rely on someone else to give me a lifestyle I wanted.
Over the years, I read a bunch of Suze Orman's books; I had to. I needed to learn more about personal finance, and hers were some of the first books out there that seemed understandable for someone who was still in high school.
These days, I'm a lot more financially stable than I used to be. Much of the reason for that was because of the advice I read from personal finance gurus like Suze Orman.
Want to learn some of her best bits of advice that have saved me over the years? Of course, you do. Here is what an avid reader (me) believes to be the best advice to follow from Suze Orman herself.
Don't blindly trust anyone with your finances.
Perhaps one of the best pieces of advice from Suze Orman is her advice against trusting others to make the best financial decisions on your behalf. She's the finance guru who warns others that the only person who will have your best interests at heart is you.
One of the worst investing mistakes people make is trusting a financial advisor to make the best decisions for them without asking for the rationale behind each choice they make. Financial advisors are paid on commission, which means that they will get paid more to send your money to companies that want it.
Too often, newly wealthy people learn this the hard way... after advisors fleece them out of millions in order to get a bigger paycheck.
"The biggest problem is when you do make it big and you don't know what to do with your money. Because then, what happens is some financial advisor is going to come by and give you a slick presentation, they're going to give you an elevator speech and a pitch, and you're going to take it. And you're going to lose everything that you have worked for." - Suze Orman
Paying off debt is an investment.
If there's one thing that Suze Orman really seems to hate, it's credit card debt. And, it's easy to see why. Credit card debt is extremely high interest debt, which in turn, takes a massive chunk out of your monthly budget.
Considering that Americans recently hit $1 trillion in credit card debt, it's safe to say that this is a serious problem in plenty of households. Orman often explains that it's best to pay off credit card debt—and that it can be an investment that pays off immensely later on.
Less credit card debt means more emergency savings, or just a fatter stock portfolio.
"Your goal should be to pay off your credit card bills in full at the end of each month and set aside money toward your emergency savings." - Suze Orman
Don't put your emergency savings in the stock market.
We all have heard about people who invested every penny they had and struck it rich as a result—but they are not the rule. Rather, they are the exception to the rule. The stock market is just too volatile to be counted on in the event of an emergency.
Should the stock market crash, the emergency savings you have will become worthless. That would be terrible to see happen if you needed to use them post-crash.
Most people agree that people should aim for 6 to 8 months' worth of salary in their emergency savings account. That being said, even having a spare $1000 lying around can make a huge difference.
"Never invest emergency savings in the stock market." - Suze Orman
If you want to invest in something, make sure you understand it thoroughly.
In one of her books, Suze explained how she had a broker try to sell her on a stock by telling her it had a "high beta." Suze replied, "What does that mean?" The broker admitted that he didn't know. That's pretty telling, isn't it?
One of the most common investing mistakes people make is not doing due diligence, or worse, not understanding the details about what they're investing in. If you don't understand a term, ask what it means.
No one gets to invest like Ray Dalio without being heavily educated. The more you know about the stock market and investing, the better investment choices you can make. Knowledge is power, and you need to empower yourself to understand your money.
For real, if you're looking for great advice to follow from Suze Orman, start with this. The more you ask questions about investing and how it'll affect you, the better.
"It's better to do nothing with your money than to do something you don't understand." - Suze Orman
Marriage is an investment.
Shocker, right? A lot of finance gurus are worried about killing the sacred cow that is marriage being about love, but not Suze. A lot of my favorite advice from Suze Orman's books involves the business aspect of marriage.
Many women who came from well-off families have ended up penniless because of a spouse with a spending habit. Divorce is pricey, too. Think about that.
"They got married, they got divorced, and half their money goes out the window." - Suze Orman
You need to do more than invest when you're preparing for retirement—especially when you have a family.
Retirement is a big issue that everyone needs to think about, and Suze Orman's advice columns have spoken about it at length. A lot of the best advice to follow from Suze Orman deals on how to prepare your family for your retirement as well as your mortality.
Orman is a huge fan of wills, living wills, and life insurance. Wills allow you to dictate what happens to your goods after you die. Living wills allow you to dictate what happens when you are in a coma. Life insurance is what will keep the family that's dependent on your income afloat after you die.
No one wants to be the person who's in their 40s and has to sheepishly admit they have no retirement plan. A little planning ahead can help. Smart stuff, right?
"Estate planning is an important and everlasting gift you can give your family. And setting up a smooth inheritance isn't as hard as you might think." - Suze Orman
Don't treat the symptoms of bad money management, treat the cause.
Most of us know when we have a money problem, even if we don't want to admit it. Even if we don't want to admit it, we know when we're not educated on a money subject or when we have a spending problem.
A person who doesn't take control of their financial situation and go after the root of their problems is a person who won't see their situation improve. This is true about investing, personal savings, and retirement.
She talks about this a lot in her 9 Steps to Financial Freedom book. If you're looking to actually get rid of debt and attack major financial issues, reading it is a great start.
“The only way you will ever permanently take control of your financial life is to dig deep and fix the root problem.” - Suze Orman
No is a powerful word.
We grow up in a society that often encourages people to be doormats. We are told that saying "no" is bad, or that we are being rude for saying it. It's okay to say no, especially when it comes to things that could impact your personal finances.
It's scary how many people have been badgered, browbeat, and bullied into decisions that go against their financial interests. Don't be the victim who does this mistake.
Saying "no" to bad suggestions is a way to show that you respect your own self-worth enough to say "yes" to the future you. It's okay to be assertive, even if people browbeat you over it.
“Lasting net worth comes only when you have a healthy and strong sense of self-worth.” - Suze Orman
Financial freedom isn't built in a day.
Just like with all good things, cleaning up your personal finances is not a single-day effort. Time is a huge factor in becoming rich, and so is sustained effort to trim your costs. Every day is a mini-battle to improve your bottom line and make more out of your situation.
If you're feeling discouraged, it's okay. Every day is a new day and as long as you keep at it, you will make a better future for yourself. If you ask me, there's no better advice to follow from Suze Orman than this. After all, it applies to everything.
“Time is a key to building your financial security." - Suze Orman