Suze Orman and “What About Me?”

Suze Orman and “What About Me?”

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Suze Orman and What About Me

Suze Orman sat quietly on stage this week in her butter yellow jacket, flanked on either side by seven other women and Tavis Smiley, the host.  The topic was “Made Visible: Women, Children and Poverty.”

Women of all stripes and colors … African American, Native American, Latina … told of the cultural and social obstacles each group of women faces.

When it came her turn to speak, Suze said, “…on some level, it is a woman’s nature to nurture.  And she, in my opinion, will nurture every single person, spouse, family member, pet, plant, employer, employee … before she will nurture herself.

“But it is not until a woman is about 50, 55 or 60, and she is all by herself, her spouse has left her, her children now are grown but still living in her house … that she finally starts to say ‘What about ME?'”

Suze Orman is singing my song!

In fact, AARP Financial Inc. discovered in a nationwide survey in 2009 that 65 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 79 had already faced a major life crisis.  These were identified as job loss, divorce, death of a spouse, serious illness or disability and, in most cases, their finances suffered a significant blow as a result.

The vulnerability triggered by such events is reflected in women’s concern about their financial future:  61 percent of the women in the survey admitted to being worried about having enough money for the rest of their lives.  Most telling, 35 percent of women have under $50,000 saved for retirement.

When I moved into that target age range of “over 50,” I watched my business crumble like a house of cards after 9-11.  That was my wake-up call to the fact that I would be totally unprepared for retirement if I didn’t figure out what was causing me to mistreat money as I had been doing, and squandering all the money I did make.

That was the start of a multi-year journey into understanding money.  (I was a finance expert, but not an expert at money.)   Fifty books and hundreds of interviews later … some casual and some formal … I was finally able to unravel the tightly wound ball we each create and call “our money.”

In hindsight, I realized there were three key questions that started that unraveling process around money:

1.     What do you believe?
2.     What do you have?
3.    What do you want?

These are grossly oversimplified.  But they truly are the secret key to getting money under control as they look at what beliefs you carry about money that are holding you back; what you actually have and actually owe today; and what you ultimately want in your life that money will make possible for you.

Each of these areas will be addressed in upcoming articles.

But until then, let me know in a comment below if you believe you are putting yourself first.  In short, in your own eyes, do you truly matter?

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Bio: Sharon O’Day lost everything at age 53: her home, her business, everything. But how could that be? She’s an expert in global finance and marketing with an MBA from the Wharton School. She has worked with governments, corporations, and individuals … yes, she was the secret “weapon,” if you will, behind many individuals in high places. Yet she did! Since then, with her finances completely turned around, Sharon has gone on to interview countless women. She’s done extensive research to understand how that could have happened, especially with her strong knowledge of numbers and finance.

The surprising answers will be shared in her upcoming book “Money After Menopause.” Today her mission is to show as many women as possible how to become financially free for the long term, through her Over Fifty and Financially Free coaching programs. She has developed a step-by-step plan to get past all the obstacles that keep women broke and scared … and from reaching the financial peace of mind they so deserve … if they’re willing to do what it takes!

  • Cat

    Great Blog Sharon. And shocking statistics! Very sad. 

  • Sharon, I love reading your posts. Great article and I agree with Cat – very sad. Thanks for sharing.

  • I am going to put myself first just now… as I take the time to go to the gym, and lift weights for 45 minutes. This is one way I can show that I want to take care of myself. The day looks brighter just thinking about it!

  • Lorna Landis

    Thanks Sharon for Caring!  I was one of 65%, knew I would have to work ‘the rest of my life”, but I also know one of the reasons for that is, that at times I “did put myself first”, so did jobs I loved, not ones that would give me more financial stability. But, I was SO blessed when my wonderful hubby came into my life, we connected in an online dating service.  He had done a better job, saving for his retirement, and now, together, we work to help it grow.  I feel very blessed!!

  • This was timely, Sharon.  My brain works in such a clutter-free and “reuse” way, most of the time when I receive something, I realize I don’t need it and want to give it away or save it for an occasion where re-gifting might be appropriate.  It happens so often that I had to question if I had some little issue with deserving.  I don’t think so… because when I receive something I’ll truly enjoy (or need), I recognize how grateful it makes me feel.  And maybe the Universe knows I give a lot away, so it sends me more to pass along 🙂
    Thanks always for your perspective!

  • Shahina Lakhani

    Great article Sharon. Great questions too. When I asked myself what I believe, I heard this voice I had heard all through my younger years saying, “you will never be happy”.  So, I guess I have some more work to do. Although I have come a long way, there is always more that can be done. Thanks for such a thought provoking reminder.

  • I love how our work is connected Sharon…what we believe pretty much comes from how we were raised and for women we were mostly raised to put ourselves last…that is what good daughters, wives, mothers and grandmothers do! I am so glad you are giving women permission to change that. Excellent article!