Why Suze Orman Says These 3 Things Are the 'Enemies of Wealth'

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  • Fear, desire, and greed all play a role in preventing you from building wealth.
  • The first step is identifying what's holding you back. 

The trick to building wealth may be identifying the traits that are holding you back.

In 2020, Suze Orman used her podcast, Women and Money, to discuss three things that prevent us from building wealth. According to Orman, how successful we are financially depends on how well we harness three traits: fear, desire, and greed. 


The week Orman taped her podcast, the stock market dropped by 5%. If you were to illustrate the stock market's behavior that week, it would look like a mountain range, with huge drops followed by huge gains. For someone who dwells in fear, it would have been enough to pull their money out of the market entirely. And yet, in the long term, those who stick with the market build wealth. 

"So, stop watching these daily fluctuations because when that affects your emotional state, then everything starts to go haywire," Orman told her listeners. 

Orman says it's fear that prevents people from living a life of wealth. She talks about the many kinds of fears. Some are afraid they're never going to have enough, while others have a fear of failure. 

"So many of you are so afraid to even try, to even try investing," Orman said.

She reminds people of the impressive things they're already doing, including holding down jobs and parenting children. Orman added, "But yet when it comes to money, you are so afraid. You are so afraid to take one step towards your money that you are just paralyzed." 

According to Orman, fear renders a person powerless to take action, ultimately undermining their future. 


Orman spoke of a mother of two she knows who earns $19,000 a year. Over the years, she and this woman have kept in touch. Recently, Orman saw a photo of the woman and noticed that she was sporting new tattoos. Knowing that the woman lives in an expensive city and is trying to raise two children, Orman asked her how much she spent on the body art. The woman told her that she had spent $386.

"And I said, 'what are you talking about?'" Orman told her audience. "You just wrote to me the other day, and you said that you're always going to be poor." 

The woman's response was, "Yeah. I've wanted one for so long."

According to Orman, it's the desire to live like our neighbors are living, to have fancy cars, the latest electronic gadget, and all the things we think we deserve that hold us back. Orman said, "You don't deserve things. You deserve security. You deserve happiness. You deserve freedom. You deserve those kinds of things." 

Orman says that a continual desire to have more is a major enemy to building wealth. She reminded listeners of a recent survey showing how many people in the U.S. could not cover a $400 emergency. Still, she said, if you walk through their homes, you'd see far more than $400 in stuff they don't even use anymore. 


Orman says there's nothing wrong with making a lot of money and creating wealth, but some people get to the point where they can never have enough. She points to those who invest all their money in stocks they believe will make them rich, only to lose it all. If they hadn't been so greedy, they might have taken the wiser approach of diversifying their portfolios with index funds.

If Orman's right, the things that stand in the way of building wealth are identifiable. And if they can be identified, you can overcome them.

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