Suze Orman‘s Top 10 Money Tips for Women
by CNBC Staff
Thursday, October 29, 2009
When it comes to women and finance, sometimes there’s a disconnect between what women know and how they act, their ability as achiever and their financial underachieving, and between the power they have within reach and the powerlessness that rules their actions.
Financial expert Suze Orman gives her list of the top 10 money tips for women to follow:
1. Listen to Your Gut
Women are compassionate toward those in need. Instead of going with their gut, they sometimes overlook the obvious and make an emotional money mistake. “A friend, relative, loved one will approach you saying, ‘I need to borrow $5,000.’ You’ll think ‘I don’t want to’ and yet you say ‘OK,'” Suze explains. So, think twice before you say yes if your gut is saying no.
2. NEVER Co-Sign for ANYONE
If a friend or family member asks for you to co-sign on a loan, it’s probably best to say no. Suze says more often than not, the borrower will default or pay late and you risk losing money or lowering your credit score because as the co-signer, you are ultimately responsible for the loan. Say no out of love, not out of fear.
3. Save Yourself First
If you don’t have enough to save for your child’s college fund and your retirement, your retirement takes precedence.
As explained in Suze’s book “Women & Money,” women think they are actually helping their children by paying for their college or wedding. It’s a myth. You help your children by saving yourself first. If you retire without ample money to support yourself, you will become a financial burden to your children. There are plenty of loans for college, but there are no loans for retirement.
4. Don’t Hand Over Finances to Your Husband or Partner
Suze says women often hand over their family financial matters to their partner because they are either scared, lazy or following an old-fashioned role.
Being in control of your financial destiny requires that you be an active participant — not just by paying bills, but in overseeing your investments, too. Suze: “Take this step and I think you will be surprised how this helps your relationship.”
5. Don’t Put Yourself on Sale
Don’t treat yourself like you’re on sale. If you’re reluctant to put a real value on what you do, then it diminishes who you are. As Suze explains, women tend to devalue what they do.
This creates a vicious cycle: “When you devalue what you do, it becomes inevitable that you — and those around you — devalue who you are.” Women will settle for less. They may offer discounted prices on their services or accept a smaller raise, even when the company is doing well. They have to ask for what they know is “right.”
6. Protect Your Assets: Get a Pre-Nuptial Agreement
The basic rule is that you are jointly entitled to assets accrued during a marriage and you are on the hook for debts accrued during the marriage. Anything you bring into the marriage is not automatically shared. Protect your assets.
7. No Blame, No Shame
Two of the heaviest weights women carry (invisible twin obstacles of the past) are the burden of shame and the tendency to blame. Suze explains: “If you don’t feel confident in your knowledge of how money works, you hide behind the shame of it, deferring decisions to others or staying stuck in a pattern of inaction. You blame society, your parents, your husband/partner or all of the above. Blame renders you powerless and shame only serves to hold you back.” You have to go and find out about personal finance for yourself.
8. Take Care of Your Money
Women nurture people and things that are important to them. So take care of your money the way you do your husband/partner, family, friends, pets, plants and clothes. Cherish money like all of the other irreplaceable items in your life. Find wise investments, save and don’t throw it away on meaningless things.
9. Don’t Make Your Underage Children Life-Insurance Beneficiaries — It’s a No-No!
Life insurance companies will not make a payout to children under 18 years of age. Suze suggests you create a trust account and name the trust as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy.
10. Own the Power to Control Your Own Destiny
Give to yourself as much as you give of yourself. Power comes from who you are, not what you have, and the transformation starts with how you allow others to treat you. Do what’s right, rather than what’s easy.
Suze says, “Remember to muster up your courage and silence your fear … keep your eye on the goal, on what you really want to accomplish, no matter what anyone says or does to deter you. Just keep moving forward.”