There’s a lot of material that your typical money adviser shares over the years, and Suze Orman is no exception. Between her show, her magazine articles, and her books, she’s put an awful lot of material out there. With so much publishing history (including The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke), you might wonder if her earlier works are any good.
The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom, which is Orman’s second published book, would provide a good test in determining the quality of Orman’s early writing. As the title says, it gives a short list of steps to take control of your financial situation and improve said situation. Are the tips it gives useful, or will you still be wondering how to take control of your finances after reading through it? As always, we’ll need to read on to find out!
The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom (2000 paperback edition) opens with a Preface from Orman sharing how impressed she is by the response the book has gotten, and how much the world of money has managed to change in the short time since she first wrote it. The Opening to the book shares how its goal is to help people understand and better manage their money, as well as previewing the rest of book.
Step one looks at how the past influences the present and the future, suggesting to the readers to think about their money-linked experiences in the past have impacted heir current view on money. Step two looks at confronting your fears about money. It covers both fears of what will happen in the future, and fears resulting from your past experiences. With a decent spiritual grasp on money, the third step starts to cover the more practical side of money management, looking at the money you spend and the money that comes into your household each month.
The next three steps, the longest ones in the book, look at how to organize your finances and get your monetary house in order. Step four looks at being responsible to those you love, mainly by covering everything you need to do to prepare for when you die. It looks at wills, trusts, and durable powers of attorney to handle things when you pass on. There are also discussions of the numerous types of insurance that you should have to handle most emergencies.
The fifth step is all about being respectful of your money, covering how to pay your bills yourself and handle your money properly. There’s also a discussion of how to handle debt, and some possible ways to cut your expenses to get some ‘found money’ to meet your goals. Step six covers how to build your level of trust in yourself, particularly when it comes to choosing the appropriate investments. Some basics of investments are covered, particularly concerning mutual funds. There’s also quite a bit of information about financial advisers, if you feel you need one, and preparing for your child’s financial future.
The last three steps are fairly short, covering how to move beyond money and find true wealth. Step seven covers how to build up your financial karma, by giving money to those who deserve it and getting a chance to have money flow back to you in return. The eighth step is about taking the long view money, and considering how the bad things that happen to you might lead to a better life in the future. The book finishes off with step nine, about recognizing true wealth in life.
The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom is a rather interesting book, covering many personal finance basics. There are a lot of subjects covered that aren’t commonly discussed in personal finance books, such at revocable trusts and durable powers of attorney. There’s also a lot of discussion of the more spiritual side of money, which is not that commonly considered in personal finance books.
The subjects are somewhat scattered; investment ideas are covered in multiple chapters, making it hard to follow. The more spiritual issues in the last three chapters aren’t covered in much depth (and seem a bit out of place when the previous 250 pages have been about things like wills and mutual funds)
The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom is a pretty solid guide to getting your money situation under control. There are some parts that might not work for some readers (the more spiritual and mental steps at the start and end of the book in particular). Overall, though, the book is a nice introduction to many of the issues involved in personal finance management.