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Suze Orman: 'It's never too late to start a new chapter in your life'

Suze Orman.
Source: Kathy Travis

At the start of the decade, Suze Orman had it all: she hosted popular TV shows, wrote regular columns in national magazines and had a speaking gig that took her all over the world.

But it took shutting it all down in 2016, when she retired at 65, to teach her an important lesson: "It's never too late to start a new chapter in your life," Orman tells CNBC Make It.

From left to right, Suze Orman, Kathy Travis, Richard Branson, Vivian Tam and guest attend Time's 100 most influential people in May 2010 in New York City.
Jemal Countess

This past decade has brought major changes to the personal finance expert's life: a boat, a different place to call home, a marriage and a new outlook. But it's also been the decade that proved the recipe for financial freedom she's been sharing with fans for years can really work.

Looking back at life 10 years ago

Back in 2010, Orman spent most of her life in transit. "It was totally non-stop," she says. On a typical day, she'd wake up at 5:00 a.m. and commute with her partner Kathy "KT" Travis (they married in South Africa in 2010) from Manhattan to the CNBC studios in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

In the makeup chair by 7 a.m., Orman says it was then "lights, camera, action" until around 1 p.m. Orman would typically shoot two to three shows back-to-back throughout the morning and often stop at Carmine's on Manhattan's Upper West Side for a late lunch.

Suze Orman and her wife, KT, fishing in Cabo.
Source: Kathy Travis

Then it was home, which at the time was a $4 million apartment at the Plaza Hotel.

But work was far from over. Once home, Orman would take a hot bath, followed by conference calls with producers to review the show segments for the next day. "I would spend almost another three hours studying my guests and then be off to do the nightly shows on CNN and then back to the apartment by midnight to do it all over again," Orman says.

And that was just the weekdays. On many weekends, she would head to the QVC studios in Pennsylvania to do almost five hours of live shows. Other weekends, she'd jump on a plane to give a talk, returning in time for her Monday morning 5 a.m. start.

The pace of life today

Fast forward 10 years: Orman still gets up at 5 a.m., but these days it's so she and KT can go fishing. "Rather than getting ready to go to a studio, we head out to our boat to go fishing as the sun rises," she says, adding that the fish love to bite at first light.

"I'm the captain of our boat and KT is first mate," Orman says, adding that she bought her first boat back in 2010, a Sea Ray, and learned how to captain the vessel. "Thought I died and went to heaven!" Orman says of the experience.

Most days, the two are back home by 9 a.m. and having breakfast together on the front porch. Home these days looks different — Orman traded in her Plaza Hotel accommodations for a private island in the Bahamas.

I still love saving more than I do spending.
Suze Orman

"I still love saving more than I do spending," Orman admits, but adds that her biggest expense now that she's an avid "fisherwoman" is fishing lures.

Yet despite the island retreat, she hasn't stayed completely retired. Orman created the Women & Money podcast, which she can broadcast from the island. "Yes, I still work. But only when I want to or I feel like it," she says.

"We are totally independent and love that we can do it all ourselves," Orman says. "As I approach 70, now I have learned to slow down and value every second I have with KT. I have enough money — I just want more time."

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Suze Orman reveals what's in her wallet
Suze Orman reveals what's in her wallet