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Suze Orman's Action Plan: New Rules for New Times Mass Market Paperback – March 23, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Suze Orman has been called “a force in the world of personal finance” and a “one-woman financial advice powerhouse” by USA Today. 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, Orman is undeniably America’s most recognized expert on personal finance. 

    Orman has written seven consecutive New York Times bestsellers and has written, co-produced, and hosted six PBS specials based on her books. She is the host of the award-winning Suze Orman Show, which airs on CNBC and XM and Sirius radio, and a contributing editor to O: The Oprah Magazine.

    Orman was twice named one of the “Time 100,” Time magazine’s list of the world’s most influential people, and was the recipient of the National Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign. In 2009 she received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Orman, a Certified Financial Planner™ professional, directed the Suze Orman Financial Group from 1987 to 1997, served as Vice President—Investments for Prudential Bache Securities from 1983 to 1987, and was an account executive at Merrill Lynch from 1980 to 1983. Prior to that, she worked as a waitress at the Buttercup Bakery in Berkeley, California, from 1973 to 1980.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

All Eyes on the Road Ahead

Exhale. The eye of the financial hurricane has passed. The storm that hit in the summer of 2008 and continued to batter the global economy and your personal finances through 2009 is slowly—ever so slowly—receding. The worst is over. You survived. We survived.

Now comes the really hard work: rebuilding.

IRAs, 401(k)s and 529 college savings plans must be rebuilt in the wake of the devastating bear market.

Budgets have to be put in place that account for the new world order in which the penalties for having credit card debt and no emergency savings are unthinkable. You know as well as I do: You must find a way to get rid of the debt and build your savings.

Your approach to homeownership must be rebuilt to reflect this simple truth: A home is not a liquid investment that will always rise in value. It is shelter, first and foremost. It can also be a terrific asset, but only if you approach it with clear-eyed expectations.

Most important, your sense of security must be rebuilt. There’s the not so small issue of our collective national bill for what has happened; the current $1.4 trillion federal deficit is expected to rise to $9 trillion by 2019. But on a more personal note you are grappling with the realization that your pre-crash way of life is over. What worked—or more correctly, what you thought worked—is gone, leaving you without your bearings in these new times.

Now that we have weathered the worst of the storm, you’re onto the next challenge: Where do we go from here?

Toward Lasting Security

When I wrote the original Action Plan for 2009, it was with a laser focus on getting you through the crisis as it was unfolding. My goal was to give you the tools to find your footing in a world where the ground was shifting—and shifting violently— beneath you. As the year progressed and I heard from so many of you—in person, via Twitter, and through my CNBC show—I realized that you were hungry for more than crisis-management strategies. You have moved on to future management. You want to know the right actions to take in order to build lasting security.

You have been shaken to your core. Whether it is because of fear, regret, or remorse, living through the tumult of the financial meltdown has given you newfound purpose. You want to be in control, you want to get it right. No more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, enjoy-the-ride-while-it-lasts mentality. No more trusting that things will work out, that someone else—your financial advisor, the regulators in Washington—have your back. You understand what is at stake. You are personally accountable and responsible for building and sustaining financial security. You just need a new game plan to transform your resolve into reality.

New Rules for New Times

Because so much has changed in the world and in your worldview, I decided to publish a new Action Plan. I think of it as Action Plan v. 2.0: The Long-Term View. I have updated the information and advice to take into account changes that have occurred since the fall of 2008, such as new pro-consumer credit card legislation and the Treasury Department’s broad Making Home Affordable initiative designed to keep more Americans from losing their homes. Each chapter now begins with a fresh introduction focused on “New Rules for New Times.” During the heat of the crisis my advice was to show you how to keep your money safe and secure. That’s still in play, of course, but now it’s time to move forward with strategies that will build security for you this year, next year, and beyond. That requires an understanding of what works now—and what doesn’t—in every aspect of your financial life, from credit management to retirement planning to saving for a child’s college education.

Three universal rules govern all the specific advice in the following chapters:

Rule #1: Let go of the past. There is no way you can move forward if you are still holding on to what “used to be.” As in: “My 401(k) used to be worth . . .” or “My house used to be valued at . . .” or “My job used to be secure” or “My credit card rate used to be 5%.” You can’t get where you want to go—where you need to go—if you are looking in the rearview mirror. All eyes on the road ahead. All decisions must be based on what is real today, not what used to be.

Rule #2: Plan on moderation. As I write this in the fall of 2009, the tea leaves suggest that the official recession is over and the recovery is beginning to gain momentum. But it will be a recovery of moderation, a state of affairs that has been dubbed “the new normal.” Instead of growing at the 3% annual clip that persisted for the past few decades, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to rise at a more moderate 2% rate in the new normal. That slower growth will ripple throughout the economy and your finances. Stock returns are expected to be more moderate, as are the prospects for home values. And without a booming economy, higher unemployment could be a fixture of the new normal; businesses are expected to take a slow-go approach to increasing their payroll as they grapple with the ramifications of more moderate growth and profits. New times indeed.

I also want you to understand that while the worst is over, we are not completely out of the woods. To repeat what I said a year ago: I expect we will be on a roller coaster until 2014 or 2015, because the markets, the economy, and the entire global financial system will need time to fully digest the toxic assets that still abound on many balance sheets.

Rule #3: Respect risk. Absent from the conversation throughout the stock and real estate bubbles was this crucial calculation: “What is the risk?” It’s as if everyone refused to entertain the possibility that risk existed. During the Internet stock bubble, you bought into the argument that we were at the dawn of paradigm shift—remember how often we heard that one?—that would see market gains more than double the historical rate and sustain them. When the 2000–2003 bear market hit, you were shocked—shocked!—to see your stock portfolio get creamed. And it never occurred to you, during the real estate bubble, that home values would ever—could ever—fall. It wasn’t just you; the trends and data Wall Street used to fuel much of the real estate mania didn’t even address the possibility that home values could decline! And let’s just say that Washington regulators also seemed to be asleep at the wheel in terms of managing systemic risk.

So much of the carnage could have been avoided if every one of us—individuals and institutions—had respected risk. Notice I said respect, not avoid. The goal is to stop at every juncture and make sure you understand the potential risk, and then make a conscious and deliberate decision on how to mitigate that risk. Owning a home is very risky when done with an exotic mortgage whose initial rate is artificially low but can skyrocket when it resets. Owning a home with a fixed-rate mortgage in which the monthly amount due is the same in month one as in month 360 (30 years down the line) is a whole lot less risky. An IRA invested 100% in stocks when you are in your 50s or 60s is very risky. An IRA that holds bonds and cash is a whole lot less risky.

The call to action is that you must be your own risk manager. Yes, we all should expect Washington regulators to do a better job, and let’s hope they will. But you can’t afford to rely on this; you must assess your own tolearnce for risk and understand the stakes. Your own resolve and vigilance will keep you from being hoodwinked by the next bubble. That’s right—I said the next bubble. Bubbles have long been a part of our history, for better or worse. That doesn’t mean they have to threaten your financial life; it is up to you whether you buy into them or choose to watch from the sidelines.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; Rev Upd edition (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812981553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812981551
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By TW VINE VOICE on March 25, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Suze Orman has always offered exceptionally sound financial advice based on personal accountability and moderation. The New Rules for New Times stays true to this message by providing an abundance of strategies for a large assortment of potential financial issues.

The format of the book is very straight forward, containing descriptions of financial situations followed by immediate action plans. This approach permits one to immediately focus on those areas that are most personally relevant. Suze also includes a chapter on introducing finance to children that any parent should be aware of. If this book is your only introduction to Suze Orman, you will be served well.

I have always considered Suze's advice indispensible and a representation of the best from the financial community; however, I question the need for this book on the basis that her message has been made clear in past books. I read this book earnestly looking for something new and discovered only a rehashing of the same message she has always given; leaving me wondering if her desire to sell another book trumped her ability to produce new content.

The book begins with the statement that "the financial hurricane has passed", leading with the notion that we now need new rules. Yet have Suze's rules not always been sound? Does Suze believe her rules regarding accountability, moderation, and respect for risk, rules that have been the cornerstone of her financial advice for years, suddenly now requires upgrading? The realty is her advice is as sound today as it was ten years ago, yet the implication is that we now need a new book with new rules.

Orman's look back on recent events and financial turmoil has supposedly given her a new outlook; yet what does this say of her foresight?
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Frankly, I think Suze Orman is one of the best voices in the financial community and I am a fan of her show, so buying this book was a no-brainer for me. SUZE ORMAN'S ACTION PLAN indeed contains a great amount of useful and updated information on personal finance, and I do not regret picking it up. However, for those who are looking for a book by Suze after watching her show, I'd recommend some of Suze's earlier works, THE COURAGE TO BE RICH, THE 9 STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM, or WOMEN & MONEY. While the advice in SUZE ORMAN'S ACTION PLAN is sound and relevant to current times, I did not feel it surpassed one of her earlier books on the quantity and quality of useful information. That said, I'm still a great fan of Suze!
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It seemed to be more of the same information that you can get from hearing her talk on tv. And, it is not for someone trying to repair their credit after suffering a change in circumstances due to the new economy. She had no advice for such a person. Instead, it is for someone with a decent job and in a fairly good financial position, who just needs a little help to make better choices.
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I'm a fan of Suze Orman's but was disappointed in this book. Although the title says "new rules for new times," there's nothing new here from her. If you watch her show or are familiar with any of her advice, this book won't have new insights. She even mentions many times in the book that her answer to the scenario listed isn't different from the smart advice she's always provided.

If you are new to thoughtful financial decisions, this book will probably be helpful - hence why I gave it 3 stars instead of 2. It gives straightforward basic responses to various scenarios.
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I picked up a copy of this book at a local book store because I needed some quick information and I knew Orman had it in her new book. Is the book updated for the new rules? Yes indeed! I have her last book and you can trust me when I tell you this book is updated and has lots of new information that you really should have if you want to survive in today's world of changing financial rules.

One example is paying on credit cards. Simply put, Orman says if you have a high interest card and no emergency savings, you should now pay only the minimum on the card and put money into savings until you have eight months living expense in savings.

If, on the other hand, you have a low interest card, you can pay more on the card and still put money in savings. In other words, the rules depend on what you have and where you're at. But, they have changed. No longer is paying off the card the most important move in all cases.

But, Orman tells of many other changes you should be aware of.

Certainly much of the information is just Orman's good sense advice --- much the same as it's always been. But, indeed, this is a revised book and if you care about your finances, you should own it. Orman knows her stuff perhaps better than anyone else.

In this book you will find chapters and action plans about ---

- credit
- retirement
- savings
- spending
- real estate
- paying for college
- protecting your family and yourself
- kids and money

I suggest you pick up or order a copy of this new book by Orman. It just may save you from severe financial problems --- and one thing is certain --- you'll likely discover some information of which you were totally unaware. That's where Orman shines.

- Susanna K. Hutcheson
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