What Do You Want from Your Money?
What do you want from your money? College tuition for your kids? A bigger house and a new car? Security when you retire? Wouldn't it be great simply to have enough money so you don't have to worry?
The "enough money" part of that equation is easy. By the time you finish this book you will understand everything you need to know about managing and protecting your money and making it grow. The "so you don't have to worry" part is much more complex. It actually has nothing to do with how much money you have or how little. You can balance your checkbook until you're blue in the face, you can move money every day between your mutual funds, you can double your life insurance, you can buy lottery tickets--and none of it will do you any good until you get beyond the worry and fear. The fear of money, the fear of not having enough, the fear of having enough, the fear of taking action, the fear of inaction.
There isn't a part of our lives that money doesn't touch--it affects our relationships, the way we go about our everyday activities, our ability to make dreams reality, everything. Most of us, I think, have a core of anxiety that we carry around with us, though we may not admit it to ourselves. That is part of money's power over us.
From years as a financial planner I have learned that true financial freedom doesn't depend on how much money you have. Financial freedom is when you have power over your fears and anxieties instead of the other way around. That's why, in this book, we'll address first the fears, then the finances.
Whatever their circumstances--in debt, working, downsized, afraid of becoming downsized, retired, having just inherited money, having just lost money--my clients invariably arrive with a handful of financial papers and a heart full of anxieties. Like most certified financial planners, I started my practice to help other people with their money, but as time went on, I realized that it was far more than their money (or lack of it) that needed attention. Today new clients arrive expecting me to ask to see their papers. Instead I ask them first to share their fears.
It's never too soon to begin, and it's never too late, no matter how the bottom-line numbers read today on your particular handful of financial papers. This book presents a nine-step process that will take you back into the past, when your attitudes about money were born and began to grow. It will help you face the present honestly and clear the way for you to create a future you will love. I know it works. As you read this book you will meet others who have taken the steps toward financial freedom--and finally made possible the lives they dreamed about.
You will also see that if I could do it against all odds, so can you. When I was very young I had already learned that the reason my parents seemed so unhappy wasn't that they didn't love each other; it was that they never had quite enough money even to pay the bills. In our house money meant tension, worry, and sorrow. When I was about thirteen my dad owned his own business, a tiny chicken shack where he sold take-out chicken, ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries. One day the oil that the chicken was fried in caught fire. In a few minutes the whole place exploded in flames. My dad bolted from the store before the flames could engulf him. This was when my mom and I happened to arrive on the scene, and we all stood outside watching the fire burn away my dad's business.
All of a sudden my dad realized that he had left his money in the metal cash register inside the building, and I watched in disbelief as he ran back into the inferno, in the split second before anyone could stop him. He tried and tried to open the metal register, but the intense heat had already sealed the drawer shut. Knowing that every penny he had was locked in front of him, about to go up into flames, he literally picked up the scalding metal box and carried it outside. When he threw the register on the ground, the skin on his arms and chest came with it.
Excerpted from The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom by Suze Orman. Copyright© 1998 by Suze Orman. Excerpted by permission of Crown, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
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Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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