Book Review: Suze Orman’s The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke


I admire Suze Orman’s delivery of a financial fix-up book to an important group that needs help.  The target audience – described succinctly in the title – clearly needs advice from somewhere.

In The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke she addresses the educated twenty-something who’s just started a working-career but has dug him or herself a financial hole early-on.   As I am in the process of writing a personal finance book for a similar demographic, I paid particular attention to her techniques and knowledge.

I can’t fault the advice – pay off high-interest credit cards, try to find meaningful work you don’t hate, remember to ask for a raise, scrimp and save wherever you can, know your FICO score, and try to avoid bankruptcy if you possibly can because the consequences are long-lasting and serious. 

All this seems basically correct.  The advice is sound. 

In addition, she fills at least half of every chapter with an accessible question-and-answer format – “I’m thinking of filing bankruptcy, here’s my balance sheet, etc, should I?”  “I co-signed for my friend’s credit card account, now the collection agencies are calling, etc, what should I do?”  All good and useful.

Here’s the problem: I would personally never pick up this book, and it’s mostly because of the tone.  I find her ‘hipness’ robotic and forced.  Not that I am hip personally and have a hip platform from which to judge others’ hipness, but I’d like to think I at least own my non-hipness.[1]   

Suze Orman’s hipness seems to be a calculated, search-engine optimized, consultant-approved uber-casual hipness that sounds the opposite of casual.  You know those fifty-somethings who use the lingo wrong?  Or slightly too earnestly?  That’s the tone of Young Fabulous & Broke.

I’m not even the youthful audience she’s addressing, and I found this to be nails-on-the-chalkboard annoying. 

How can I explain this off-putting tone problem?  Ah, I have found a way! 

The applicable cliché:  A picture is worth a thousand words.[2]  

Check out the cover of this book.

Suze Orman Book

This is all so funny and hip my smile is frozen in place. 

Maniacal laugh.  Maniacal laugh.

 

Please see related post: All Bankers Anonymous Book Reviews in one place.


[1] How about I call myself ‘nerd-chic?’  Would that be ok?

[2] Another applicable phrase, borrowed from Jack Handey: “The face of a child says it all.  Especially the mouth part of the face.”

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3 Replies to “Book Review: Suze Orman’s The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke”

  1. Young people want older people to act like older people.

    Jack Handey rocks! I can say that as one old person to another. [1]

    [1] “Old” defined as “over 30” or if over 30 then “anyone more than 15 years older than you”. [2]

    [2] Don’t complain. You started all the footnote stuff.

  2. I am between 25 and 30 and I checked her YBF book out of the library about a year ago. I laughed at a few things but mostly found her book very digestible. Glad to hear you approve of the content at least.

    1. I have no problem with the content…and her overall message to people – “You Can’t Afford It!” is an important lesson. She’s working for the side of good. I just object to her style.

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I founded Bankers Anonymous because, as a recovering banker, I believe that the gap between the financial world as I know it and the public discourse about finance is more than just a problem for a family trying to balance their checkbook, or politicians trying to score points over next year’s budget – it is a weakness of our civil society. For reals. It’s also really fun for me.

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