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Money Can Be Root of All Evil… But It Doesn’t Have To Be If We Educate Ourselves About Personal Finance

The average undergrad carries $3,173 in credit card debt, the highest since the study began. The average senior will graduate with $4,100 in credit card debt, up 41% from the same study conducted in 2004, according to credit.com’s student credit and debt statistics.(Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends 2009”)  

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Obtaining a college degree is considered to be one of life’s biggest accomplishments–aside from attending your senior prom, getting married, having a family and purchasing your first home. Similarly, these life events have a tendency to rake in expensive bills as attending college does and by the end of my second year of college, I’d already become a statistic and was deep in credit card debt.

91% of undergraduates have at least one credit card, up from 76% in the same study conducted in 2004.  The average number of cards has grown to 4.6, with half of college students having four or more cards. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends 2009”)

My first credit card was a Macy’s department store card. The exhilarating rush you get when approved for a line of credit is like no other. “You mean to tell me i can buy what i want when i want and pay later?” Thinking with this type of mentality is how I ended up with nine credit cards and an empty bank account. Although, there’s a grace period on the amount of time a creditor can come after you, in the back of my mind I knew there’d only be a matter of time before they would and that created a great amount of anxiety in my life. After living on my own for a year and a half, i realized the importance of paying bills on time. Eventually, I moved back with my parents for my last year of college and received assistance from my loved ones during that time but in the back of my mind I knew I needed to change my spending habits. One of my best friends (who happens to be a guy) is really responsible when it comes to money so I started seeking his advice on financial matters and he referred me to none other than personal finance guru Suze Orman. Since entering college my interest in watching television has tremendously gone down and because I hardly watch it I refuse to invest in cable.

Apparently, all the good shows are shown on cable networks including “The Suze Orman Show.” I began going over to my friend’s apartment to watch Orman and he’d record episodes so that I could watch them at my convenience. The platform of the show is a “Q and A” setup where guests ask Suze if it’s appropriate for them to buy new items based on their budget, she reviews their finances, budgets and lets them know whether they are “approved” or “denied”. How fascinating would it be if we could have someone telling us (without having to pay them) if we could afford things before we made purchases? After a while, I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch every episode of the finance guru’s show due to my busy schedule but I continued to do my research on finance and even downloaded some finance apps on my iPhone. One day, while in the local Barnes and Noble browsing through the finance self-help section, I stumbled across a few books written by the finance guru herself.

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Now of course I mentally put them on my wish list especially because my birthday was coming up and I knew I’d have funds to purchase them. By luck of the draw and a good friend who remembered me saying I wanted the books, I was gifted with a Barnes and Noble gift card. For starters, I purchased “The Laws of Money: 5 Timeless Secrets To Get And Stay Out of Financial Trouble and “Women and Money: Owning The Power To Control Your Destiny.”  After reading multiple books over the course of several months (at the same time) I’ve finally finished “The 5 Laws of Money” and I’ve already started implementing the five laws into my everyday life. At the start of my last semester of college, I was about half way through the book and I could already see my attitude towards money had changed for better.  I credit that change to Suze.

84% of undergraduates admitted the need for more financial management education. Of these, 64% would have preferred some type of financial literacy education in high school and 40% as college freshman. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends 2009”)

Orman starts the book off with an introduction which explains what the five laws are and why they exist. The rest of the book is split into five sections in which the laws are explained in depth.

The Laws are:

1. Truth creates money, lies destroy it.

2. Look at what you have not what you had

3. Do what is right for you before you do what is right for your money

4. invest in the known before the unknown

5. Money has no power of its own

The book itself is 174 pages long and is a total of 308 pages (177-308) being the laws of money guidebook. The guide book is a 131 page work book to help the reader tackle issues that exist within their finances and she reminds the reader of the rules throughout it.

The five laws of money is a must have book for the everyday ambitious woman that wants to tackle her finances without hiring an accountant.

Orman educates her readers on bad habits that we all possess and how to conquer them.

I feel as though I’ve become more responsible financially and I’ve already started paying down my credit card debt.

I will go on to read Suze Orman’s “Women and Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny,” next. Every ambitious woman should know how to keep track of their money while also enjoying it and making it work for their lifestyle. I call that success!

 

Stay Ambitious! Stay Motivated!

 

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