Money Matters: Lessons I Learned from Suze Orman

Financial Literacy Month - Suze Orman

After my recent shopping spree at Target (thankfully, those are rare these days), and since it is financial literacy month, I thought a post about personal finance was in order.

You’ve probably heard that on average, women are paid less than men. But did you know that in 2014, women were paid only 79% of men’s wages? Or that only 42% of women versus 44% of men feel comfortable asking for a raise? Why is it that when it comes to money, women don’t know their worth?

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from Suze Orman. I began watching her show and reading her books in 2009, when I graduated from college. I knew little about money: how to handle it, what to do with it once I got it, and how to make it grow. I incorrectly assumed that I needed to be some kind of mathematical whiz (which if you know me, I am not) or hold a Ph.D. to manage my money.

Fortunately, Ms. Orman set me straight. For the last seven years, I’ve kept her principles in mind when dealing with my money.

Here are some favorite quotes from the money guru herself, which will show that you, too, can manage your money wisely.

“It’s impossible to map out a route to your destination if you don’t know where you’re starting from.”

This was me as a recent college graduate. I felt overwhelmed with all of the money matters I was suddenly responsible for (and supposed to know all about). When I mentioned my fears to a colleague, also a recent graduate, she told me I needed to read a book by Suze Orman. The next day, Suze’s book entitled Women & Money landed on my desk. It was a page-turner — filled with terms I had never heard before.

The Takeaway: Keep learning! It’s okay not to know about money, but don’t use it as an excuse to lose control of your own financial destination. Today there are great resources out there that can help educate you, from LearnVest to Ms. Orman.

“Success is not about how many zeros your bank account has. It’s about making the most of the life you have.”

Do you ever say to yourself, “I would be so happy if I made more money?” Or look at friends and wonder how they are driving a nice BMW, or how they afforded their first house? It’s easy to diminish your own accomplishments because your peers seem better off. But the truth is, success isn’t measured by what’s in your bank account. What matters is how you feel about what you do. Do you love your job at a non-profit because you feel like you are making a difference? Sure, you may make more money in the private sector, but don’t undervalue your happiness and overvalue the dollar signs in your bank account.

“To enjoy a long, comfortable retirement, save more today.”

When you’re in your twenties, you seldom think of saving for a rainy day. But one tip I learned from Suze is that you must derive more pleasure from saving money than spending it. Ever since I landed my first job I always made sure to save a little from each paycheck. Whether you can afford $10, $50, or $100 a month, something is better than nothing. The earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow.

I could go on and on about all that I have learned from Suze Orman (I miss her weekly Saturday night show!). But the most important lesson is that women should feel comfortable talking about money, learning how to handle money, and becoming successful in managing their finances.

How did you learn about money?



  1. This is such a great topic for discussion and I’m so glad you brought this up, Vanessa, as it’s very seldom talked about amongst us women! I’ve never heard of Suze Orman before, but I’ve taken a financial management class by Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace University, and learnt SO much from him. It’s great to find those who have such a wealth of knowledge, no pun intended 😉 and learn from them, but not only that, begin practicing what they’ve shared and see the results unfold in our own lives! It’s such an awesome feeling, especially when it comes to saving! I’ll have to check out this book, thanks so much for sharing and I hope you have a wonderful day, beauty!



    1. Thanks, Jalisa! It is such an important topic, and I learned a lot from Suze Orman over the years. I highly recommend checking out some of her books! Thanks for sharing about that course you took. I would love to take something like that in the future to increase my financial literacy.

  2. Very essential tips! I think above all, what’s most important is what you said about not letting your lack of knowledge keep you from learning…everyone starts the learning process somewhere! I learned about finances by basically reading online articles about whatever was particular to my situation; e.g. when I was buying my first car I remember spending hours reading about all the aspects of car-buying and things to know/avoid, how to get a loan, etc by googling and reading msn money and yahoo articles. Same when I was ready to apply for my first credit card. I didn’t necessarily have knowledge on these subjects but I knew they were important so I made an effort to gather information before making decisions and I’m proud that because of this, today my husband and I are in a great place financially and debt-free other than our mortgage — no car payments, no student loans, no revolving credit card debt — and it’s definitely because I made informed decisions from the moment I was in control of my/our finances. I love that you’re bringing a light to this and opening up the conversation for other women!

    1. Thank, Tristan! And congrats on all of the steps you’ve taken to become a financially savvy consumer. I agree — there are so many helpful finance articles online. I did the same when I was applying for my first credit card, and wanted to learn more about which one would be best for me. Life is all about learning, and knowing how to manage your finances is critical!

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