Our book review is on “Women and Money”, by Suze Orman.
Suze Orman is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting personalities in the world of financial advisors. As an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author, Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), television personality, and single woman, she is a force to be reckoned with. Given the nature of her business, Orman continually meets people seeking her financial advice, and has found that, even in this era, women continue to be woefully uninformed and remain hands-off when it comes to their own finances. Orman decided to take steps to change this and published her eighth book, the bestselling Women & Money, in 2007.
Women & Money takes a look at why women either don’t know about, or hand over control of, their finances. It then explains the key points that every woman needs to know about their money, and provides easy to follow instructions for taking control of one’s financial destiny. This is accomplished through eight chapters, outlined as follows:
Chapter 1: For Women Only serves as an explanation of why Orman felt the need to write this particular book, and introduces her recommended course of action, which she calls “The Save Yourself Plan.”
Chapter 2: Imagine What’s Possible takes a look at the dysfunctional relationships that women frequently have with money, and explains that in order to have a successful financial future, women must address their relationship with money like they would any other damaged relationship that they wished to save: acknowledge their mistakes, take responsibility, and resolve to alter the bad behaviors to make the relationship change for the better.
In Chapter 3: No Shame, No Blame, Orman reminds the reader that embarrassment and/or ignorance are little excuse for financial ineptitude, and tells her own story about how she went from being a waitress making $400 per month to being a successful broker with Merrill Lynch.
Chapter 4: You are Not on Sale addresses the tendency we women have to undervalue ourselves and how it applies to women as employees, business owners, homemakers, service providers, volunteers, etc. This chapter also advises women to raise their expectations and negotiate compensation to reflect their worth.
With the first four chapters delving into the internal and external forces that make women feel powerless when it comes to money matters, Chapter 5: The 8 Qualities of a Wealthy Woman really begins to show the reader where to go. The eight qualities Orman presents as qualities of wealthy women are harmony, balance, courage, generosity, happiness, wisdom, cleanliness and beauty. These may sound somewhat arbitrary, but Orman provides definitions for each quality and explains how these traits lend themselves to the creation of wealth.
In Chapter 6: The Save Yourself Plan, Orman gives a more thorough outline of her plan, which focuses on the core foundations of personal finance that every woman must know and practice, then gets down to business by breaking the plan down into five one-month increments . Each month features thorough explanations of the ideas or products that Orman is introducing, and has a detailed, step-by-step plan at the end of the sub-chapter to help the reader set up the system that she needs in place.
- Month One: Checking and Savings Accounts
- Month Two: Credit Cards and FICO Credit Scores
- Month Three: Retirement Investing
- Month Four: Must-Have Documents
- Month Five: Protecting Your Family and Home
- Beyond the Plan: Knowledge = Power = Control
Chapter 7: The Commitments asks the reader to evaluate all of her committed relationships and how those relationships fit with her financial future. Do those relationships need some rework? Every relationship you have can have an impact on your financial security. This chapter also features key advice for selecting a financial advisor.
Chapter 8: Say Your Name is the final chapter, in which Orman challenges the reader to remember the eight characteristics of a wealthy woman and to identify herself by her full name — not as Mrs. So-and-so, not by her job title, not as someone’s mother, etc., but by her own full preferred name, a sum of her parts.
One of the great things about Suze Orman is that she doesn’t just give the reader advice and then throw them to the wolves. She offers backup support and several helpful tools via her website, such as spending worksheets, money saving tips, savings and retirement calculators, tips for boosting your FICO score, and many others. Her website also features information about investment products that she doesn’t discuss heavily in the book, so that as her readers grow, they can advance to other methods of saving and investing. Growth of financial wisdom is, after all, the purpose of Women & Money.