- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; First Edition edition (March 8, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1573221252
- ISBN-13: 978-1573221252
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 90 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #915,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Courage to Be Rich: Creating a Life of Material and Spiritual Abundance Hardcover – March 8, 1999
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Talk about an audacious title! But Suze (pronounced "Suzie") Orman means business in this anecdote-rich compendium of tips on 401(k)s, marriage, homes, and happiness. The PBS star/financial adviser has made plenty of the mistakes she warns against, like getting a 30-year mortgage instead of a cheaper 15-year, using Visa cards as magic carpets to calamity, and losing $20,000 in borrowed bucks to bum investment advice. Then she became a Merrill Lynch broker and an author capable of selling 10,000 books in 12 minutes on QVC.
Orman's point--in this and her No. 1 bestseller The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom--is that you'd better face fiscal facts and avoid fear, denial, and the self-fulfilling low expectations the novelist William Wharton called "the Poverty Mind." America is a nation of check-bouncing, late-fee-incurring, guilty bad planners. How long will it take to pay off that $3,000 Visa bill with minimum payments? Thirty years, you poor, dear fool! What would you gain if you bought stocks instead of your daily latte for 30 years? $165,152! Her book might've been titled The Courage Not to Be a Self-Sabotaging Neurotic.
Orman is the Andrew Weil of money health--she yearns to enrich your life emotionally, too. If you can't stand discussions of the psychological origins of fiscal decisions, or self-help lingo like "money is attracted to people who are strong and powerful, respectful of it, and open to receiving it," you'll want a more nuts-and-bolts adviser. If you want pep talk, true tales of woe and makeovers, and a jolt of a true pop culture phenomenon, Suze is for you. --Tim Appelo
From Library Journal
Having shown us The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom, Orman now explains how we can achieve both financial and spiritual well-being simultaneously.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Let me clarify some things. This is not a book for the financially advanced, for professionial money managers or financial advisors, or for stock brokers. The intended audience here is the "Average Person" who works at something else every day but wants to better understand how to handle their money. This person probably has credit card debt, spotty savings, and some bad financial habits. I had none of those things when I picked up this book and I still learned tons from reading it.
The principal message here is that being rich begins with your thoughts. They way we think about money determines to a huge degree what we do with it, how we invest it, and how we spend it. I think no one will deny that fundamental truth, but Suze's gift is finding the ways to connect our thoughts with practical advice to change bad habits for the better. Many people could make a few simple changes in their lives and end up with a lot more money, and over time, that could mean real wealth.
It is true that some of the conclusions here will seem obvious to the financially savvy. But I question the idea that this is all "repackaged common knowledge." It isn't. Her messages are of the kind that bear repeating. How many people still buy a $3.50 latte every morning, stick thousands of dollars in a bank savings account at .2% interest, and have credit card debt well beyond what they can handle? If it were so obvious that these are unwise things to do with money, fewer people would do them! Suze shows that it's not enough just to recognize financially unhealthy behavior, you must also understand your personal history with money, the way you have been taught to think about it and value it, and understand how that history influences your financial decisions. Her recognition of the emotional value of money gives her the edge over other financial how-to books, which typically assume that money is a raw numbers game. It's much more than that, and Suze is right on insisting so.
Her most controversial advice is that you, and not a financial planner, must ultimately be responsible for your money, and I think a lot of the one-star ratings below are from frightened financial planners who know that Suze is onto their game. She does not, for the record, say that you should never work with one, but simply acknowledges that the ultimate responsibility for your money is with YOU and not someone you pay to organize your investments. I think she's right, and with all of the online resources available today, there's no reason to be ignorant about how money works in our society. A little more attention from you can mean a lot more peace with your money, and being responsible makes it much easier to make money grow.
One of the best sections of this book comes at the end, when she talks about the importance of giving. I just loved her discussion of how important it is to give and wish everybody would read it! In our greedy world, it's a message that needs to be heard.
I found this book lifechanging and hope others can too.
On the other hand, if you have lots of money and feel good about what you are doing, you will hate this book. This is a self-help guide more along the lines of Unleash the Power Within than it is a financial guide. If you want to add to your perspectives about how to make more money, I suggest that you shift to Rich Dad, Poor Dad instead. For you, The Courage to Be Rich is a one star book.
I appreciate the care and consideration Ms. Orman shows to her readers who may be suffering from emotional overwhelm (such as often occurs during and after a divorce, after a loved one dies, or while buying a first home). Her lists will probably help these anguished souls.
Although money has a lot to do with math, Ms. Orman correctly perceives that it is all about emotion as well. Emotion and math do not mix well, and she provides many useful insights into how to make them work better together.
An experienced and credentialed psychological counselor she is not, however. I suspect this book would have been better with two co-authors, one who is an expert on emotions about money and the other who is an expert on money to supplement Ms. Orman's skill as a communicator.
Ms. Orman is neither, so th is book's treatment is pretty lightweight in both areas. But if it gets you started in dealing with your issues, all the better for you.
The only part that seemed totally inadequate was her writing off of tax issues: You will spend a lot of money on taxes in your life and your choices do have a large impact on how much you will spend. Her advice is to feel good about paying more taxes because your income is higher. By contrast, someone who really wants to be rich needs to compound as much money tax-free or tax-deferred as possible. This book does not begin to address that subject.
The Courage to Be Rich is a better book for dealing with specific life traumas such as divorce, death, and so forth. This book would be a good gift to a friend who has such an event in his or her life.
Her stories are good, because they bring home the message of how crippling too much emotion can be, so we take this problem more seriously.
I think the biggest misconception people have about money is that they do not need to address their feelings about money. In that sense, Ms. Orman is doing a lot for us by reminding us that we have deeply held beliefs and attitudes that deserve being reexamined from time to time. I enjoyed reading the book, although it only added to stockpile of stories, rather than my knowledge.
Maybe the book's obvious appeal for general audiences can best be understood by thinking about the experience of watching a tear-jerker of a movie or television show -- you get a great feeling from knowing that the cataclysm is not happening to you.
If you have heard Ms. Orman speak at length on television (which she does a lot), you can probably safely skip this book.
To get a good return on your time with this review, I suggest that you pick one belief about money that you have where strong emotion comes into play. If that emotion does not serve you well, rephrase what you believe until it does serve you in the right way. Then, you'll have mastered a skill for having more!
Live with rich thoughts and warm emotions!