Suze Orman Helps You Earn More and Keep It

suze orman Suze Orman hasn't always been a personal finance guru. Her father, a Russian immigrant, owned a deli on the South Side of Chicago and when she was older, she moved to Berkeley, Calif., and became a waitress. When she was able to borrow enough to start her own restaurant, she lost all her money in about four months.

But Orman learned from her mistakes. She found out that the broker who had financially ruined her was dealing illegally, and she sued. She got all her money back and got a job at the very brokerage she'd sued, Merrill Lynch.

She went on to work at Prudential Bache, then started her own firm, and began writing books and giving financial advice on PBS and others until she got where she is today -- with her own show on CNBC and frequent appearances on Oprah's network (OWN), along with a shelf-full of best sellers and a wall-full of awards and honorary degrees.

Orman specializes in simple, no-nonsense personal finance advice, and recently gave some exclusive tips to AOL Jobs readers:

Q. What's the biggest salary mistake people make when getting a job?

A. You think that your salary is what it's all about. But it isn't. Here's the key: Don't go for the money. You are to make those that you are dependent on for a salary dependent on you. If you're out there and you're looking for a job right now, you shouldn't care about what they're going to pay you. You should care that you land the job. You're not asking about money, so you're not like everyone else. Get that job, then make them dependent on you!

You come in at 7AM if you're supposed to be there at 8AM. You stay until 6PM or 7PM if you're supposed to leave at 5PM. You make everybody stand up and take notice of you. Once they've done that, once you've shown them how invaluable you are, once they are dependent upon you, then you have them exactly where you want them and then you can name your salary. But don't go into a job thinking, "Oh, it's all about the salary." No. It's all about the job to begin with.

Q. Can you give us some advice for making the most of our benefits?

A. One of the biggest mistakes that many of you make is this: You work for a corporation, they offer you a retirement plan, known as a 401K, and they match your contribution -- you put in a dollar, they give you 50 cents. But you think, "I can't afford that! I have to pay my bills. I don't have enough money to save that much." Are you kidding me? If you put in a dollar and they give you 50 cents, that's an automatic 50 percent return on your money! You can't pass up free money! However, here's some advice: You are only to contribute up to the point of the match that your employer makes. If your employer will match up to six percent, that's what you save.

One of the other mistakes you make, is when you do have money in your 401K plan and you're needing money, something's going wrong, and you think to yourself, "I'm going to take a loan from my 401K." Don't you dare! Why? Simply put, money in your 401K is money you have never paid taxes on. When you take a loan, you pay it back with money you've already paid taxes on. Later on in life, when you go to take the money out again, guess what? You're going to pay taxes on that money again. For joy! You've just double taxed yourself! Also, if you happen to lose your job, guess what? The loan is due and payable. And if you don't have the money, you'll owe ordinary income tax and perhaps a 10 percent penalty if you're not of age.

AOL Jobs Asks
Suze Orman
5 Quick Questions

1. What was your first job? Working in my dad's little chicken shack when I was 12 or 13 years old and then I was a waitress all the way till I was 30.

2. What inspires you? I'm inspired by the truth. I'm inspired by people succeeding against all odds. And most of all I'm inspired by music.

3. What is the most important trait needed to succeed? The ability to stand in the truth.

4. What is your biggest challenge? Losing weight.

5. What is the best career advice you ever received? Grace is above praise and blame.

Q. Can you share some tips for stretching an unemployment check?

A. All right, so you've lost your job and now you're on unemployment. Here's the problem: Even though you're on unemployment and you probably have somewhat of a savings account set aside, you don't change your ways. You keep thinking, "I'm on unemployment, but I'm gonna get a job sooner rather than later." So you continue to spend as if you weren't on unemployment. You continue to go out to eat, you continue to go to the movies, you continue to do everything that you want to do. Maybe you're depressed because you don't have a job so you continue to spend even more than you did when you did have a job.

The way that you stretch unemployment checks is just stop spending. Stop spending, people! Act as if you aren't going to get a job for at least eight months to a year, because you know what? That may be true. So cut everything in half. Cut everything off that you can. But just save, save, save, and you'll see that your unemployment check will go further than you ever thought.

Q. How about some advice for negotiating better pay?

A. OK, so here you are, you've been working for a company, and you want a pay raise. But you're hearing all over the place, "We're not giving any pay raises, we're not giving any promotions, we're doing so horrible right now, all of you should feel lucky just to have a job." Don't you believe it! If you want a pay raise, you need to learn how to ask the question correctly. So many of you go in, and you say to your boss, for example, "I want a $5,000 raise." When you ask a question like that and your boss says no, what are you going to say?

You need to ask the question this way: "I would like you to give me either a $5,000 per year or a $10,000 per year raise." That is not a yes or no question. You've caught your boss off guard. Walk in there with all the confidence in the world.

Q. How do you determine if you're being paid fairly, and what do you do if you're not?

A. We're still not in a good economy. And I don't think we're going to be in a good economy for a number of years yet. So you might ask yourself, "Am I being paid fairly? Am I being paid as much as I think I should be paid? Is somebody else being paid more than me?" That is not the attitude at this point in time that I would adopt. I would adopt the attitude of "Thank God I have a job. Thank God I'm being paid at all." Do you know how many people are out there would take your job in a heartbeat if they could?

There are millions and millions of people out there that lost their jobs and they can't get another job. Productivity has increased, corporations have found ways to do things without you, so now they're making more money with less people. You need to reevaluate how you're thinking at this point in time. Does it have to be this way forever? No! Years from now maybe you can go in and renegotiate.

But for right now, are you happy? Are you satisfied with where you're working? Don't compare what other people are making. Do you feel like you're being respected? It's all about you right now. So if you feel good, if you're happy, leave it alone.

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Susi Orman, You must get in touch with the real world. Working class middle class. We do not call the shots anymore. We have to work for the money to pay the bills not just for self gratification. If we don't make enough money we loose it all and many have already. So don't tell us not to worry about money . Maybe you don't have to but most of us live week to week and make lunch and coffee at home and don't spend friviolously so unless you want to give me a job making enough to pay my bills keep your thoughts to yourself.

March 07 2011 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dear sir/modam
I hope to archieve new life.
I a m the young who completed my advance secondary studies
and know im looking fo job espessial HOTEL MANAGEMANT which
is my proffessional.

January 30 2011 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is this a joke? Don't go for the money? Maybe if you're 20 and in an entry level first job. If you undervalue your worth, so will your employer. Raises are NOT guaranteed in this current business world, even if you are a top performer. That only applies to CEO's who can run money-losing companies but still get bonuses. The rest of the 98% of the workforce including managers need to look out for ourselves and devaluing yourself to "get the job" is not the way.

January 28 2011 at 5:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If we had more woman running buisneses, then i would be more then willing to fill all of their openings." Could even move in for a while and park my big truck inside their little garage and put in those extra hours."

January 26 2011 at 11:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A fraud and has no right to give this lame advice. Or talk to Sudemeyer the way she did. She lost all of my respect. how about have a fellow womans back instead of call her a joke to have more children at one time then you are brave enough to have. Is she even a mother? You are a joke and you stink

January 25 2011 at 11:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Phil Bittle


January 25 2011 at 9:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe Suzie should try working a real job today. Even with excellent performance reviews and recognition....the answer is always things are tough...its not in the more with less. Those that have will always have and those that don't....well.....won't. Yes this is the land where anything is possible....its just not as easy as many of the financial guru's make it seem. The irony is that companies are posting record profits due to the hardworkers remaining..and yet...they still won't share the rewards. The gap from the top salaries to the average workers continues to grow in this country. Always make you laugh..or cry..when companies say times are tough while giving huge raises/bonuses to the chosen ones.

January 25 2011 at 8:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We need to stop relying on our bosses to notice our good work and turn to God. He's a far better provider for us then our bosses. And he rewards those who earnestly seek Him. We need a come to Jesus meeting......

January 25 2011 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Do Suze ever stand in the line of unemployment? No. So she doesen't know what people felt and always worry about finding jobs even they look for a job for a year or more. So, tell us how to save money on unemployment and savings if you have one? Guess not.

January 25 2011 at 7:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brenda Seals

As a businesswoman who owns my own business, she is right-on as far as raises! I am always looking for the employee who will come in a little early and stay a little late and not watch the clock all day long. Employers DO notice when an employee is slacking. If you aren't getting raises, maybe you need to look at yourself and what type of employee you really are. I have employees I have not given a single raise to in a year. They are the ones who come in late fairly often and tend to call in sick. But, I have given at least two or three raises to those who are always there on time, start work on time, take their alloted time for lunch and aren't watching the clock at 4:30 and start winding down and loafing off for thirty minutes. There are too many people looking for jobs. You need to step up the game and make the employer value YOU!

January 25 2011 at 7:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Brenda Seals's comment

I have owned 7 businesses (three of which were corporations and one of them with over 80 employees) in my life, and you (bgs) should have realized by now that you think differently as a business owner, if you don't, you end up writing pay checks for all of your employees and you go home with nothing (which happened more than I would like to admit to). As a business owner, if I wanted the guy/gal bad enough, I would pay what they wanted. If the skill level was not high, they would have to live with a low wage. PERIOD!

January 25 2011 at 7:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RB in CA

I’m a capitalist and an economist, so I understand your hierarchal, supply-and-demand mentality, BUT…

Did it ever occur to you that your employees are coming in late and slacking off because they are burned out on the job? Or perhaps they have to leave on time because they need to get to daycare before 6:00 to pick up their children? Did you consider the possibility that your “best employees” have no lives outside of the office and only put in all the extra time in an effort to provide a small sense of fulfillment in their otherwise empty lives? Have you looked inward and asked yourself if the work environment you provide for your employees is stimulating, challenging and also rewarding? Does everyone understand that all their hard work and diligence will be rewarded? Or do they feel like a proverbial carrot has been dangled in front of them but that carrot continues to move away no matter how hard or long they try to reach it?

January 25 2011 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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