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Advice from Suze Orman: Live in Your Truth

April 8, 2011

Headline: Former Waitress is a Top Financial Advisor

Saturday nights I enjoy tuning in to CNBC to listen to people calling in to personal finance expert Suze Orman to see if they can afford something. It can be something as simple as an iPod or as complex as a $150,000 yacht or the original robot from the movie “Lost in Space.”

Suze’s success has all the makings of an all American success story. She overcame difficulties to become one of the leading financial experts of our time. She grew up with a speech impediment, which caused her great difficulty in school. She studied at the University of Illinois, but dropped out with only her foreign language requirement left. Her experience growing up had caused her to fear those classes.

She went on to work as a waitress for years, making $400 a month. Eventually she went back to college and finished her degree, but still kept her same job. She had a dream of starting her own restaurant, but when she asked her parents for a $20,000 loan to start the restaurant, they declined.

At the time this seemed like it was the end of Suze’s dream, but the patrons of the restaurant pooled their money and loaned her $50,000 to follow her dream. This was not quite enough to get started, so she gave her money to a broker for safe keeping. That broker took her money and invested in very risky options. At first, she made a lot of money, but eventually it all was lost.

This appeared to be the end of her dream, but instead of giving up, she went back to the same investment company and got a job. She learned everything she could about investing and the company. When she learned more about finances, she confirmed her early thoughts that her broker had acted unethical and sued the company for which she worked. She eventually settled with the company and was able to pay back all her original investors.

Suze’s experiences helped her go from being a waitress with a speech impediment to the superstar she is today. She has published a variety of books, the latest of which is “The Money Class: Learn to Create Your New American Dream.”

One of the major premises of the book is to stand in your truth. It is very easy for a person to lie to himself about his financial situation. When we are younger it is tempting to put things on credit, because we are told our income will continue to rise. When we are older, even though we may not enough saved for retirement, we believe our savings will last longer than it actually will.

Why is it so easy to lie to lie to ourselves about our financial situations? The answer, simply put, is that it makes today easier. It is easier to buy what we want today without thinking about how it will affect us tomorrow. It is easier to not contribute as much to our retirement account and treat ourselves well now. It is easier for people to avoid looking at the slow growth of their retirement account and the fast growth of their credit card debt.

Today, we like things immediately and we like it done easy. The unfortunate thing is that everything eventually catches up with us. Your easy decisions today may lead to losing your home, your marriage or your dignity in retirement.

Now is the time to be honest. What is your true financial situation? Are you saving enough for retirement? Are you lowering your debt? It is time to make some drastic lifestyle changes? Can you really afford that car or house? Is the current situation destroying your life?

Are you living in your truth? Now is gut-check time. It may make life a little more difficult today, but will pay huge dividends in the future. Even when you think it is too late, you still have a chance to improve your situation. This is shown to us by the example of the waitress who lost $50,000 of loaned money who went on to become the woman people across the country turn to, to help them answer the question everyone wants to know: “Can I afford it?”

 

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