One of America's most recognized personal finance experts, Suze Orman, is trusted by millions of consumers looking to take control of their finances. Known for her straightforward money advice on everything from paying off student loans to choosing the right life insurance policy, Orman is a respected two-time Emmy Award-winning television host, best-selling author, and motivational speaker.
Orman made her reputation as a personal finance guru telling people how to invest and save wisely. In a recent episode of "The Suze Orman Show," she provided viewers with five "Forever Nevers," which are the worst financial moves you can make with your money. Apply Suze Orman's money advice to your life to help you save, invest and spend money better.
5. Never buy whole life, universal or variable life insurance
Permanent life insurance like whole life, universal or variable life insurance offers investment features -- but Suze Orman said not to mix insurance with investments. She explained on CNBC's "The Suze Orman Show" that permanent life insurance policies carry high commissions for insurance agents. Because insurance should be temporary -- not long term -- Orman explained, "There are plenty of savings plans other than an insurance policy that are a far smarter move."
Suze Orman's life insurance advice boils down to this: If you need life insurance, get term insurance. The difference you save on term insurance can then be invested elsewhere.
4. Never buy variable annuities
A variable annuity is an insurance product. When you deposit money into a variable annuity, the money is typically invested in mutual funds. Variable annuities are tax deferred, so you don't have to pay taxes on gains until money is withdrawn.
Variable annuities might sound nice, but Orman said variable annuities are poor investments, especially when part of retirement accounts. Rather than buy a variable annuity, Orman advised purchasing a no-load mutual fund, preferably within a retirement account. "Since the money is already sheltered within a retirement plan, you will not have to worry about tax implications," Orman explained on her website. "It is the fees from the insurance company you will be getting rid of -- and rightfully so."
3. Never withdraw or borrow from your 401k
If you're tempted to prematurely pull money from your retirement account to pay off credit cards or other debt -- don't. Orman said borrowing from or taking a loan against a retirement account is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
Prematurely withdrawing from your 401k can subject you to fees and taxes. Even if you are in deep financial trouble, your 401k is protected against bankruptcy. Borrowing against your retirement account then puts you at risk of losing your future financial security -- an investment you might never recover.
2. Never co-sign a loan
On her show, Suze Orman offered this short and simple advice: Never co-sign a loan. If a bank won't loan someone money, then you shouldn't either, even if they're your child, boyfriend, or girlfriend.
When you co-sign for a loan, you are responsible for the debt if the person you co-signed for doesn't pay up. Additionally, if they fall behind on payments your credit score could be damaged. On this topic, Orman said, "Once you have co-signed [a loan], you cannot get out of it -- even on your deathbed."
1. Never defer or default on student loans
Americans collectively owe about $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, according to the Federal Reserve. With interest rates and cripplingly high tuition costs, obtaining a college degree is bearing down on graduates' finances. But falling behind on payments, deferring or defaulting on your student loans is a big no-no, said Orman.
Under current federal law, student loans can't be written off in bankruptcy, so this type of debt is nearly impossible to escape. Although a deferment or a 20- to 25-year repayment plan might help you save money on monthly payments, you'll end up paying far more on your loan over its life. Suzie Orman's advice on student loans is this: Pay back student loans as quickly as possible -- preferably within 10 years.
Whether you're in a financial rut or have an extra bit of cash to invest, take time to consider your financial moves. Even if student loans are weighing you down, finding ways to pay them down quickly will save you a lot of money in the long run. Avoiding co-signing loans and never borrowing against your 401k can also save you from the headache of missing out on a lot of money down the road.
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com.
You may also enjoy these financial articles:
By Debbie Anderson from GoBankingRates. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.