Excerpt from The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom by Suze Orman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom

by Suze Orman

The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom
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  • First Published:
    Apr 1997, 285 pages
    Dec 2000, 288 pages

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He had escaped the fire safely once, untouched. Then he voluntarily risked his life and was severely injured. The money was that important. That was when I learned that money is obviously more important than life itself.

From that point on, earning money, lots of money, not only became what drove me professionally, but also became my emotional priority. Money became, for me, not the means to a life rich in all kinds of ways; money became my singular goal.

Years later this kid from the South Side of Chicago was a broker with a huge investment firm. I was rich, richer than I could have imagined. And I realized I was profoundly unhappy; the money hadn't bought or brought me happiness. So if money wasn't the key to happiness, what was? It was then that I began a quest, which has taken me deep into the meaning of life--and the meaning of money. I don't know if I have discovered the meaning of life, but I have learned a great deal about what money can and cannot do. And it can do a lot. Your money will work for you, and you will always have enough--more than enough--when you give it energy, time, and understanding. I have come to think that money is very much like a person, and it will respond when you treat it as you would a cherished friend--never fearing it, pushing it away, pretending it doesn't exist, or turning away from its needs, never clutching it so hard that it hurts. Sometimes it's fatter, sometimes it's skinnier, sometimes it doesn't feel so good and needs special nurturing. But if you tend it like the living entity it is, then it will flourish, grow, take care of you for as long as you need it, and look after the loved ones you leave behind.

Most of us already know at least some of the steps we could take to free ourselves from money anxieties--we could manage our debt better, arrange for our children's education, strategically plan now for later, protect what we've saved, save more. Yet most of us are paralyzed, too, when it comes to actually taking these steps, however wise they seem, however much we think we really want to take control.

What good will it do you to know what you should do, if you can't do it?


The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom:
A Preview

The first steps of this book take you back to discover why you don't do the things you know you should do and bring you beyond that--to where you can take action. These steps will free you to open up a dialogue about money with your parents, your children, and, most important, yourself. The next three steps are the laws of managing money. These laws are must-do's. They cover everything from wills and trusts and what insurance you need (and don't need) to new ways to think about debt and your 401(k) or retirement plan to how to invest and what to invest in. They teach you why you must trust yourself more than you trust anyone else with your money. The goal of these particular steps is to make you as independent from financial advisers as possible. Over the years, I have learned that it is in my clients' best interest for them to take control over their money, not to relinquish it, even to me. If, later on, they choose to entrust their money to someone else, with these steps they would no longer be able to be taken advantage of by an unscrupulous adviser--or by their unwillingness to face up to the facts and figures of their own finances. Once you take these steps, you will discover the exhilaration that comes from wanting to deal with your money, not just having to deal with it. The last three steps take you beyond the realm of finances, to the wealth that money can't buy.

When it comes to money, freedom starts to happen when what you do, think, and say are one. You'll never be free if you say that you have more than enough, then act as if and think you don't. You'll never be free if you think you don't have enough, then act as if and say you do. You will have enough when you believe you will and take the actions to express that belief. And you'll have more than enough when you realize that you can be rich at any income because you are more than your money, you are more than your job or title, than the car you drive or the clothing you wear. Your own power and worth are not judged by what money can sell and what money can buy; true freedom cannot be bought or sold at any price. True freedom, true wealth, is that which can never be lost.

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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