Friday, June 5, 2009

Review: Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan

Talk about a stressful way to start off the reading challenge! I've actually posted about this book, back when I first picked it up to read. Many of you know that I'm in the process of buying a townhouse. That is, if the builders can get their financing! The entire process has been extremely stressful, and had me rethinking it a million times, and wondering if I can do it. Yes...I think I can, but Orman's book sure makes me rethink it once again!

Synopsis: In 2008, seeing where the economy was headed, Suze Orman sat down and wrote a new plan for 2009. Knowing that things were going to be tough, that the market was going to tank, that people were going to lose their jobs, and that the real estate market would head south in a serious way, Orman outlines strategies and challenges for how Americans can save their own finances and get out of this recession with their families and lives in tact.

Review: Although I had looked over the worksheets several weeks ago, so that I had my own "financial health" mapped out as I headed into getting my mortgage (and felt good about it), Orman's information and challenges had my stomach in knots. I definitely think she's being realistic, but she doesn't sugar-coat things for one second, nor does she make you think that "everything will be all right" without major effort on each of our parts. The book has 10 chapters, and each one focuses on a different financial issue, such as: paying for college, planning for retirement, buying a home, spending, etc. Each chapter then lists a series of questions that real people might ask Orman.

While this book stressed me out...major, I do feel like there are things I can do to reduce my own debt (ha, ha...even with a mortgage coming around the corner), and ways that I can secure my financial freedom. For instance, she suggest some of the following:
  • Put away at least 8 months of salary as a fall back.
  • DO NOT dip into your 401k.
  • Pay down credit cards as much as possible.
  • Keep your FICO score above 700, preferably above 720 by making payments on time.
  • Make sure your family has health insurance.
  • If buying real estate, you should be able to make the 10-20% downpayment, or you're probably not ready to buy!
She also issued a challenge that I think I'll try some time in the next month:
  1. Do not spend money for one day.
  2. Do not use your credit card for one week.
  3. Do not eat out at a restaurant for one month.
Overall, a great resource, and one that I'm glad I have. It's not fun to read, and is quite sobering, but one that I think we all need in this recession. Even though it's tough to face the facts of this economy, the education Orman can give in this book are invaluable and comforting.

For more information, see: Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan

*This also fulfilled my second in the e-book Reader's Challenge.


  1. I don't think I could handle not eating out for a month. That would be sooo boring. Plus, you can eat a Taco Bell for cheaper than you could make food at home! (Or at least that's what I tell myself.)

  2. I read Orman's book called something like Young, Fabulous, and Broke. My parents got it for me when I graduated college. Great tips, but hard to do on a teacher's salary, especially when you have medical bills. Now that I have no job for the past 5 months after moving to be closer to my family, I am beyond Orman's help- I am flat broke!

    I do hope everything works out with your townhouse plans. Just take it a step at a time if you can.

  3. I think she makes some pretty solid valid points. If all of us had listened to her then maybe the housing wouldn't have imploded!!! Good luck with your townhouse and try not to stress too much!! Great review on this book!