On the show

'Is it too early to contribute to a retirement plan?' Suze Orman dishes out financial advice

May 13, 2014 at 11:26 AM ET

Considering starting a college fund for your child? Not sure how to combine finances as a married couple? Suze Orman stopped by TODAY on Monday and Tuesday to answer these questions and other money blunders.  

Video: As part of TODAY’s “Taking Control of Your Money” series, the financial guru joins TODAY to answer questions about financial security.

As a college student, is it too early to start contributing to a retirement plan? If it’s not too early, which type do you recommend?

It’s never too soon. If you put $2,000 into a Roth IRA at 8 percent interest today, you will have $94,000 in 40 years. If you put $2,000 per year into a Roth IRA, you can have more than $1 million in 50 years.

My husband and I just bought a home and still have car and student loan payments. We want to start a college fund for my son, but should we wait until our student loans are paid off to start doing so?

Student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, so I would not be starting right now until the student loans are under control.

I’m getting married in a couple of months. What is the best way to combine our accounts and credit cards without hurting our credit score?

Combining your savings isn’t what’s going to hurt your credit score. What hurts your credit score is if you pay your bills late or if you spend too much on credit in comparison to what you have. The best way to save your FICO score is to pay your bills on time, don’t charge those credit cards and don’t worry about the rest in terms of savings. The real question is: Do you have a prenup? You should get a prenup when you're in a state of love, not when you're in a state of hate. 

Video: As part of TODAY’s “Taking Control of Your Money” series, the financial guru joins TODAY to answer questions about how to afford taking care of the people in your life.

We have one son in college, another about to go to school and a third hoping to attend law school. We also have an 80-year-old parent living with us. What is our financial obligation to our family members, especially while we’re both already working multiple jobs?

Why do you feel that you need to be obligated to pay for your children? We make it when we have to do it on our own. As far as your father goes, it’s an honor to take care of your parents, but kids? This isn’t about desire to help, it's about guilt. Say ‘no’ out of of love for yourself, versus ‘yes’ out of fear that they won’t love you.

We’re expecting our first child this fall. How do we start planning a budget for our bigger family, while still paying off debt and the possibility of one of us not returning to work once the baby is born?

Let’s play baby. The average cost of having a baby today is about $1,300 a month. So let’s pretend you have already had a baby to see if you can afford to quit your job. Take 100 percent of the mom's salary and put it in the bank. Then take $1,300-$1,500 a month from the dad's salary and put that in the bank. If you can make it on what's left over from the father's salary, you know you can afford a baby without the mom having to return to work. 

How do I explain to my 24-year-old son that I cannot co-sign a car loan, and it’s not a personal issue, but a monetary issue? I am tired of hearing his, ‘You don’t want to help me, Mom!”

You have to tell your son that you don’t want to sign, not that you can’t. I couldn't be more against the idea of co-signing a loan because when you do, you become the one responsible for that loan. Most of the time when you are asked to co-sign, it’s because the other person can’t qualify on their own. If they can’t qualify on their own, you’re going to get stuck.


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