Controlling Your Finances: An Interview with Suze Orman

Be sure to read the interview that The Home Story did with Suze Orman about gaining control of your finances as a first-time home buyer or recent college graduate.


Gain ‘Confidence, Control, and Command’ Over Your Finances: An Interview With Suze Orman

By Laura Lang Haverty

New graduates focused on landing that first “real” job should also be making choices to help them gain control over their financial futures — for good. Suze Orman, an expert on personal finance, shares her thoughts with The Home Story to get you thinking in the right direction.

Suze Orman knows what it’s like to work your way up.

Long before she became a personal finance guru, the author of multiple New York Times bestsellers, and an Emmy Award-winning television host, Orman was a 30-year-old with a college degree who was earning $400 a month working as a waitress. In other words, Orman knows what it’s like being a recent college graduate just learning how to handle personal finances.

The Home Story spoke with Orman to get her advice on how to tackle student debt, how to save for both emergencies and retirement, and what young people need to know about wills and trusts.

The Home Story: Student loan debt is at the top of your “must pay” items, even before paying mortgage or rent. Can you talk about why it’s so important to prioritize student loan debt?

Suze: Even if you were to declare bankruptcy, you would still have to pay off your student loans. They are not “dischargeable” (forgiven) in bankruptcy. Credit card debt, mortgage debt, car loan debt can all be discharged, but not student loan debt.

THS: Often young adults are attracted by certain credit card “rewards,” yet only make minimum payments. Can you summarize what credit card debt really costs and steps they can take to break free?

Suze: If you are paying just the minimum that means you have a running balance on a card. And that balance is charged interest. A lot of interest. The average rate these days is around 14 percent per year. So let’s say you have a $1,000 balance, you pay 14 p