The Courage to be Rich

The Courage to be Rich

by Suze Orman


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#1 New York Times bestselling author and financial expert Suze Orman helped millions of Americans change the course of their financial destiny and prosper in every way with The Courage to Be Rich. Now, Suze has revised and updated this million-copy bestseller to further inspire readers to find the courage to start over in these changing times and realize their true potential for material and spiritual wealth—even in today’s challenging economic climate.

Now available in trade paperback for the first time, this edition goes beyond Suze’s earlier work in outlining a life-changing process for manifesting abundance and brings her revolutionary ideas of combining the spiritual and the financial up to date. With honesty, empathy, and a dazzling knowledge of how the world of money works, the country’s most trusted financial expert motivates readers to summon the courage to cope with tragedy—whether it’s personal or global—along with its economic aftermath. Rich in spirit, The Courage to Be Rich also reveals how a sagging economy may influence the money readers have—and have yet to make—and what they need to do to safeguard their financial future without sacrificing their generosity.

With new information that pertains to recent changes in tax laws and how they affect IRAs, The Courage to Be Rich addresses the financial issues and milestones we face throughout our lives—marriage, divorce, and death; buying a home; and spending (and overspending) on life's necessities and luxuries. Suze shows readers how to take control of their financial tomorrows today with her trademark expertise and compassion, and convinces us that we can alter our financial destinies only when our intentions are in harmony our actions. That process begins with overcoming and forgiving feelings of fear—an emotion that acts as an internal obstacle to wealth. Suze explains how to make room for more money by eliminating all the clutter—thoughts, words, actions, and material objects—blocking its path. This newfound clarity will empower readers to start afresh to create the true wealth they want and deserve.

In The Courage to Be Rich, Suze urges readers to live beyond the bottom line by passing money through their hearts and hands out into the world, to make it a better place. She demonstrates how every action taken is an offering to the world that repays in kind, and how charity has the power to enhance every life. Best of all, she explains how to determine when one is giving too much and when one is giving too little.

Combining practical strategies, personal exercises, compelling case studies, and her trademark provocative insights, Suze guides readers through the financial rites of passage, detailing how to:

  • Find the courage to endure financial setbacks and overcome feelings of shame, fear, or anger about money
  • Keep money safe in a weak economy
  • Speak the language of wealth rather than the language of poverty
  • Break debilitating patterns that keep you from having more and being more
  • Protect your life against the financial "what-ifs"
  • Start over from nothing
  • Use your home to secure your retirement years
  • Prepare safely and wisely for the future
  • Bring together the laws of wealth with the laws of life

For Suze, The Courage to Be Rich means valuing people over money and money over things. It means having all that you love and loving all that you have. It means turning toward your money and turning some of your money toward others. Ultimately, it means taking the courageous steps necessary to attain your material and spiritual wealth.

Practical, spiritual, and above all, soundly financial, The Courage to Be Rich is a book for today’s challenging times.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781573229067
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/31/2001
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 654,689
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Suze Orman is the author of four consecutive New York Times bestsellers, The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom; The Courage to Be Rich; The Road to Wealth; and The Laws of Money, The Lessons of Life; and the national bestsellers, You've Earned It, Don't Lose It and Suze Orman's Financial Guidebook. The host of her own national award-winning CNBC-TV show, which airs every Saturday night, she is a contributing editor to O: The Oprah Magazine and is the featured writer on Yahoo! Personal Finance with her bi-weekly Money Matters series. She has written, co-produced, and hosted four PBS specials based on her bestselling books, which are among the network's most successful fundraisers ever. The most recent, inspired by The Laws of Money, The Lessons of Life, earned her an Emmy award.

A Certified Financial Planner Professional®, Suze Orman directed the Suze Orman Financial Group from 1987-1997, served as Vice President — Investments for Prudential Bache Securities from 1983-87, and from 1980-83, was an Account Executive at Merrill Lynch. In 2003 she was inducted into the Books for Better Life Awards' Hall of Fame in recognition of her ongoing contributions to self-improvement. A highly sought-after public speaker worldwide, she was profiled in Worth magazine's 100th issue as among those "who have revolutionized the way America thinks about money."


Read an Excerpt

An Excerpt from The Courage to Be Rich

Love and Money

It never fails. When everything is working out between two people, they think love is so simple. Yet when the disagreements start, love becomes a complicated venture indeed. Often, the central complication is -- surprise, surprise -- money. Couples are always saying things like "Oh, money is killing our relationship" or "We were doing fine until money came between us." When I hear this, all I can think is that money has never done a thing to anyone, never hurt a fly. Money is just money. But it is the power you give your money, or your attitudes toward and your fears about your money, that can wreak havoc on the most important relationships in your life.

Not surprisingly, by now you may realize that you are in a relationship with money, whether you think of it in these terms or not. And like the other relationships in your life, this one needs work to make it successful. You must take actions that will create possibilities rather than destroy them, actions that will help you feel secure rather than afraid, and above all else, actions that will establish, in your private world, the sense that you are unconditionally loved for who you are and not for what you have. The first law of money states: People first, then money. It is also an essential law of relationships: People first, then money.

Which doesn't mean that money doesn't matter when it comes to love, because it matters a great deal. Of all the kinds of intimacy there are -- physical, emotional, domestic -- financial intimacy is perhaps the hardest to achieve, and, it could easily be argued, the most important in the long run. You can turn over your body, heart, and soul to someone, but the union will never be complete unless you link your fortunes (and misfortunes) together, too, for better or worse, and forever.

The Financial Courtship

You have met the person of your dreams. You have never loved anyone so much in your entire life. Finally you decide to get married or join lives and live happily ever after, till death do you part. The vows truly are holy, and you mean them with every ounce of your being. Could money get in the way of this love of yours? Not possible, you say. Until it does. If you haven't walked carefully and honestly through all the money issues ahead of time, I can promise you that money will one day become an obstacle in your relationship. Even if you think you have the subject well covered, you'll probably find that money becomes a problem later on: you change, your partner changes, the money grows or fails to -- all potential reasons for disagreement. Arguments over money trigger divorce in more cases than you can imagine -- arguments that are not necessarily based on deceit or lies but on how we deal with money. Because most of us deal with it very, very differently. This is so hard to understand ahead of time and so painful to discover after the fact. On your own, you handle your money your own way. You worry, sure, and sometimes perhaps you spend money you shouldn't -- you go overboard on gifts for yourself and others, occasionally you're late in paying your bills. Yet when someone else has a stake in your money and you have a stake in theirs, sloppy habits or reckless spending or even wildly divergent views on how to manage money can strike at the core of how safe and secure you feel and can make you feel violated in a very intimate way. When the first argument over money erupts, most of us are taken by surprise. And the only -- the only -- way to protect yourself and ensure that your relationship will thrive is to look at money issues in the most naked and honest way you can. Before you utter a single vow, and many times thereafter.

You must open the dialogue. Not just "Oh gosh, who's going to pay for what?" -- which we'll get to. But you must attempt to talk together in a rational, candid way about the serious side of money, matters that over time go from being background issues in a relationship to those of the highest priority -- how you spend, how you save, how well you share.

  • How do both of you feel about saving money for the future? How committed are you both to investing for tomorrow? Do you both agree that money you've saved shouldn't be touched, or would one of you be willing to tap into your savings for such luxuries as vacations or a hot tub or a new sound system?
  • Are your investment styles -- be they aggressive or conservative -- in sync?
  • Can you talk together, no matter how young you are, about retirement?
  • Are you in agreement over who does the bookkeeping and pays the bills?
  • Do your notions of generosity match?
  • Do you agree about your responsibilities toward your respective families?
  • Do you have a prenuptial agreement? Do you want one? How does that make each of you feel?
  • In the case of a job transfer, whose job takes precedence?
  • If your incomes vary greatly, who is expected to pay for what, and how do you come to that decision?
  • If you have children, what will happen if one of you wants to stay at home with them? How will the money work then?
  • Do you feel the same about the financial aspects of child rearing -- public vs. private schools, etc.?
  • Are relations with any ex-spouses clearly defined?
  • Do you know how much your partner earns? How much he or she spends every month? How much his or her bills are every month?
  • Do you both pay your bills on time, or is one of you consistently late?
  • Is any past credit card debt, school loans, or bankruptcy being brought into the relationship?
  • Do both of you have a good credit report, or does one of you have the credit rating from hell?
  • Are you both prepared to share your assets or your income, or does one of you feel the need to keep some aspects of your financial life separate? If so, why? Can you both live with that?

From The Courage to Be Rich by Suze Orman. Copyright © 1999 by Suze Orman. Published by Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Putnam, Inc., Professional/Trade Division. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Soul of Courage1
Part IActs of Courage
1.The Courage to Look Within11
2.The Courage to Have More and to Be More29
3.The Courage to Make Room for More Money41
Part IIThe Value of Money
4.The Courage to Value Money61
5.Defining Value and Worth72
6.The Courage to Face the Unknown84
7.Rich Thoughts101
Part IIIFor Love and Money
8.The Courage to Open Your Heart, The Courage to Open Your Hands117
9.The Business of Love138
10.Yours, Mine, and Ours151
11.The Courage to Transcend the Pain of Divorce166
12.The Courage to Live After a Death188
13.Starting Over205
Part IVBuying a Home
14.Seeking Shelter217
15.The Mortgage Menu244
16.Your Home and Your Future265
Part VThinking Ahead
17.The Courage to Create Your Financial Destiny281
18.Making Sense of Investments292
19.Seeking Safety in Bonds317
20.How Does Your IRA Grow?356
Part VIThe Courage to Be Rich
21.The Courage to Connect to the World399
22.The Courage to Be Rich415
Valuable Resources423

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Orman prods the fearful, the angry and the impoverished to dig deep into the pockets of their souls for spiritual and financial riches. [A] holistic approach...Orman offers sound advice on money market funds, IRAs, estate planning and financing big-ticket items such as homes and autos, but her most compelling advice hits us in the emotional pocketbook."—USA TODAY

"The reigning shaman and high priestess of personal finance...Orman's new book, The Courage to Be Rich, is another blockbuster."—The San Francisco Examiner

"Very sound and practical advice."—The Chicago Tribune

"People just can't seem to get enough of financial expert Suze Orman...The former Prudential Bache Securities vice president manages to help people change the way they think about money, convincing them that they can't change their financial destiny until they learn to truly value and respect money. The Courage to Be Rich covers the basics of money management—from buying a home to information on investing...Savvy financial strategies."—The Dallas Morning News

"The Courage To Be Rich combines practical financial advice with an understanding of the fears a lot of people face when confronted with the bottom line."—Good Morning America

"[Suze Orman] knows how to work a crowd as she preaches the gospel of abundance... Her enthusiasm is infectious."—The Cleveland Plain Dealer


On Thursday, March 25th, welcomed Suze Orman to discuss THE COURAGE TO BE RICH.

Moderator: Welcome, Suze Orman! Thank you for taking the time to join us online this evening. How is everything in Boston this evening?

Suze Orman: A little chilly, but nice.

Nancy from Boulder, CO: How is this book different from THE 9 STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM?

Suze Orman: In 9 STEPS I asked you to look into your past, to see how your past is holding you back. In THE COURAGE TO BE RICH I start out with your present and ask you to stop blaming your past for why you aren't doing what you need to do. I ask you to see how your internal obstacles and external obstacles are keeping you from having more and being more, and only you have the power to release those obstacles. THE COURAGE TO BE RICH is made up of a journey of the intimate financial habits that husband and wife and life partners have between each other, or in reality don't have between each other. It goes into home ownership, the values of money, good debt, bad debt, and myths and realities about investments I did not talk about in 9 STEPS. It has new laws of money and it has five laws of life. It is 140,000 words -- brand-new words, compared to 85,000 words for 9 STEPS -- the only part repeated is the section on Roth IRAs, but the information is presented in a question-and-answer format in THE COURAGE TO BE RICH. Together with 9 STEPS, this book makes for a complete financial encyclopedia of your financial life, and I would be hard-pressed if I wrote another book to come up with any additional financial information that you would need.

Dora Alcon from Albany, NY: Suze, what is your present take on multi-level marketing (MLM) pyramid organizations as an avenue to create wealth? Are some of these organizations better than others and what differentiates the good ones?

Suze Orman: Obviously, some are better than others. My problem with them all, however, is that it is still my belief that those who get in later really don't have as much to make as those who got in at the beginning. As in anything that one does, there is a tremendous amount of work in MLM, and you really have to like being a general and leading your army if you are really going to make money. So I hope it is something that you will really love -- the product that you are selling and the management as well. It is hard enough in life to keep yourself, as well as those under you, motivated, and that takes courage.

Phyllis from Ohio: Isn't it true that you need money to make money?

Suze Orman: Phyllis -- absolutely not. Did you listen to Roberto Benigni the other night at the Academy Awards where he thanked his mother and father for giving him poverty? The courage to be rich comes alive when you have the courage to know you can create a sea of zeros out of one zero. When you stop thinking that those who are able to have more had it to begin with. Greatness can come from nothingness and the opposite is true as well. Don't think you have to have money to get more. For that is the biggest fallacy in life: Stop thinking such small thoughts. For with courage, the right actions, the right words, and the right beliefs, richness of all kinds can come your way.

Cynthia James from Florence, SC: I am 26 years old and am interested in starting my own investment portfolio. I got interested in it after learning about 401(k) at my previous job -- they took your money and invested it in various bonds, mutual funds, and/or stocks. I did pretty well for a beginner, I guess. Now that I no longer work for that company, I want to get back into investing and wanted some tips on how to get started. Any tips?

Suze Orman: (1) If you have money in a 401(k), you can transfer that money to an IRA and then convert it to a Roth IRA. (2) You can continue as long as you have at least $2,000 a year and you don't make more than $95,000 in adjusted gross income; you can put $2,000 every year into a Roth IRA.

In the book, I give you the most complete chapter on Roth IRAs that you will find anywhere, in my opinion. And why every one of you, if you qualify, should have one. Please note that you can have one even if you max it out. My favorite mutual fund is currently the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index. Here is a tip for you: Rather than waiting till the end of the year to put in your $2,000, put in $166 every month, starting in January. If you funded your Roth IRA monthly over 40 years at just an 8 percent return -- which is conservative -- you would have $17,000 more in your Roth than if you waited and funded it at $2,000 at the end of the year.

Sherrene from Houston: Are you making any changes in what you're investing in or holding stockwise for the year 2000? Should we be concerned about our investments during this transition?

Suze Orman: I am not concerned on any level. I would like you all to think about a few things. The computers overseas are the ones that are truly in big trouble. Do you think it is possible that money from overseas might be flowing into the market here in the U.S., causing our market to stay stable? Over the long haul, I think we will be just fine. I project us going over 10,000 and into a strong market into next year.

Lou and Rosie from Warr Acres, Oklahoma: Enjoyed seeing your PBS special (they had it on here about five times, and I learned something new each time!). The company I work for does carry long-term coverage, and has two different plans -- one for just nursing-home/assisted-living facility and a comprehensive, which gives a choice of the above or home health care/adult day care. In your previous chat last May here at, you mentioned a certain age (I believe it was 54) for any type of life insurance. Should those of us who are in our early 40s start this plan now, or wait until, say, 50? That's when I plan my first retirement, and start working part-time. Continued success and peace for you!

Suze Orman: I would definitely wait. I have done the calculations many different ways and the perfect age to purchase long-term care is between 54 and 59. One of my favorite companies is Continental Casualty. I ask you to compare the cost of your group policy at work to an individual policy at Continental Casualty -- you might be shocked to find that their individual policy will be less than the group one.

Ang from New York: My mother passed away and left me her house. Do I have to pay probate tax when it is re-deeded to my name? Her home is worth about $120,000. What about the bills that I paid off -- is there any way of claiming them on my tax return?

Suze Orman: There is no estate tax whatsoever due on this house. There will also be no income tax if you sell it. However, there will be probate fees to change the title of the house from her name into yours. The probate fees along with legal fees in the state of New York could run you close to $6,000 on this home. This could have been avoided if the house was held in a living revokable trust; then the cost to transfer the title would be nothing -- all you need to know is the difference between a will and a trust. I discuss this in great detail in THE 9 STEPS and my first book (YOU'VE EARNED, DON'T LOSE IT). The bills that you have paid will not play into the scenario here because you don't owe any estate tax.

Dana Renee from Atlanta, GA: How did you come to forgive the person who stole your business? Did she ever spend any time in jail for this incident?

Suze Orman: To say that she stole my business is not 100 percent accurate, but the forgiveness part came in me realizing that I needed to learn the lessons passed down in THE COURAGE TO BE RICH. I needed to learn that I wasn't just the car I was driving, the watch on my wrist, etc. I needed to learn about who I was without any money. I realized that was a far grander lesson that contained tremendous amounts of wealth, more wealth than any amount of money in the world could buy. It was a great gift she gave me. She didn't take anything from me and her actions truthfully backfired on her and were a gift to me.

Bill Hare from Fort Lauderdale: Apart from family influences, did you have any role models or people you wanted particularly to emulate when you were growing up?

Suze Orman: No. Nobody. I truly thought when I was younger that maybe if I was lucky I would be a waitress, which I was for seven years before I got my job as a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch. My biggest role model was Richie Rich in the comic books that I read over and over again. My mom and dad were so disheartened at their own financial situation that it truthfully felt like it was a life without hope at that time. It all changed for me when I had the courage to think while I was a waitress at the Butter Cup Bakery that I could have more and be more. And from that thought my whole world started to change.

Miriam from Virginia: I've read 9 STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM and was interested in the information on revocable trusts. Is it necessary to put all assets in the trusts? For example, if an asset already has a named beneficiary, should that asset be put in the trust?

Suze Orman: It is not necessary to put everything in trust if there is a named beneficiary and your only concern is how something passes down to that beneficiary. If your concern is that if something were to happen to you, such as incapacity and who is going to manage that for you, then it needs to be in the trust because otherwise your successor trustee won't have access to manage it for you. There is no downside at all to owning everything in trust. Always remember that it is not just about who gets what and how they get it after you die -- it is also about what if something happens to you while you are still alive. A trust can help you tremendously with that.

Helga Mauler from Bucyrus, Ohio: Why is it that no matter how much money people make at their job they don't seem to be able to get ahead enough to retire comfortably?

Suze Orman: Miss Helga, that goes back to step five in the 9 STEPS, where the law is, the more you make, the more you spend. It also touches quite significantly in the COURAGE TO BE RICH, in the law of "people first then money then things." You see, Helga, most of us think we are the things we buy; in fact, most of us value things more than we value money, which is why we have more things in our households than money in our bank accounts. In THE COURAGE TO BE RICH, I go into great detail about switching around our priorities and putting that law into effect: People first then money. It is not about having more money or making more, it is about knowing more about what you already make. If you have fear, shame, or anger -- the three internal obstacles that I talk about in THE COURAGE TO BE RICH -- it is those emotions that make you spend the money that you make, that sabotage your retirement and make it so that you never truly get ahead. THE COURAGE TO BE RICH points out how your emotional state is what determines your ultimate financial state, and that is the reason why no matter how much you make, how much you inherit, if you don't have your internal obstacles in check, the end result is your own checkmate. What advice do you have for young people who have just finished college, have no debt (credit card and otherwise), and are making a low salary? How do you suggest saving -- beyond eating in and taking public transportation? Do you suggest something more aggressive than just a Roth IRA?

Suze Orman: It depends on what you think your future goals will be. Do you have the desire to own your own home? Do you have a desire to marry and create a family? Or do you just want to start investing for yourself right now? The Roth IRA I like to start with for $2,000; you can get it out any time you want without any penalties or taxes. So it is like a tax-free savings account when it comes to your original contributions. And within the Roth IRA, you should buy the most aggressive and speculative investments possible, for obviously if you meet the guidelines of how a Roth works, those gains will be tax-free. Outside of a Roth IRA, I am a total advocate of either mutual funds (ones without commons, of course), individual stocks, or any form of growth investments to enhance your future. SPDRS are another favorite way of mine to invest on the American Stock Exchange.

Simone from Los Angeles: Suze, I am determined to turn toward my money and I am looking forward to reading your new book, but my problem is the clutter problem. Could you give me a quick, easy task to perform so that I can see a result that will motivate me to get the long, tedious tasks done?

Suze Orman: In THE COURAGE TO BE RICH, I give you four exercises of how to go through your house, what to look for, what to keep, what to throw away, what to give away, and what to value. I ask you to look at these quickly, do them right away, and I promise you will feel a total change in your outlook when it comes not only to who you are but how you spend your money. If you want to do something right away, balance your checkbook. For most of us have as much financial clutter as we do clutter in our house. And I know all of you are afraid to balance your checkbook because you don't think you have any money. Did you ever once stop to think that maybe a deposit that you made into your account never hit your account, and the reason you are bouncing checks isn't because you miscalculated, but because you weren't credited the money you deposited? The best way to turn toward your money is not to be afraid of it. So if you have credit-card debt, also total up how much you actually owe and face that debt with pride, not shame.

Jana from Northhampton, MA: Not a financial question, but I love your necklace on the cover of THE COURAGE TO BE RICH. What is it and what is its meaning to you?

Suze Orman: That is actually a necklace that represents the Vishuda chakra, which is your power or speaking chakra. It was given to me while I was in India by a woman who is considered a living saint in India. I never take it off and I truly consider it my most treasured item. Thank you for noticing it; Oprah did too, on the last show.

KathyB from Merrimack, NH: My husband and I currently have $7,000 in credit-card bills, which we have been trying to pay off for three years (since we had our second child). We also have $230,000 in our 401(k) retirement account at work, and $4,000 in our mutual fund that we are setting aside for our children's education. Should we take out a loan from the 401(k) to pay the credit card, cash in the mutual fund, or wait and see if we can pay off the credit-card debt this year? The interest rate on the credit card is 9.9 percent fixed, and last year we made greater than 25 percent on the 401(k). I am 36 and my husband is 39. Please advise. Thank you.

Suze Orman: I would absolutely take a loan out of my 401(k) to pay off my credit-card debt. The average stock this year has decreased 6 percent. I doubt very much this year that you are getting more than 9-10 percent this year within your 401(k). Therefore, take a loan and pay it off and pay yourself back. In the long run, you will do far better.

Rudy from Virginia: I just recently lost a family member and was named the executor of the estate. Is there any advice that you can offer me during this time frame? Just trying to get over the shock is bad enough without having to worry about all the estate stuff. The big question is what to do with the proceeds of the estate that come your way.

Suze Orman: In THE COURAGE TO BE RICH, there is a tremendously vital section on dealing with the death of a loved one -- what you need to do and how to get through it emotionally. There is also a vital law in this chapter that it is essential that you read about how to protect yourself from the money as well as from others who will want to invest that money for you after you have experienced the loss that you did. The book also has a chapter on how to start over. Even though I know your loss was one of death, the book has equally as much detail on when one suffers a loss from a divorce. I ask you to please read it before you do anything, for it really will protect you. And, hopefully, aid you in giving you the courage that eventually everything will be OK. My love goes out to you. For money can never replace love.

Moderator: Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful wisdom and sage advice, Suze Orman. We hope you'll join us again soon. Do you have final comments for your many fans who came online tonight?

Suze Orman: THE COURAGE TO BE RICH isn't just about getting more money. I would be the last person in the world ever to tell you that money alone will ever make you happy. But I would be the first person to tell you that a lack of money sure can make you miserable. I know plenty of people who have lots of money and they are anything but rich. It takes courage to face anything that we are afraid to do. It takes courage to face anything that we fear. And I know nothing in life that we fear more than our money. THE COURAGE TO BE RICH comes alive when you value doing what is right over what is easy. When you value today along with your tomorrows. And that each and every one of you knows that you truly can be the master of your own financial destiny. Please don't ever think or let somebody else tell you that you can't be anything and everything that you ever dreamt possible. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for my support. And may you always remember to think great thoughts but relish small treasures. Let's all walk into the new millennium not powerless, not penniless, but with the courage to be rich.

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