Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Suze Orman Says Save

One thing I don’t believe I’ve yet revealed to my dear readers is that in a former life I worked for a major investment firm.  Combine that professional experience with a bit of genetic predisposition to managing money well (thanks, Dad), I’m in a good position to handle my family’s finances.  However, I realize that most people don’t share my background.  I further realize that many people feel overwhelmed when they even start to think about tackling their money lives.  One of the few "financial gurus” out there who I actually listen to regularly is Suze Orman.  I particularly like Suze because she presents things in a simple fashion.  Sometimes you just gotta take the first steps to get some momentum when it comes to taking care of your money.  I think that by following at least *some* of Suze’s advice, you can get on the right track.

So imagine my excitement when I heard Suze would be in town and she was interested in meeting with a couple of LA Moms Blog members.  How cool to be chosen along with one of my favorite fellow LA Moms, Kim Tracy Prince who also wrote about our adventure with Suze on the LA Moms Blog.  Kim and I headed over to Smashbox Studios in Culver City where Suze was shooting some video for her newest venture with TD Ameritrade, Suze Orman’s Save Yourself Retirement Program.  It was really a trip to step from the pouring rain outside to the bright lights and Suze Orman and all the production crew doing their thing on the set.  Suze’s girlfriend, K.T., came right over and made sure Kim and I were all situated.  Then Suze came over and we were introduced.  Her first question: “Ok, mommy bloggers, do you make money from your blogging?”  Both Kim and I answered, “That’s what our moms want to know!”  Then Suze was off for an outfit change and then back out to tape another segment.

I totally agree with Suze: you do need to save yourself.  Saving for retirement is an absolute necessity.  This is underlined considering we don’t even know if Social Security will exist by the time my generation retires.  But, like anything that seems difficult or complicated or overwhelming, opening an IRA is something easy to put on your to-do list and never get to-do.  Suze’s Save Yourself Retirement Program is certainly NOT the only way to save for retirement and I’m NOT saying it’s the best way for YOU to save for retirement.  But, if you are reading this and you are over, say, age 18 and you DO NOT have any retirement savings, then Suze’s program is quite possibly for you.  Suze literally holds your hand through the process of opening your Save Yourself Retirement Account.  You only need $100 to open the account which, I applaud Suze and TD Ameritrade for allowing such a low opening amount.  Many investment companies require $2500 minimums to open accounts.  I was given a membership kit when I met Suze and just put it through a test drive.  There is Suze on the screen talking you through the steps.  You really don’t have an excuse not to open an account.  It is not difficult and support is available if you need it.

During breaks I had the opportunity to speak with Paula DeLaurentis, Managing Director, Strategic Alliances, TD Ameritrade who happens to have been employed at my old firm at the same time I was.  Small world!  I was able to get some more info about Suze’s program from Paula.  There are some specific benefits of opening up this IRA: you can make 24 commission free trades (a savings of $9.99 per trade).  Members get access to Suze’s Retirement Resource Center and Webinars including 30 video guides, access to timely AND updated articles, invitations to member only live webinars with Suze, and the ability to ask questions online anytime.  Suze strongly believes that anyone who has at least ten years to go before they intend to retire (and need their money) should invest in ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds).  Suze says ETFs offer you a great way to diversify your money in a cost-effective manner.  I would agree, I am a fan of ETFs myself.  However, how do you decide which ETFs to invest in?  Suze has turned to Dorsey Wright & Associates for her program’s ETF research.  According to Suze, “DWA is the ETF “go to” source for the financial industry, including professional investors on Wall Street and around the world.”  Access to DWA’s investment guidance is included in the Save Yourself membership.  Finally, Dorsey Wright & Associates have created three ETF model portfolios for members to use as their investment choices if they choose. 

Then, at last, Kim and I got to sit down with Suze.  We had our flip cameras with us and got some great video clips.  I was so thrilled to get all this awesome info and to be sitting right across from Suze!  I'm an active Twitter user, and spoke with Suze about how great it is to see her on there, @SuzeOrmanShow, interacting with her followers.  She even tweeted back at me a few months ago.  She also is relatively new on Facebook and YouTube, which are all great ways to keep up with the latest Suze information and happenings.  As a follower of Suze Orman, I know she is very much against people leasing cars as well as being in debt.  When I told her the name of my blog was “Traded My BMW for a Minivan” and “I paid cash for my BMW and traded it for my minivan at 0% financing.” Suze replied, “Good girl.” Woo hoo!  Suze Orman gave me props!   At the end of our meeting, Suze signed copies of her book “Women & Money” for us and left us inspired to go save ourselves and encourage you to do the same.

Update: Suze discontinued her Save Yourself Retirement Program at TD Ameritrade. However, all the ideas and content in the post and videos are timeless.

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