I was in the library recently and Suze Orman’s newest personal money management book, “The Money Class: Learn to Create Your New American Dream” caught my attention. With the intriguing title, eye catching cover, I figured I would check it out. The book sat on my table for 3 weeks before I even picked it up, if that is any indication on how thrilled I am of Suze Orman. I respect her as an industry authority, but her mother knows best, condescending, uncompromising style annoys me. To top that off, my clients constantly misquoting something she said as the final authority, does not help either. Mind you, I own several of her other books, I just never been able to finish them.
I finally decided to read it and was pleasantly surprised. The Money Class is a teacher’s book and a master’s class. As a financial education teacher, and student of the industry, this is a textbook that you will want on your shelf as a reference. She unloads a wealth of information, with notes of wisdom.
The book is divided into 9 classes: The New American Dream, Stand In Your Own Truth, Family, Home, Career, Retirement Planning in your 20s/30s, Retirement Planning in your 40s/50s, Living in Retirement, and the Ultimate Lesson. The Money Class is an appropriate name; it is a textbook on personal finances for today’s reality She lays everything out clearly. The content is up to date and addresses today’s tough decisions like foreclosures, short sales, strategic defaults (walking away from an underwater mortgage), bankruptcy, and social security. I believe that you should be able to find yourself in the book somewhere.
What stood out most was Ms. Orman’s evolution. She is teaching and not telling. Instead of a bunch of hard fast industry rules, she presents the information in a way that puts the responsibility back on you to choose the right thing to do. It is not “one size fits all” cookie cutter advice, but acknowledges that everyone’s reality is different. I can sense the compassion that was birth out of the recession. I grew a bit tired of the buzz phrase, “stand in your truth”. But to her point, “There is no way to build sustainable dreams on a foundation of financial dishonesty”. Wise money management first begins with honesty.
Yes, the market crash of 2008 and the subsequent recession that followed ushered in an economic shift. We found out that the American Dream was a fantasy. What’s old is new again. It is back to the basics. The Money Class is timely and relevant for today. It can help you regroup, reset and move forward. Let go of the dream that no longer is and embrace YOUR new future. It’s the new normal.
Bonus: Suze Orman’s commentary on “the occupy wallstreet movement”at Huffingtonpost. “I Approve!”
The MoneyWise Teacher