I downloaded Suze Orman’s The Money Class: Learn to Create Your New American Dream last night from my local library, and read it through.
As always I like her comments and really appreciate her integrated approach: that is, money is a reflection of what’s going on inside us, and in our lives. With that said, I’ve found her books to be a bit repetitive over the past few years.
But this one is thought-provoking. Ms. Orman has always maintained that when it comes to money, we have to be honest, reality-based, and values-oriented in dealing with finances: nothing new there. But she also observes some changes on the horizon, and I find it refreshing to hear someone assert what a lot of us have been suspecting for some time.
Ms. Orman says, and I have to agree, that while the market is slowly emerging from the worst of the slump, the years of excesses will continue to result in very slow job growth in the US and elsewhere. (Best case scenario is that she’s wrong on that, but I don’t think she is.)
She also seems to infer that the concept of a stand-alone home for everyone may be outdated, and I have to agree with that as well. A stand-alone home is just not affordable for many families — especially the giant “monster-homes” people have been buying since the 1980′s — and also, because it’s no longer feasible for family members to transport to and from the suburbs on an every day basis. People can’t afford two cars driving back and forth every day, and the environment can’t sustain that model any more.
I think we need to get used to the idea that people need to live closer to one another and to services, and that means more shared (apartment/condo) housing, and more densification, at least for adults. (People raising small children may continue to opt for the suburban option, because more outdoor space).
She also says what we’ve all been thinking for the last decade or so, which is that the idea of “retirement”, at least at 65, is passe. Ms. Orman says continue to work at least part time as long as you possibly can, putting off the day you begin old age benefits in order to maximize your return. I think that’s the only way to plan it.
Okay – no suburban home, 2-car family, fully pensioned age-65 retirement — so what’s left? The news is not all bad. Check the CashUniversity Blog for more.