Helping young people to get out of debt

Book: The Money Book for The Young Fabulous And Broke

Book: The Money Book for The Young Fabulous And Broke

Author: Suze Orman

Publisher: Penguin

Reviewer: Getrude Makhafola

If you want to know how to make your money and career work for you, then this is your financial manual.

This appropriately-titled book has all the answers for the hip and young who the author calls YF&Bers (Young Fabulous and Broke).

These are people in their 20s and 30s, who graduate from universities with a mountain of student-loan debt "and are stuck in one of the weakest job markets in recent history".

American Suze Orman is a well-known financial expert who recently partnered with one of the big-four South African banks to offer advice to the bank's clients and the public at large.

"This generation lives off credit cards, may or may not have health insurance and comes up so far short at the end of the month that the idea of saving money is a joke," says Orman in the introduction.

Reading this financial manual is engaging and practical. She uses day-to-day examples and refers readers to her website, which is loaded with tools and resources tailored for an individual's unique situations and needs.

She also gives reasons why one should not cancel that credit card, hire a broker or lease a car instead of just taking out a loan to finance it.

The good news for the heavily indebted and frustrated "generation broke", is that they have time on their side, says Orman.

She writes that avoiding debt and wishing it away is a waste of time, and it can have detrimental consequences.

Rehabilitating yourself and improving your credit score will lead you to the two biggest purchases - a car and a house.

Her advice? Pay off your student loan even if it takes a lifetime, try to save and invest, don't get stuck in a job that does nothing for you, but pay the bills and stop reckless spending (which is mostly done through credit cards).

After reading The Money Book For The Young Fabulous and Broke, any fabulous and broke young professional would take that first step to financial freedom without hiring an adviser, but confronting the situation.

Orman concludes: "If you do not make the right choices now, you are going to be so broke when you are older that you will be absolutely miserable."

This DIY book is relevant for South Africans, considering recent calls by local financial experts for us to tighten our belts and weather the economic storm.

The downside of the book is the excessive use of American financial terminology and systems. I found myself skipping through them because of their irrelevance to the South African situation.