Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Women told to ponder finances

Orman: Many learn too late

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DOWNTOWN - Best-selling author Suze Orman shared her financial advice and recounted her rise to fame and fortune before a near-capacity crowd of about 2,600 Tuesday night at the Aronoff Center for the Arts.

Speaking as part of the Smart Talk Women's Lecture Series, the 53-year-old author of six New York Times best sellers said women need to take control of their finances.

"We really don't know how to communicate about the most important thing in our lives - our money," Orman told her predominately female audience.

She recounted a conversation with eight women during a private reception prior to her talk where they all pointed to one woman who they thought was doing a good job handling her family finances. When she asked the woman what would happen to the financial situation if her husband died, the woman answered, "I wouldn't have a clue," Orman said.

"The time you are suffering an emotional loss is not the time to learn about handling your money'' she said. "You've got to get involved and you have to get involved now."

Orman, who was introduced as "a one-woman powerhouse of financial advice," recounted how she overcame a speech impediment, the theft of all her assets by an employee of a brokerage firm and $250,000 in credit card debt, to author more best-selling books than she has read herself.

During her talk, Orman, a certified professional planner and a personal finance editor on CNBC-TV, credited the Queen City for helping spark her fledgling writing career. During her first book tour in 1995, she quickly became "accustomed to nobody showing up," she said.

But on her 13th or 14th stop on the tour, when she appeared at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, she was greeted by a crowd of 200.

"For that reason I owe my career to this city here," she said.

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