Sunday, March 13, 2011

Suze Orman and living your truth

I was never a very big Suze Orman fan.  It always struck me that her advice was for people who actually had money.  For instance, I remember one talk show, maybe 5 years ago, where she recommended that you put your extra income towards your credit card debt and pay that off before you began saving. That is very sound advice...for anyone who has "extra income."  I was not such a person at the time I heard that.  I needed advice for someone who had about $25000 in student loans and was approaching the same in credit card debt.  I was living in Boston at the time, a very expensive city.  And while I was making good money (by my standards, but probably not by most), I was not making ends meet.  I would pay the minimum payment on my credit cards, only to have to use them again about two weeks into the month.  This vicious cycle made me almost entirely dependent on credit cards.  I got a second job, which I loved, but even that was only enough to make the minimum payments.  This went on for years, and eventually was the number one reason that I ended up leaving Boston.  If Suze Orman ever had advice during those years for people like me, I never heard it.  I even considered writing to her, but thought the answer would just  be too unrealistic and frustrating.

Now I live in Lexington, KY, a place that in many ways, allowed me to break the cycle of bad habits and free myself from negative financial patterns.  This place has been a sort of cocoon for me where I've been able to transform my life.  I am very grateful for that.  Perhaps, I'll one day write more about the steps I took in my cocoon, but I'm not quite ready yet. 

This morning after I biked home from a lovely practice with the Sunday morning shala, I turned on PBS and sat down with my cup of coffee.  Who was on the screen?  Ms. Orman.  I decided to watch for a little.  Her message was quite different from the one I remember.   She advised that people not make decisions based on the money they might one day have but based on what you have now.  She spoke a lot about accepting your financial situation in order to "live your truth."  This message resonated strongly with me.  It was the very conclusion that I had come to when I decided to finally make the move I needed to to live a more economically sustainable life.  She advised people to not identify with their debt and lack of money but to realize that they had "done the best they could and lived with integrity."  And she criticized the laws regarding student debt and bankruptcy. 

I was at once pleasantly surprised and quite moved that the nation's personal finance guru was speaking in these terms.  This was the message that I needed 5 years ago.  I am grateful that it's getting out there now for people who feel as futile and depressed about their financial situation as I once did.

Inspired by the show this morning, I put on my to-do list this week "Pick up Orman DVD from library."


  1. I was hoping you were going to have a magical formula for getting out of student & cc debt while living in Boston! ;)

  2. I wish! The only solution I found was to leave...I do miss Boston though.


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