Personal finance author and CNBC television host Suze Orman stopped by the Consumer Reports headquarters in Yonkers, NY recently, for a town hall meeting with the staff. She offered some of the following advice in answer to questions.
Orman's advice included the following tips for healthy finances:
- Have an eight-month emergency fund
- Get out and stay out of credit card debt
- Make payments to your work-place 401(k) up to the amount that your employer will match, but put any additional contributions you can make into a Roth IRA.
- Do not borrow money from your 401(k).
Orman is also adamant that all adults (regardless of age) should have four financial documents in order to plan properly for the future. Several of these documents mean acknowledging the fact that someday we will be old, and as she pointed out, this is something many of us have a difficult time confronting. Her must-have list included:
- A revocable living trust
- Last Will and Testament (you need one even if you have a living trust)
- An Advanced directive and durable power of attorney for health care
- Financial power of attorney (make estate planning a family affair)
Orman's outlook for the future is that we could be in for a long and slow period of recovery. She does not predict much improvement for 2012, and said the housing market is going to bounce along for a while, but that we wont see a full recovery until about 2023. When Orman made this prediction, there was a collective groan from the Consumer Reports staffers in the room, at which point she reminded the crowd that she got the same response in 2008, when she said the economy wasn't truly going to make a full comeback until 2015 or so.
For more detailed financial advice, you can check out the interview Chris Morran of our sister site The Consumerist, had with Orman on the day that she visited.