Why now’s the time for women

In part 2 of our exclusive with Suze Orman, she tells us how a sluggish global economy presents an opportunity for women to thrive like never before.

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If Suze Orman were down to her last $1000, she’d give some of it away to charity and the rest she’d put to work trying to make the best of a bad situation.

The personal finance superstar and multi-million dollar media personality believes that it’s often having to dig deep when the chips are down that can be a woman’s greatest strength, especially when economic conditions are weak, like they are now.

“Now this is going to be one of the strangest things I have ever said,  but one way I have noticed that women take charge financially and become as money strong as they are capable of becoming, is when they have to rise to the financial struggles that a slow economy presents,” she told Financy.

“This is because a woman will do anything and everything to make sure her family is financially okay.  So she will dig deep and even amaze herself as to how truly financially capable she is.

“What is miraculous about the work ethic of many women, especially if they have a family, is women will work three or four jobs, it doesn’t matter if they only get to sleep two hours a night to make sure that their family is okay.”

Orman is a highly successful business woman, who has made her fortune advising people on what they should do with their money through her books, presentations and television shows.

“When it comes to investing you have to invest in what you understand and what makes you feel powerful, she said, adding that if she were down to her last $1000 and was able to pay her bills then she would invest in an exchange traded fund that pay healthy dividends. 

These days, 95 per cent of her portfolio is invested conservatively in municipal bonds, and a small and substantial amount is in about 50 individual stocks, including speculative companies.

An even smaller amount is in property after she sold a handful of homes after the financial crisis.

While she doesn’t foresee another property market crash, she says global economic growth will remain sluggish for some time yet – which is in line with expectations from the International Monetary Fund.

But she also believes that a slow growth economy presents an opportunity for women to work harder and to be greater working role models to their children.

“I’m 65 and even though my Mamma always had to work, none of my friend’s mothers ever had to work,” she said, adding that many men deserved a shout-out for their support to women and being more willing to swap roles away from being the traditional breadwinner and wanting to spend more time as stay-at-home Dads.

During the 2008 financial crisis, Orman said that she witnessed many women, particularly single mums who were so fearful of the uncertainty in the economy that they jumped at taking on all sorts of jobs from bartending to waitressing just to keep money coming in.

Whereas she said many hardworking men who lost high paying jobs during the crisis, took longer to find work because they were so shattered and thought the economy would bounce back, but it just didn’t.

“What I had noticed is that men that had jobs of $210,000 a year refused to go back to work if all they could get was a job paying $80,000 a year.

“It wasn’t until they lost their homes that the men were forced to go back to work and become drivers and things like that. But for the longest time they refused to settle for less to get money coming in.”

She added that in a previous high growth economic environments there have been less opportunities.

“When business is great, businesses will do everything possible to cut back so that they have more on their balance sheet for the hard times.

“Obviously in a higher growth environment, one would think that would give women more of an opportunity to get a job and pay them more. But I don’t think it works that way. When you look at how wages haven’t really increased all that much at all for all these years.”

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