"People first, then money, then things."

Suze Orman is a world-famous financial planner and money guru who grew up dirt poor. The story goes like this: she was waiting tables and a group of strangers gave her money to invest at Merrill Lynch until she could raise enough to open her own restaurant. Completely ignorant in the financial world, she was quickly screwed out of her money by a broker.

The experience ended up to be her luckiest break. She got all gussied up and went into Merrill Lynch to apply for a job as an investment broker, despite her sad lack of experience. Thanks to women's lib and affirmative action, she got the gig and, while working there, sued Merrill Lynch for screwing her out of her money. A year later they settled her lawsuit and she was one of the most successful brokers at her office.

Since then, she has decided to put her money advice to work for the entire country as an author, a syndicated columnist, television host, and motivational speaker. You've most likely seen her on PBS doing motivational finance specials that are based on her books. She's the older blonde gal with the big smile and too much energy, explaining mortages and retirement in ridiculously simple ways. You may have also seen her in The Oprah Magazine, on Yahoo! Finance, or on CNBC during The Suze Orman Show.

Suze Orman's financial advice makes good sense, is succinct, and is geared toward the average joe--not the fat cat on Wall Street. I highly recommend her books to anyone who's interested in learning more about how to save, not spend or how to navigate the areas of finance that we can't avoid like student loans, mortgages, and credit cards. Her motto, "People first, then money, then things" really helps to put spending in perspective. The idea is simple: people always come first, so if you want to go back to school, do it. If something is absolutely necessary to your happiness, do it. Don't be miserable. But before you go out and buy a bunch of junk to feel secure, realize that money is more security than material possessions can be. Make it work for you. Her books are ultimately guidelines for how to make sure you're attaining wealth in painless, proven ways.

Her enormously helpful books include:

  • Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny
  • The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke
  • The Laws of Money, The Lessons of Life
  • The Road to Wealth
  • The Courage to Be Rich
  • The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom
  • Suze Orman’s Financial Guidebook
  • You’ve Earned It, Don’t Lose It

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