Suze Orman, financial expert and bestselling author of "Women and Money," has plenty of financial advice to offer, from how much you should save for retirement to when you should pay off your mortgage.
The main thing she urges people not to do with their money, though, has nothing to do with savings accounts, debt or how to invest.
"The No. 1 thing that I wish you would stop doing with your money is letting it define you," she tells CNBC Make It. "Your money, your clothes, your cars, the homes you live in, the schools you send your kids to, the little backpacks you put on their backs so everybody thinks they're so adorable — none of those things will define you."
Spending money in order to portray yourself a certain way never pays off, she says: "As long as you spend money so that everybody thinks that you have money, so you look the part, but you're not really — you're just a financial liar."
It's a lesson she learned firsthand. "I will never, ever forget when I wanted to impress a girlfriend, this woman I was dating, who was seriously wealthy. She was far more wealthy than me at this time," Orman explains. "I didn't have money, so what did I do? I leased a BMW 750iL.
"I went and I took money out of my 401(k) plan so I could buy a Cartier watch so I could impress her. I did every single thing that I am telling you not to do."
The car payments alone cost her $800 a month, and she quickly realized that she didn't even really like the woman she was trying to impress. Looking back, she calls the experience "the most stupid thing I've ever done with money."
Orman learned that it's never worth the cost to buy things in order to prove your worth to people you "don't know or like."
What you buy won't make you smarter or cooler or a better person, so don't let your net worth define you. "Stop lying to yourself and live in your truth," Orman says. "All that matters in life is that you do what's right, versus doing what's easy."
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