Magazine article Newsweek

Chant Yourself Rich? Suze Orman's New Age Financial Advice Sells

Magazine article Newsweek

Chant Yourself Rich? Suze Orman's New Age Financial Advice Sells

Article excerpt

You're gainfully employed but have $20,000 in credit-card debt and zilch in retirement savings. You approach a financial consultant with the same dread with which you approach a dentist when you haven't been flossing. If your financial consultant happens to be Suze Orman, you're in for a big surprise. No raised eyebrows. No grim lectures. You get a big, I've-been-there smile and some unconventional wisdom. Stop wallowing in your solitary shame. Figure out what childhood memory has led to your self-defeating money habits. You were ashamed because your parents couldn't afford to buy you a bike? OK, buy a bike and repeat a mantra like: "I have more money than I'll ever need." And yes, start paying more than the minimum on your credit cards. Pronto.

So goes the wisdom of the hottest guru on the financial-help circuit. Orman's emotionally correct financial advice has catapulted her best seller, "The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom," to sales of 1.7 million copies, and earned her periodic spots on venues like the QVC television shopping network (where she's sold 80,000 cassettes and CDs since April) and "Oprah," the biggest book-seller of them all. Even Orman, 47--who says she mantraed her way from a salary of $400 a month as a waitress at the Buttercup Bakery in Berkeley, Calif., to more than $100,000 a year as a broker at Merrill Lynch in the early 1980s--is amazed at becoming a multimillionaire: "I know how to dream big, but I didn't know how to dream this big." Sitting in the backyard of the one-bedroom house in the Oakland Hills that she bought for $60,000 in 1983 ("I think this house's feelings would be hurt if I sold it"), Orman isn't concerned about what more staid money managers think of her advice: "I'm sure they think I'm half cracked," she says, laughing. …

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