What I Learned on “The Suze Orman Show” last night

by Karen on August 10, 2008

Suze Orman is my financial hero. I love her philosophies on money management because she focuses not only on money, but on the emotions surrounding our money. Too many financial advisers ignore the fact that money is one of the most emotional topics in our lives.

Suze believes that in order to make real progress in your finances and bring about real change, it’s important to address the fear, shame, and anger associated with your past financial decisions. Only then can you move on and start fresh. Otherwise, your financial demons will continue to haunt you.

If you’ve never seen her show or read one of her books, I recommend tuning in Saturday nights on CNBC or check out “The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom” or “The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke” from your library.

I learn a lot from every episode. Here’s a round up of the best tips from last night’s show for those of you who aren’t dorky enough to watch it faithfully every week. Happy Sunday!

• When interest rates are low, like now, do not lock in interest rates for long-term accounts. It’s better to keep even large amounts of money liquid in savings and money market accounts for now. When the market rebounds and interest rates start to rise again, then is the time to commit to long-term investments like CDs and bonds.

It seems like common sense, but I would probably be tempted to lock in a large amount of money at 5% instead of my 3% interest rate savings account to get the additional 2% interest. However, I’d be kicking myself 3 years later when rates rose to 7% or 8% and I was locked into a 5% CD for 10 years.

• When a spouse or partner is going behind your back and racking up thousands of dollars in credit card debt, your biggest problem isn’t the debt; it’s the deceit. If you don’t sort out the issues behind the overspending and deceit then it won’t matter if you pay off the debt because your partner is likely to rack up more.

As Suze says, in this day and age it’s often not, “Til death do you part; it’s til debt do you part.” I agree. Solid relationships are built on trust, and your finances are an essential part of that trust. Making sure you’re on the same financial page as your partner is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure the long-term success of your relationship.

• FDIC insurance only covers $100,000 per depositor per financial institution, so if you’re holding more than that in a traditional bank, split it up into different financial institutions to ensure that you’re protected.

• When it comes to investing, “It’s better to do nothing with your money than to do something you don’t understand.” Do your research before you do anything. Enough said

• When Suze denies or approves someone on the “Can I Afford it?” segment, she hits a pedal under her desk to control whether the “Approved” or “Denied” graphic comes up on the screen. Who knew?

• Suze would rather you invest the $60 a month you’re paying to watch her show on cable into your savings or retirement accounts. Really, she said that.

• Private student loans are evil. The lenders can set the interest rates as high as they want, and you can never get out of it. Not even if you file for bankruptcy. Do NOT take out private student loan debt. Not for you, not for your kids. Period. I have personal experience with this one. I wish someone had told the young, naïve 18-year-old me to stick with federal loans if any.

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