Women and Money with Suze Orman

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If you’re interested in personal finance, you know who Suze Orman is. She has written nine best-selling books, is a financial advisor, a speaker, and a television and podcast host. Suze’s book Women & Money addresses some of the financial issues that are unique to women.

A Nature to Nurture

While many personal finance issues apply to everyone, women sometimes face unique challenges. Women will do anything to take care of their families which often means they put themselves last.

Remember when we talked about putting your own oxygen mask on first? If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t be as capable of taking care of those around you.

Your family leaves for the day immaculately turned out, healthy lunch packed but what about you? If we learn to look after ourselves as well as we look after our families, we will be better, and our families will be stronger.

Getting What You’re Worth

Sometimes women undervalue themselves in the workplace. They don’t negotiate when offered a job; they don’t ask for a raise, they don’t charge clients enough.

I’m guilty of this, and maybe some of you are too. I’m so afraid of being told “No” that I used to charge less than my work and my time was worth.

Andrew who has given me a lot of great advice about a lot of things broke me of this when he told me, “$100 isn’t going to change your life. $1,000 might.”

What he meant is that whether I charge $100 or $1,000, the amount of work I do is the same. And like everyone else, I only have so much time. So for the time I have, do I want to make $100 or $1,000?

The other advice that helped me was from a guest on the podcast, Josh Doody. People sometimes just take whatever offer they get because they think if they negotiate for more, they’ll be told “No” and the next candidate will get the job.

But whomever you’re dealing with wants you! They offered you the job over everyone else. Not only do they want you, but they are also expecting you to negotiate.

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From a Place of Power

Without certain things in place, it’s much harder to approach issues like these from a place of power. If you’ve been out of work for months, you’re going to be so grateful to get any job, that you jump on it and accept whatever offer they give.

When you badly need your job because you live paycheck to paycheck, you might be afraid to ask for a raise or to walk away when a deserved raise is not forthcoming.

Suze believes we can achieve the power we need to demand the things we want (whether they be more money or more respect) when we don’t have credit card debt or student loan debt, when we do have an eight-month emergency fund (we say six is sufficient), when we do have maxed out retirement accounts, we are more likely to refuse to take “No” as an answer.

Or Fake It

Suze told an interesting anecdote that further confirmed a theory I have about being sexually harassed in the workplace. Suze had a boss with a reputation for bedding female staff.

Before he even had a chance to proposition her, Suze marched into his office and told him if he treated her disrespectfully she would cut his pecker off! At the time, she badly needed this job, and he probably knew it which made her look like a good victim.

But she laid down the law, and he never crossed her. I have never been sexually harassed in a job despite having had plenty of male bosses. Even the piggiest of men, the Weinstein’s of the world, can sense a “good” victim and can sense a nut kicker. I was a nut kicker. Suze was a nut kicker. Ladies, be nut kickers too.

You might be desperate to keep your job and your paycheck, but even if you do, you can still give off the nut kicker vibe which will go a long way towards keeping the Weinsteins of the world away from you.

Those kinds of men are looking for the most compliant victims. If they sense even a little resistance, they won’t bother. They’ll just move into an easier target. One day hopefully we can reach a point where there are no easy targets.

No Is a Complete Sentence

If your brother had borrowed money from you once and never paid you back, would you lend him more money? If your boss asked you to work (unpaid) overtime for the fifth time in two weeks, would you do it?

Being a “people pleaser” is often ingrained in women. We hate to say “No” to people even if saying “Yes” is detrimental to ourselves.

None of us can say “No” all of the time; sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do for a variety of reasons. But you’re likely saying “Yes” more than you should, have to, or need to.

Here is a way to make saying “No” easier. Just say it and then SHUT UP! Stop talking. Don’t say anything else.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation. And in fact, the more you try to explain, the more you start to talk yourself out of your refusal and the more room it gives the asker to talk you out of it too.

Listener Questions

We were excited when we found out Suze was going to be our guest and lots of you were too. We asked her to answer some questions from our listeners.

Question One

If a married person is not the breadwinner of their family, what are some smart financial choices they can make to prepare in the event of divorce or tragedy?

Those unexpected things, especially for women who’ve been out of the workforce raising children, can be a devastating financial blow.
– Diana

There are a lot of ways to handle money in a relationship, but Suze believes women should have their own bank account and their own credit cards. Women should have their own retirement accounts too. If you’re a woman who doesn’t work or who does work but doesn’t have an employer sponsored 401k, open an IRA.

If one person makes much more money than the other, it isn’t equitable to split expenses 50/50. Instead, split expenses, so each partner is paying the same percentage of the joint expenses.

Also be sure to check over a joint tax return before signing it. If your spouse is committing tax fraud and you file jointly, you’re on the hook too.

Even if you hate anything related to personal finance or just feel your partner is better at handling the family finances, you have to have an active role. Plenty of people have left all of it to their partner only to find out things like that person has run up thousands of dollars in debt or has been hiding money because they’re planning to leave only after it was already too late.

Suze had limited time to spend with us, but we have recently gotten a lot of questions about this subject and are bringing on a guest to address them in greater detail so Diana and everyone else, stay tuned.

Question Two

Does it make financial sense to stay home with kids because daycare would cost more than the mom would earn, or if the damage to her future earnings would sacrifice more financially?
– Rebecca

Suze recommends one parent staying home with children for the first few years if it’s an option because those years go by very quickly and parents can’t get them back.

But financially that is not an option for all families and some parents don’t want to do it even if it were. They enjoy their careers and don’t want to be penalized for being out of the workforce for years which is not only detrimental to your career track but to your earning power and retirement savings.

Whether or not to go back to work after having children is something each family has to decide for itself, but if one spouse stays home, the working spouse should contribute to a retirement account for them.

A Personal Finance Legend!

We were so excited that we landed Suze for the show. it’s not every day you get to speak to a legend in your industry who also happens to be the best selling author many times over. We thank Suze for joining us and for addressing such an important issue for our listeners.

Show Notes

Schlafly India Pale Lager: A clean, malty lager.

Brunch: Matt’s homebrew

Be Good or Be Gone: Suze sold out the legendary Appollo theater. The event was filmed. You can catch Suze Orman: Women & Money October 1 on the OWN Network.

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Candice Elliott - Senior Editor
Candice Elliott is a substantial contributor to Listen Money Matters. She has been a personal finance writer since 2013 and has written extensively on student loan debt, investing, and credit. She has successfully navigated these areas in her own life and knows how to help others do the same. Candice has answered thousands of questions from the LMM community and spent countless hours doing research for hundreds of personal finance articles. She happily calls New Orleans, Louisiana home-the most fun city in the world.

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