Women and Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny

Women and Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny

by Suze Orman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812981315
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/05/2010
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 69,561
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Suze Orman is a two time emmy award winner and the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers: Women & Money, The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom; The Courage to Be Rich; The Road to Wealth; The Laws of Money, The Lessons of Life; and The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke. The host of "The Suze Orman Show" which airs every Saturday Night on CNBC has garnered her more GRACIE awards than anyone in the 32 year history of that award which honors women in radio and television, Named in 2007 by Business week as the top female motivational speaker in the United States and in 2008 by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world Suze is also a contributing editor to O, The Oprah Magazine and The Costco Connection. Suze's name has become synonymous with money and is undeniably the most listened to personal finance expert in America today.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

For Women Only

I never thought I’d write a book about money just for women. I never thought it was necessary. So then why am I doing just that in my eighth book? And why now? Let me explain.

All my previous books were written with the belief that gender is not a factor on any level in mastering the nuts and bolts of smart financial management. Women can invest, save, and handle debt just as well and skillfully as any man. I still believe that–why would anyone think differently?

So imagine my surprise when I learned that some of the people closest to me in my life were in the dark about their own finances. Clueless. Or, in some cases, willfully resisting doing what they knew needed to be done. I’m talking about smart, competent, accomplished women who present a face to the world that is pure confidence and capability. Do you mean to tell me that I, Suze Orman, who make my living solving the financial problems of total strangers, couldn’t spot the trouble brewing so close to home? I don’t think I’m blind; I just think that these women became very, very good at hiding their troubles from me. Why not? They had years of practice hiding them from themselves.

Frankly, I was shocked. It was a real reckoning. It began with a friend, a very high-powered businesswoman who handles millions and millions of dollars a year, who refused to sign will and trust documents I’d helped her to prepare. I can’t tell you why, but those papers sat on her desk for three years—she clearly had some kind of block that prevented her from simply signing her name and having the documents notarized. Even as I write, she has still not completed them. Then another friend, a woman with some amazing professional credits under her belt, broke down and confessed that she had rung up such staggering bills over the years that she was too terrified to tell anyone and had no idea how to pay them off. Not long after, I heard from yet another friend who finally woke up to the fact that her employer was paying her significantly less than every other executive of comparable rank in her company. Her division was one of the most profitable and consistent earners for the company, but still she just accepted the minimal increases her boss would hand her every year at review time. And even now, out of some misguided loyalty, she was reluctant to leave the employer that took advantage of her year after year.

What was going on here?

Upon further investigation, I learned that so many women in my life–friends, acquaintances, readers, people from my TV audience—all had this stumbling block in common: an “unknown factor” that prevented them from doing the right thing with their money. Maybe it was fear of the unknown for some; maybe for others it was a little streak of rebellion for holding it together in every other part of their lives; or maybe it was just that they felt that things had gotten so far out of hand, they were embarrassed to ask for help and reveal just how much they didn’t know.

Women have been thrust into an entirely new relationship with money that is profoundly different from anything we have ever encountered before. The shifting roles of women at home and at work have dramatically changed where and how money interacts with a woman’s life. Yet what I see is that while women have established or expanded their roles and relationships, when it comes to navigating the financial ramifications of this new world, they are using old maps that don’t get them where they really want and need to go.

It doesn’t matter if I am in a room full of business executives or stay-at-home moms, I find the core problem to be universal: When it comes to making decisions with money, you refuse to own your power, to act in your best interest. It is not a question of intelligence; you absolutely have what it takes to understand what you should be doing. But you simply won’t bring yourself to take care of yourself financially, especially if those actions compete with taking care of those you love. Your inner nurturer reigns supreme; you do for everyone before you do for yourself.

No matter how good your intentions may be, they are nonetheless draining you.

So that is why my eighth book is called Women & Money.

The challenge is to finally learn—and accept—that to be truly powerful in your life requires making money moves that work for you. Now, I am not suggesting you replace nurturer with narcissist. I do not want you to discard your generosity or shed your supportive and kind nature. This book is not about becoming more by becoming more selfish. Far from it. I simply want you to give to yourself as much as you give of yourself. By taking care of yourself financially, you will truly be able to take care of those you love.

Becoming powerful in a lasting, beneficial way is never done at the expense of others; it is done for the good of all. Women are the bedrock of their families, of their communities—so many are dependent on us. If we stand strong and know who we are and what we can create, we will easily be able to hold up those we love and those who need a helping hand.

Please know that there is not one sentence of blame within these pages. I appreciate that the incredible multitasking job called your life makes it hard, if not impossible, to find the time, energy, or desire to pay attention to what you are doing wrong with your money, let alone figure out what is the right thing to do. Your kids need mothering, your partner needs loving, your parents need help, your career needs your energy, and your friends need your ear. Throw into that mix the dry cleaning that needs to be picked up, the groceries that need to be bought, the meals that need to be prepared, and the house that needs to be cleaned, and it’s no surprise that anything to do with money takes a backseat.

The aim of this book is to make this transformation as easy as possible.

In order to do that, I’m going to help you toward an understanding of how we got here—why we undermine ourselves and why deciding to seize control over our financial lives is, in fact, a groundbreaking, trailblazing decision. I also hope I can provide you with the motivation to want to act, to tackle these challenges head-on and own your power.

I’ll provide you with the guidance and pragmatic tools to feel secure and in control of your financial life as quickly and as painlessly as possible. To that end, I’ve come up with a five–month course of action that I’ve named The Save Yourself Plan to help you over the blocks and set you up for a lifetime of financial security. I’ve tried to pinpoint why it is that other books have failed you, why your moments of resolve and inspiration inevitably lost their steam and were short-lived. I’ve taken a realistic approach and come up with a strategy that anticipates the fatigue and fear and lack of determination and is designed to keep you engaged, educate you, and–can you believe it?—inspire you to want to do more. I will not overwhelm you with laundry lists of seemingly insurmountable chores. I’ve identified core tasks–and made them as comprehensive and easy to follow as possible. It is my goal that, at the end of five months, you will be able to chart your progress and feel the pride and relief that come with being in control of a part of your life that has, until now, remained outside your grasp.

And finally, I hope this book will point you toward the future and inspire you, show you what is possible not just for our generation but for generations to come.

Because this is truly the best part: These life-altering changes are an amazing legacy, a gift to every daughter and granddaughter–those who grace your life today and those yet to be born.

Now you know why I truly believe that this book—the one I never planned to write, the one for women only–is the most important book I have ever written.


A book with the title Women & Money must begin with the story of how far women have come financially in the past three decades. It’s not only a remarkable tale of social progress, it’s a reminder for us that changes that take place on a personal level, every day, in small doses, add up to dramatic societal and cultural shifts over time.

Women today make up nearly half of the total workforce in this country. Over the past thirty years, women’s income has soared a dramatic 63 percent. Forty-nine percent of all professional- and managerial-level workers are women. Women bring in half or more of the income in the majority of U.S. households—a growing trend that made the cover of Newsweek and was front-page news in many of the nation’s newspapers. Women–owned businesses comprise 40 percent of all companies in the United States. There are more women than ever before who can count themselves among the country’s millionaires, more women in upper management, and more women in positions of power in the government.

We have a right to be proud of our progress. I am so honored to witness this revolution in my lifetime. I only wish it told the whole truth.

Now, would you like to hear the other side of the story? Ninety percent of women who participated in a 2006 survey commissioned by Allianz Insurance rated themselves as feeling insecure when it came to their finances. Ninety percent! In the same survey, nearly half the respondents said that the prospect of ending up a bag lady has crossed their minds. A 2006 Prudential financial poll found that only 1 percent of the women surveyed gave themselves an A in rating their knowledge of financial products and services. Two-thirds of women have not talked with their husbands about such things as life insurance and preparing a will. Nearly 80 percent of women said they would depend on Social Security in their golden years. Did you know that women are nearly twice as likely as men to retire in poverty?

For years now, I have been in the privileged position of talking to thousands and thousands of women a year—from the callers to my TV show, to those who come to hear me speak, to those who write me e–mails on my website, to my very own friends and family. So I hear, see, and feel your fears, insecurities, and troubles, very often firsthand, and I have come face–to–face with this painful truth: For all the advancements women have made in the last thirty, forty years—and without a doubt they are remarkable accomplishments–I am stunned by how little has really changed in the way women deal with money. There are huge disconnects in play here—between what we know and how we act; between what we think and what we say; between our ability as achievers and our financial underachieving; between how we present ourselves to the world and how we really feel about ourselves inside; between what we deserve in our lives and what we resign ourselves to; between the power we have within reach and the powerlessness that rules our actions.

In 1980, when I was hired as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch, I was one of the few women in the Oakland, California, office. In the eyes of my (male) boss, that made me the perfect candidate to work with all the women who walked through the door. Back then, women who came to a brokerage firm looking for financial advice had, for the most part, either inherited money, received it in a divorce, been widowed, or were suddenly thrust into a position of helping their parents handle their money. In only a few instances had women come in with money they’d made on their own. No matter the circumstances that brought them to the brokerage firm, they all had the same reason for being there: They did not want the responsibility of managing their money. I always felt they hired me simply to babysit their money for them.

More than twenty–five years later, the story is much the same. Regardless of the gains in our financial status, I know and you know that women still don’t want to take responsibility when it comes to their money. Yes, women are making more money than ever before, but they are not making more of what they make. What do I mean by that? Your retirement money sits in cash because you haven’t figured out how to invest it properly, so you do nothing. You’ve convinced yourself that you’ll be working forever, so the value of each paycheck becomes meaningless—after all, there will always be another one. Your closet houses the wardrobe of a powerful and stylish woman, but the dirty secret is that your credit cards are maxed out and you don’t know how you’re going to pay them off. But it’s not just about saving and investing. It’s about not asking for a raise at work when you know you are being undervalued. It’s about the fear and loathing you feel when it’s time to pay the bills every month because you don’t know exactly what you have, where it’s going, and why there isn’t more left when it’s all said and done.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix









Index 249

Reading Group Guide

1. Do you think gender is a factor in financial management? Discuss the role gender has played, if any, in your personal financial history.

2. Suze says women often have an “unknown factor,” a “fundamental block” that prevents us from doing the right thing with our money. Can you identify some of these factors in your own life?

3. Suze believes that while women are expert at nurturing all kinds of relationships in their personal lives and at work, they fail to nurture their money because they have a dysfunctional relationship with it. Do you agree with this theory? Discuss the idea of nurturing your money. Does that approach come naturally to you? Does it force you to look at your finances in a different way?

4. Suze says that how you handle your money is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Do you see the truth of this in your own life? How?

5. In Chapter Four Suze discusses the idea of putting yourself on sale by undervaluing yourself, your work, and your time. Do you recognize yourself in Suze’s examples? What are some other scenarios that have made you feel undervalued?

6. Identify a time in your life when you’ve made a strong financial move. What motivated you to do it? Did you have to jump any hurdles, and if so, how did you do that?

7. Suze identifies the eight qualities of a wealthy woman in Chapter 5. How many of these qualities do you feel you already possess? Is there a woman whom you consider a role model in financial matters? Does she embody these qualities?

8. Suze points out that in India women sweep their doorsteps every day as a ceremonial gesture to invite Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, into their home. What cleansing changes can you make–physically and mentally–to prepare your life for wealth and abundance?

9. Chapter Six emphasizes that organization equals control. Do you find this principle to be true in your own life? Think of the areas in your life that are organized–do you have control over them? Now think of the areas that are not organized–how do they differ in terms of your control over them?

10. Suze wants every woman to have a savings account in her own name. Discuss the symbolic and practical importance of this. If you do not already have one, do you foresee any difficulties in opening one? Will the conversation you have with your spouse or partner be difficult? Is there an internal, emotional hurdle you’ll have to clear to accomplish this? Was there ever a time when you drew on the resources of such an account — or wished you had one?

11. Statistics show more than 50% of women have Bag Lady Syndrome–the fear that one day they will end up penniless and homeless. Why do you think this anxiety is so rampant? Have you ever had these thoughts?

12. In Chapter 8, Suze emphasizes the power that comes when a woman states her full name, with pride and confidence. Have you done the exercise in this chapter? If so, what feelings did it evoke in you? Power? Shame? Pride? How do you present yourself to others, and what do you think people see when they meet you? Discuss the concept of “owning your power” — what do you think it means in practical terms and do you feel confident you can achieve this state?

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Women and Money 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVED this book. I have daughters who don't know the first thing about saving money and no matter how I tried, I couldn't get them to sit down and listen to me explain finance to them. Even simple things like opening a checking account to how being financially independent can change your entire life, but Suze's book covers it ALL! And, in layman's terms. Anyone can understand this book. I also participated in the deposit program, thinking there was no way I was going to get that money after one year....but I did get it! I bought three and gave them away to my daughters and a friend's daughter. I'm back for another one for my 20 year old granddaughter - I think she's MORE than ready! Thank you Suze - you really are an excellent resource for anyone - at any level of financial education....or even no financial education...that's the beauty of this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
How many of us wish we had a better grip on our personal finances? If you¿re one, maybe you¿ll be as fascinated by the title as I was, Women and Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny. This sounded like something I could find very interesting ¿ money, power and my destiny. I started reading. I was immediately impressed with how well Suze wrote for her target audience. It was as if good girlfriends were having a cup of coffee and a heart-to-heart talk. She¿s honest, straightforward and supportive. She¿s certainly a girlfriend who pulls no punches! Suze Orman is clear, even from the very first few pages, that she¿s shocked by just how ¿clueless¿ so many women are about their own finances Suze shares financial answers to the questions many of us have been reluctant to ask. This book is easily understood and extremely thorough. Personally, if a finance book becomes too technical, my mind turns off. With this book, I didn¿t turn off. I read and listened to the whole thing, cover to cover. I especially appreciated the definitions, the shaded boxes filled with explanations, the practical resources and the action plans. All and all, it was broken down into bite-sized pieces so even the most reluctant among us can take immediate action without fear of failure or of becoming overwhelmed. Honestly, I was impressed with all eight chapters because I took away pearls of wisdom from each one. My favorites? Chapter 4 ¿ You are not on sale. Women have a tendency to undervalue themselves, thus earning less than men. No more discounting our worth ¿ let¿s take ourselves off the sale rack! Chapter 6 ¿ The save yourself plan. This is a five-month plan (one day a month) to financial self-sufficiency. She gives us a workable plan and all we have to do is implement it. Included in this chapter is information on banking, credit cards, trusts and must-have documents. To me, this chapter is the backbone of the book. Women & Money is especially informative for beginners. Yet, I believe all women who are truly ready to claim or reclaim their financial independence will also be pleased with reading Suze Orman¿s book. The only women who might be bored, are the extremely savvy one¿s who already have complete control over their financial lives. Women & Money is about advancing in powerful positive ways. Suze Orman¿s advice is real and practical. Now, it¿s up to us to take this advice and put it into action.
impressmesilly More than 1 year ago
I set up my life to ensure all unpaid bills would be paid, my son and my granddaughter are taken care of, all of my funds are now in trust, and I have completed a healthcare power of attorney to protect not only myself but those who would be affected if anything should happen. I also opened a new bank account, a roth IRA, and a 401K. Suze says it all when she states we women sell ourselves, and I have been doing that for years, and she has given me a new perspective on my life and how I need to contribute to it to not only protect me now, but in the future, and in my golden years. This book opened my eyes to how my car loan company works, and she gives you access to paying off debt and what it will take. Suze not only shows you how to do it, but she gives you the websites, and all the information needed to complete anything she has to offer. I bought this book as a gift for my sister, it is great. I cannot say enough great things about this book and how it has changed my life. Great read!!!! Great advice on how to take control of your life to protect yourself. I Love Her!!!!! Finally someone for women, and she gets the point across!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not be more disappointed with Suze Orman's latest book. I loved the Young, Fabulous and Broke and eagerly awaited Women and Money. It is such a joke. The first 1/4 of the book is basically Suze telling us in her psychoanalytic persona how wonderful and powerful women are and how we can really get ahead finally. I don't need 1/4 of her book telling me I'm good enough - enough Stuart Smalley. Just give me the real financial details. And what really makes me mad- throughout the book (which is very very basic), she tells us to reference her website for additional info. Uh, hello? I just paid for a book and all I get is the very basic info on Roth IRA and Roth 401Ks? Not once does she say whether we can have a Roth IRA and a Roth 401K in the same year. Maybe if I go to her website, I can find out. What a joke. I would not wish this book on anyone. I think Suze should refund the money to those who purchased her book. Seriously.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a very basic financial guidebook for ladies who have little or no knowledge of finances. This book can get you started in the right direction, but doesn't do much past that. Much of the information in Women and Money is also in 9 Steps to Financial Freedom also by Suze Orman. I actually liked 9 Steps to Financial Freedom much better than Women and Money because it offers more information and goes more in depth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While there's definitely more time I would have liked to see about not putting yourself 'on sale' and other more advanced topics, it is a great 'beginner's' and 'where to start' guide for women that haven't gotten started on the path to financial knowledge and freedom. It is definitely not for the woman that that has already gotten a good foundation and wants to know where to go from there - that may be the next one. But it is critical that all woman hear (or already know) what's laid out in this book and start making progress now. And BTW - to 'Marcela, a stay at home mom of 2' it's on p138 - that Roth 401k's and Roth IRA's are completely different and that you could qualify for both. So check it out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a 25 year-old new mother and I found this book extremely informative. I plan to follow most of her advice from starting a Roth IRA (outside of my 401k) to getting my documents in order in case something were to happen to me. She did reference her website a lot, but I think the point was to take a lot of indepth, possibly confusing information out of the book. I bought a copy for my Mom and plan to pass the book around to other females in the family. Highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is very hard to keep writing books about the same material. I like her earlier work but I would skip this particular book. Another thing I wonder about Suze is why she is so condescending to her caller's that are asking for help?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sure - for a financial veteran, this book may be too basic. But for many of us who need to get a good grasp on HOW to save and become wealthy in all areas of our lives - this book is a must have!!! It empowers all women to make the most of their financial lives, as well as their emotional lives! If you need help understanding retirement funds, good credit, good savings accounts, and more, read this book!!! She is even specific about where you need to go to get the best bang for your buck! I really appreciated this book! Thank you Suze!
Guest More than 1 year ago
One reviewer on BN wrote that Suze doesn't tell us anything new, that 'we all know' to save as much money as we can, etc. We may know we need to save, but we certainly don't all know how to go about it. I'm 28 and, like most women I know, grew up in a setting where Mom didn't handle the finances and I was never taught to save or the importance of credit. This book is great -- it's inspiring, empowering, and takes away all the fear I used to feel when thinking about my finances. It helped me to realize what I have, what I need to work on, and HOW to go about it. You shouldn't be hating on this book...you should be telling every woman you know about it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked the book but I didn't get as much out of it as I did from her appearance on tv. I think she gave more information on the tv show, probably to encourage more people to buy the book. However, her ideas are right on and she offers lots of advice that is useful to women. If you cannot catch her on tv this is the next best thing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am only 29 yet I pretty much know everything in this book. The basic premise of this book is to save as much as you can no matter how little or how much money you make. We all know we should not have to pay for a checking account, seek out the best interest rates on savings accounts and to consolidate credit card debt. The author has too many books out to even be able to come up with fresh, new information for this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am so glad I bought this book. Suze Orman shares her wisdom once again. Her mantra of 'no shame no blame' is quite refreshing. She does not write down to her audience but instead bluntly tells us the truth of her own mistakes in her earlier years. The book is for any age woman (or man) regardless of whether they are 20 and just starting a line of credit or 70 and trying to get out of credit card debt. I cannot believe anyone not finding a golden nugget of wisdom that will help them change their financial habits inside the pages of this book. Maybe you feel trapped or confused about how to get out of debt, and maybe there are some aspects inside the book you seriously cannot try for whatever reason, but buy the book and at least read the knowledge and the good common sense only Suze can define for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A must read book for every woman, young or old. Suze orman is the top finacial mastermind of all times.
mplreference on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I'm ready to buy my own copy of this book or spend lots of time on suzeorman.com. She is a wealth (no pun intended) of great motivational information on handling money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An in your- face-insight to all your financial blunders!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
denise blondet More than 1 year ago
Unbelievable how this book can really change the way you think of your money. Basic yet informative, especially for people who dont understand much about the basics. I thought i was pretty well informed but surprise surprise...i wasnt. A must read!
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Olga-Lita More than 1 year ago
To be honest, after reading WOMEN & MONEY, pretty much anything by Suze Orman is a must read for me. Though some information was familiar to me, the advice Suze gives is dead on, useful, and true. My only wish it had been published years ago, but as they say, it is never too late. After buying WOMEN & MONEY, I went on reading THE 9 STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM, THE COURAGE TO BE RICH, THE ROAD TO WEALTH, and ACTION PLAN by Suze Orman. So yes, I highly recommend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago