eMerge Americas

Suze Orman shares the biggest money mistake almost everyone makes

No matter what your goal is — a bigger house, early retirement or getting out of debt — everyone wants to boost their income.

But do you know what to do when you finally earn enough money to reach those financial milestones? Probably not.

That's according to Suze Orman, financial expert and former CNBC television host, who told the audience at the eMerge Americas conference in Miami, Fla., "I'm worried about you. Every single one of you I'm worried about, because you're focusing on success, which is great, but you're not focusing on making more out of less."

Suze Orman speaking at the eMerge Americas conference in Miami on June 12, 2017.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Suze Orman speaking at the eMerge Americas conference in Miami on June 12, 2017.

The biggest mistake Orman sees people everywhere make is that they're not taking an active role in handling their own money. Everyone is focused on the hustle, but few dedicate the same effort to responsibly managing their funds.

"The biggest problem is when you do make it big and you don't know what to do with your money," she says. "Because then, what happens is some financial advisor is going to come by and give you a slick presentation, they're going to give you an elevator speech and a pitch and you're going to take it. And you're going to lose everything that you have worked for."

Even if you're thinking, "I'm smart enough to avoid getting swindled by a dishonest advisor," you could still be digging your own grave if you're mindlessly racking up credit card debt or neglecting to pay down your student loans.

It's important not to get so wrapped up in your other projects that you're not paying attention to your financial health. You will never have financial freedom if you are in debt, Orman says.

"Not one of you in this room has an excuse of why you aren't dealing with your money," Orman tells the eMerge audience. "Do you know your FICO score? Do you have credit card debt? Do you know how to get out of credit card debt? Do you know what type of retirement account to have? Do you know how to buy a home?"

The crux of the issue is power. While most people feel empowered to take ownership over their careers and personal lives, they drop the ball when it comes to their finances, Orman observes. But unfortunately, "you will never be powerful in life until you are powerful over your own money," she says. "How you think about it, how you feel about it, and how you invest it."

Snag inspiration from Orman and learn how to get out of debt, save up to afford a house, become a millionaire or work toward whatever your individual financial goal may be.

"If you want to be powerful in life, you have to be powerful over your own money," Orman says.

So start there.

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