Monday, April 6, 2015

The Suze Orman Show Financial Forevers: A fan's takeaways (Part I)

Confession: I have been a huge fan of the Suze Orman show for nearly a decade.

I cannot tell you exactly when I came across the show or Suze Orman herself but I do remember her feeding my passion for personal finance education. I consider myself lucky that I was able to "find" her wisdom in my very early 20s. Her tips and advise (in conjunction with many other resources I've immersed in from a young age) helped shape my financial wisdom and development going forward.

After 13 years, her very last show aired this past Saturday March 28th. I am not ashamed to say this saddened me and  that I looked forward to her shows each and every Saturday. I will greatly miss it. You may or may not have seen my random tweets from time to time where I shared my obsession with the show:

So, anyways, the purpose of this post is to share her "financial forevers" advise which she emphasized during the last month of her show. As she explained, these are personal finance tips that will not change or wont be changing any time soon and people should keep in mind at all times in order to lead a financially-healthy life (and prevent getting in to trouble). It'll be interesting to look back at this post 10 years from now and see if anything has changed. Here you have it [in order of importance]:

5. Never, ever buy whole life insurance. Specially if a "sales person" tries to portray this purchase as an "investment". Insurance and investments are two completely different things. If one must buy some kind of life insurance; term insurance is a much better idea.

Bonus: When putting money away for education purposes, a 529 plan is the way to go. Do not let anyone convince you that putting money in an universal, whole life, or variable life insurance package is a good idea. Stay away from that.

4. Never buy a variable annuity, specially within a retirement account. You'll have to die before you get back your money. If you must choose, go for a no load mutual fund instead.

3. Never, ever take out a loan from a 401K/retirement account unless you qualify to take it out for retirement purposes only.  Money in a  retirement account is fully protected against bankruptcy. Hence, if anything of the sort happens, at least you can rest assured you'll still have that retirement cushion stocked away.

2. Never co-sign any kind of loan for anyone (car loan, student loan, etc). If a bank or financial institution refuses to lend someone money without the need of a co-signer as a form of guarantee- that alone should be a red flag.

1. Never go in to default, deferment or forbearance when it comes to student loan payments. The most important payment out of all your bills should be your student loan. Even if you have to pay your very minimum each month find a way to do so. Remember- a $25k loan can easily turn in to $50K, $80K, and beyond if ignored. In addition, student loans are not forgivable in bankruptcy. Work towards paying it off. Research ways to tackle it.

This is it for Part I. In Part II i'll share the remaining tips I've learned from this financially-fierce women through the years.

I understand Suze has a huge following but also tons of people that didn't really agree with her. Hence, I'm curious...

Were you a fan of the Suze Orman show? Why or why not?