258 of 272 people found the following review helpful
This is Suze Orman's tenth book, and probably 10th best seller, which tells you right away that she has a built-in audience, for which she has earned their trust. In this book, she proves once again that she is spot on accurate in her understanding of what the average American investor needs to understand to financially protect themselves in a volatile economic environment.
After the 2008 financial crisis, Suze wrote a book telling people how to immediately survive the crisis. In this book, she tells us what we do not want to hear. She has come to the realization that the American Dream as understood by our parents and grandparents is now over, and there is a brand new set of financial realities that we must COME TO GRIPS with if we are to achieve any kind of financial security in the future. She accomplishes this in 9 chapters and 281 pages of highly readable commentary that for the most part is accurate, original and very useful.
Although each chapter has an appropriate title, what I found more helpful is that in the Table of Contents after the chapter headings, the author will list the lessons that she wants you to learn in each chapter. Most chapters have one or two lessons for the reader, and some have as many as five. I found the most important lessons in the book to be the following:
* Finding Your Truth - page 13
* The Power of CASH - page 21
* How to build honest family relations - page 31
* How to help adult children facing financial challenges - page 64
* New rules of buying a home - page 87
* Time is your greatest asset - page 159
* Delay your social security benefit - page 207
* Must have documents - page 275
* The ULTIMATE LESSON - page 275
You could tell that Ms. Orman had a very rough time writing this book. It is evident throughout. She had to come to terms with the reality that the America we all wish to be, no longer is, and therefore new financial rules have to be mastered. This is a book that she was compelled to write, but did not want to. She also writes about this in her last piece in the book which is the ULTIMATE LESSON. This chapter deals with the death of the American Dream and what the politicians have allowed to happen to this country, and for which we are all responsible since we elected them. As she likes to put it:
Do NOTHING, Change NOTHING, you will get NOTHING
We must FOCUS on WHAT IS REAL TODAY, and step by step the author accomplishes her task, which is to give us concrete steps that each of us can take considering the new financial situation we are faced with. She even tells us to define ourselves by who we are, and not what we have. With 14 million people currently unemployed, and another 9 million working part-time who are seeking full-time work, we cannot take a lackadaisical attitude towards our financial interests.
I urge you to take a look at this latest work from this interesting author in these troubling times. You can only benefit from the knowledge she gives us, and you just may be doing yourself a favor. Thank you for reading this review.
Richard C. Stoyeck
183 of 209 people found the following review helpful
Orman's new book is unique in a way and typical Orman teachings in another. She tells us (as if we need to be told) that things are different now and will be into the unforeseeable future. She says her last book, quickly written, was for an emergency situation and this book is more of a road map, the master plan.
Among the words of wisdom, "In many areas of the country, the dream of homeownership has backfired. Real estate values have deflated to such an extent that a record number of people owe more than their homes are worth. That's not an American Dream--it's a nightmare."
"The home, the job security, the education, the retirement--the very standard of living that all of us took for granted for so long is completely under siege."
In her discussion of the American dream, she admits it's over. "In many ways it pains me to say this, but in my opinion the American Dream as we knew it is dead." She says, however, that's a good news, bad news situation. She then precedes to tell the reader how best to handle the situation as it exists.
She persists in her eight months of savings and yet having a 700 plus Fico score. I personally see this as impractical for many people. Moreover, people with unstable income, such as the self-employed, often can't make budgets and plan the way Orman insists everyone should.
Orman talks like everyone has buckets of money to put in this, that and the other thing. And, yes, if you do all of it, you'll be fine. Question is, where does one get the money?
I much prefer the great book The 10 Commandments of Money: Survive and Thrive in the New Economy. It's far more doable, in my opinion.
Orman tells us, "We must transform ourselves from dreaming society's dreams and putting our faith in a false and misleading sense of entitlement, to being a society where each of us strives for dreams that are personal and realistic and that are in the best interests--in the truest and most honest sense--of us and our family. I am calling upon each of us to rethink the very way we dream."
One thing that hit me straight away, was her reversing herself somewhat from her 2009 book on the subject of reverse mortgages. In that book, she was quite keen for them. In the new book, however, she has many reservations.
"I have to say that I think reverse mortgages are a potentially dangerous step for many retirees. It is far too easy to get blinded by the prospect of receiving much-needed income today and overlook some important considerations", she writes.
While everything she writes about reverse mortgages is true, it's also true that there are some older people who could not stay in their homes were it not for reverse mortgages. There are folks in their sixties, seventies and above still making mortgage payments. A reverse can save many of those people so much grief. Therefore, I think it's wrong to scare at least that group off reverse mortgages and I do not understand her reversal, especially since a new type of reverse is now available that is less costly.
The book is well written for the most part, although she writes to a group and not an individual, not a specially good style of writing.
She writes, "I am going to challenge you not merely to live within your means, but to live below your means." Certainly few can argue with that. "It is time to move beyond materialism in order to set our sights on authentic happiness", she adds.
"We must let go of the past. The decisions you make today must be based on what is realistic today--not what may have been true in the past, but what you know for a fact is an honest accounting of what is happening for you right here, right now."
Orman is giving us her view of reality. Only the reader can judge for himself if it's the view he or she wants to adopt. But I find no fault with it.
Other tidbits include:
"While you will always need to borrow to purchase a home, and many families will need to borrow for college as well, one of the fundamental principles of the New American Dream is to pay for as much as possible with cash. Spend what you have today, not what you hope to have tomorrow."
"Monitor your account every other day. If someone has managed to hack into your account and withdraw money using your debit card info, your liability is limited to $[...] if you notify your bank or credit union within two business days. Otherwise you could be held liable for up to $[...] in fraudulent charges."
"Open a separate savings account for each goal. Your emergency fund should be its own separate account. And every additional savings goal should have its own dedicated savings account."
There's lots of good in the book. But I found Weston's book much better.
Nonetheless, there are lots of Orman fans and, if you're one, you'll likely enjoy this book. You will, however, find lots of the same old stuff in it.
A word about the Kindle edition, it is not text to speech enabled. I find that a disappointment, especially considering the price of the book. That had no bearing on the number of stars I gave the book, however.
- Susanna K. Hutcheson
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2011
( From March posting on Your Life.Your Money blog . [...])
Thank you so much for the opportunity to give you my thoughts on your new book, The Money Class. I feel honored and privileged to do so. You are an American Icon and an extraordinary Financial Expert. Your advice and counsel have truly helped millions of people.
In short - I loved your new book. Once again you have delivered to your fans a primer on managing money in current times. I am impressed with all the detailed advice you provided on everything from Family, Career, Buying a Home, Investing and Saving for Retirement at all stages of life. Everyone will find something of great benefit. I also went to your web site and reviewed the tools and financial calculators that accompany the book. They are terrific, easy to use, and a wonderful bonus that goes along with purchasing the book. Anyone who follows your advice and direction will be successful not only with their money but also with their life.
About the philosophy you espouse in the book; I loved your clarion call to "Stand in your Truth" about your money. This is both brilliant and critical. For years, people have been able to "lie" to themselves about their money by leveraging home equity and credit cards. For a short time, everyone could appear richer than they really were by taking money from their future and spending it in the present. When the bubble burst, people found themselves in trouble. And when layoffs proliferated and new job opportunities shrank, the trouble grew even worse. The thesis of your book to be true to yourself and live below your means in order to protect your future is a very necessary one.
Finally, I was touched by your deep care and compassion especially in the final chapter. It IS damn hard to write a book that conveys sobering truths to people who are already suffering. It never feels good to hear that the time of illusion is over and now we have to get back to basics....buying what we can afford, saving for our future, working longer since we now live longer.
I had only one minor quibble with your writing. You say we need to adopt a "New" American Dream. I think it isn't new, per se. It really is the same American Dream that our Grandparents and Great Grandparents had. You alluded to this in the last few paragraphs of the book. This real American Dream was corrupted over the past thirty years by, in my opinion, the rise of Deregulation, flattening of the Tax Rates, and explosion of Executive pay in the financial services industry. Our society was corrupted too. We now have a chasm between the Rich and Poor with the Middle Class very much in danger. It's time to wring out the excesses and negative incentives and go back to what made our Country great: a Society where all people could feel they were generally treated equally and with dignity by their Government and Corporate America; a belief that their personal American Dream was achievable if they managed their money well and worked hard for it. '
Suze, you have done a great service to your readers by telling them the truth. I wish our Government leaders would do this too. I hope your book can ignite a national dialogue on these critical issues. Congratulations on your New York Times #1 best selling book. I wish you much continued success with it!
32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2011
Suze's new book is awesome. It's very informative. She gives details about how to transform your way of thinking when it comes to your money. She's encouraging and advising us to really focus on spending our money wisely: to have an 8-month emergency fund, to be saving toward retirement and not to buy things unnecessarily, but to learn to live within our means. For example: before you buy anything, from a home to a car, make sure that you really need it and that you can really afford it.
We all know that times are tough and this book has helped me manage my personally finances with more ease and awareness.
Suze has been telling us for years: people first, then money, then things. Again, Ms. Orman's caring for everyone very much comes through in this new book. I would suggest encouraging all of your friends and family to read this book. Thank you, Suze!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2014
I so wanted to love this book. I have read many books on personal finance over the past year and several of them affected me deeply... made me see things in a different way; gave me concrete ideas for how to do things better. I found this book to be mainly theory and rhetoric; Suze reminds us over and over again that the American Dream as we knew it simply doesn't exist anymore. She extols us time and again to "stand in our truth." She touches on the importance of having good life insurance, and on diversifying our investments. She agrees that we need to spend less, to budget better. But where was the class on actually budgeting better? On how to focus our efforts on effectively paying down our debt? She is emphatic on the concept of an 8-month emergency fund... how does one manage that if one doesn't know how to manage his or her money in the first place? If you are looking for concrete advice and ideas for real personal money management, especially if you are struggling, I suggest books by Mary Hunt and Dave Ramsey. Mary's idea of instituting a "freedom fund" for anticipatable but irregular expenses (such as auto maintenance/repair, clothing, etc.) was life changing for me. Dave's "debt snowball" is a proactive and effective strategy for paying down debt. Suze's Money Class left me wondering why I bought her book in the first place.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2011
Helped my make decisions and have intelligent conversations about my retirement advisor, decide about annuities and target investments. Would like to see book aimed at living in retirement, especially since baby boomers are entering into retirement whether they like it or not. Also on when is it safe to inhale and just enjoy like without being fixated on money, i.e. what if you've done it all right? Seems every piece of advice has an exception, which could be explored more thoroughly. When is it time to move funds from one mutual fund company to another when you are unhappy with your advisor. Signs when it is time to change would be good. Received very good service from Amazon for purchase of book.
24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2011
I've read all of Suze's books, and I have to say, this is the best yet. At first it thought I was sad the "American Dream" is dead....and after reading it, not so much. MONEY CLASS makes me realize life is going to get RICHER in the TRUEST sense. And that feels really modern. It feels good. It feels hopeful. In a million years I never thought the idea that I won't make as much money as my parents would feel ok. Perhaps even comforting. But after pouring through the book, that's how I feel. I highly recommend this to anyone who cares about their money...or their quality of life.
26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2012
While this may not be all that well known to the readers of most of Orman's books, she has a professional history peppered with fraud. I simply cannot take financial advice from someone with an extensive track record of dishonesty.
Suze Orman's main source of income in the past has been not from financial planning, but from selling insurance (which gets quite a bit of attention in her books; what a shock). Her earlier books touted 18 years of Wall Street experience which was later shortened to 7 years' experience once it was discovered that those extra 11 years were completely made up. The list goes on.
There is an extensive Forbes article from December 1998 discussing the inconsistencies and straight up lies advertised by this person, and a follow-up article by the San Francisco Chronicle in January 1999 verifying exactly the same claims made by Forbes. These articles are all available on the internet with a google search; I encourage anyone in denial to give these manuscripts a read.
The only reason this book gets two stars instead of one is that it does contain some very basic information on how to not act a fool and spend money like a clown. If you can already do that, this book is likely too simple for your purposes. If you have basic math skills, have the self-control to spend less than you make, and are interested in legitimate books on personal finance, there are many many books out there that are infinitely better than those of the Orman variety. The following link is a good start:
Personal Finance For Dummies
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2011
Financial guru, Suze Orman, within the pages of this book, inspires her readers to finally make the concerted and serious effort to get a handle on their finances. Ms. Orman covers a plethora of topics such as raising your FICO score, preparation for college tuition, teaching children about money, how to make saving a fun endeavor, new rules about buying a home, reducing mortgage costs, running your own business, and investing strategies, to mention a few.
Yes, all this knowledge, all these techniques, requires discipline to implement for most of us, and that is what this author is good at, the inspirational style in which she writes helps you do what's in your own best interest--you sense she cares.
By purchasing this book, you receive authorization to enter The Money Class on her website; where you will find excellent tools by which to monitor your spending habits; to know where your money is going. Only when you have an overall perspective of your financial picture can you exercise full control, and be far more effective in enhancing your financial status.
The only area where I disagree with her is on reverse mortgages; this financial instrument can be extremely helpful to many people to realize a real benefit from their home equity that would otherwise be dormant.
If you're serious about turning your financial picture around,or fine-tuning your effectiveness in increasing your net-worth, this book offers invaluable information.
Author of, The Secret Factor for Uncommon Sales Success
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2011
Suze Orman, the author, is a two-time Emmy Award-winning television host, #1 New York Times bestselling author, magazine and online columnist, writer/producer, and one of the top motivational speakers in the world today. Suzy Orman has written eight consecutive New York Times bestsellers and has written and co-produced seven PBS specials based on these books. She is the host of the Suze Orman Show on CNBC, and of the forthcoming Money Class on The Oprah Winfrey Network. She is also a contributing editor to O: The Oprah Magazine. Suzy Orman is a Certified Financial Planner(tm) professional and she directed the Suze Orman Financial Group for 10 years in rom 1987-97 and before that she worked as an account executive at Merrill Lynch. She has had a great career and we have still a lot to expect of her. She is the one woman millions of Americans have turned to for financial expertise. She now says it is time reconsider the American Dream. What promise the American Dream still holds? What we need to revise and how? How to make our lives to fit to this new dream so that we can sleep well knowing that our hard work will pay off one day? Can we be sure that the secure future is in our reach?
Suzy Orman addresses different aspects of American Dream in her book: home, family, career/work, retirement. The author tells us that the lasting security depends on seeing the truth and the reality around us, and it is also the choices we make. The New American Dream is not the things we accumulate, but the confidence for working hard pays back some day.
She discusses of the complicated issues of family life and money, retirement resources available and how to readjust our realities with what is real and truth in today's world, in today's economic situation. This is the content of the book, "the classes":
Class 1: The new American dream: the dreams of tomorrow resides in today's choices, the money class curriculum
Class 2: Stand in your truth: Finding your truth, Live below your means but within your needs, A personal financial accounting, The power of cash, The credit unions:a great place to save, Saving for big-ticket items
Class 3: Family: How to build honest family relationships, money lessons for children, money lessons for tweens and teens, money lessons for teenagers heading to college, how to handle money gifts and savings, the best way to save for college, the college talk every parent must have with a highschool freshman, borrowing rules for college loans, the risks of private loans for college,Stafford loans - plus loans, how to choose the right school, how to handle student loans that are in default, how and when to help independent children who are in financial trouble, building family financial security under one roof, updating legal documents, advice for grandparents: how to build a lasting legacy
class 4: home: the truth about home values, financing is cheap but not easy, the math of rent vs. buy, the new rules of buying home, a special note about FHA-insured loans, Special rules for buying condos and co-ops, where to come up with the downpayment, understand the risk of distressed property, what to do if you are underwater and cannot afford your mortgage, loan modification 'short sale' foreclosure, how to reduce mortgage costs, when it makes sense to pay off a loan ahead of schedule, lower your mortgage costs without a refinance, the dangers of home equity loans, reverse mortgage basics, w hat you need to know before you buy investment property, what to do with an investment property that is underwater
class 5: career: advice for the employed, how to ask for a raise, change your attitude before you change a job, advice for the unemployed, how to deal with a steep paycut