We’re rolling into the new year, a perfect time for gurus to repeat their favorite nuggets of advice. Suze Orman, who writes a column for Yahoo Finance, has published the five best financial moves for 2007. Here are her tips, which don’t have much relationship to 2007 specifically, but are good ideas in general.
1. Lose Your Balance. Pay your credit cards off every month to avoid interest fees and late fees. I’ve been writing about credit cards lately, and I identified two types of credit card users. Type A users pay fees and do not pay down their balance while Type B users have mastered their credit cards by beating them at their own game. Suze says Type As should become Type Bs.
2. Make sure you rate high. ING Direct is falling out of favor, even with the major voices now. Suze says get your cash in HSBC Direct or Emigrant Direct where as of now it can earn more than 5% APY.
3. Win the match game. Invest enough in your company’s 401(k) to be eligible for the full company match. This is recycled from last year’s list.
4. Face your mortality. Suze suggests a term life insurance policy for protecting those who rely on you. This is not part of my 2007 plan, and won’t be until I’m no longer a single guy whose only dependent uses a litter box.
5. Stop kidding around. Here’s something I don’t hear often in the mainstream press. Suze says parents have a responsibility to teach their young children about personal finance and the value of living within one’s means.
I’m not Suze Orman’s biggest fan. I’ve seen her call-in television show and she can be nasty to the callers. I would assume the callers are familiar with the show and know what they’re getting into when they dial, but sometimes they seem to be taken by surprise. I was also not impressed when she started appearing in GM commercials touting the value of buying or leasing cars. This seemed to go against the values she reflected on her shows. For most people, living within their means would mean not buying or leasing a new car.
Nevertheless, when I can’t detect her attitude in her writing, I don’t mind her advice. It’s solid, but not particularly special.
Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published December 22, 2006.