8 tips from Suze Orman that will give you total financial freedom

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“Today, we’re going to talk about fear,” personal finance expert Suze Orman said to an intimate audience of a few hundred people, mostly Millennial women, at the Mogul X conference in Queens, New York. “Fear and shame hold us back from wealth.”

Not only that, but as women, Orman warned, “Your tendency will be to give away the money that you make… your tendency will be to feel bad that you got the job but your best friend didn’t.”

But the point of money, she said, is to take care of you: “to make you feel secure.”

Orman encouraged attendees to stand up and voice their fears. One audience member said that her biggest fear was that she would make money, but leave everyone else she knew behind. Another said that her greatest money fear was that she would make a million dollars, but spend it all.

Orman instructed everyone to write out alternate narratives to their fears – and instructed them that from then on, they should write out that new vow 25 times before bed for six months.

And then, she promised a way forward: “The journey to financial freedom is this: You are going to live below your means but within your needs.”

Suze Orman’s tips

  • Tackle debt. (It’s the thing that “renders you the most powerless,” Orman said.) Make a payment schedule so you know when it will be finished. Or get on a free debt management program.
  • Get the 401K match if your job offers it. “You can’t turn down free money.”
  • Choose the Roth option for 401Ks or 403bs; always choose the aftertax contribution. While the money is in your account it will grow, and later on in life when you go to take it out it will be tax-free.
  • Choose the Standard Repayment Plan for your student loans. While the payments may be higher, if you can make it work, you can have your loan paid off in 10 years.
  • Orman now advocates private student loans, like from Sallie Mae, Discover, etc.
  • Save up your eight-month emergency fund. Save it in a Roth IRA, because you can take money out at any time without taxes or penalties. And if you don’t need that money and it grows, now you can start…
  • Investing. “The only money that should be invested in the stock market is money that you do not need for seven years or longer,” Orman said. One investing technique she recommends is dollar-cost averaging.
  • If you are buying life insurance. “The only type you should have is ‘term’ life insurance – good for a specific period of time.”

In the end, Orman said, “You define your money. Too many people undervalue themselves.”