Financial expert Suze Orman's advice to help you through the economic crisis

Suze Orman is one of the most recognized financial experts in the world and sat down with us to share her advice to help you through the economic crisis.

Suze has talked for years about the importance of paying down your credit cards and debt. But if you’re out of work and struggling to make ends meet right now, she suggests using your credit cards and extending your payment deferrals.

Here are excerpts from my interview with Suze:

Heather: Great to have you with us, Suze. I know people are hungry to hear any advice you might have to help people through this situation.

Her first piece of advice was to ask your credit card lenders to extend your payment deferrals.

Suze: "If you're afraid you have no money and unemployment's about to stop, that your credit card payments are going to be due, because they put you on a 3-month moratorium, or 90 days, call up your credit card companies and ask them for an addtional 90 days moratorium.

She adds, "Let's say you don't have money but you do have credit cards with available funds on them, use your credit cards to pay any bills that you can, and only pay the minimum payment due when those credit card bills come in."

Heather: That leads to my next question. Should people concentrate on saving cash or paying down debt at a time like this? And does it pain you to encourage people to add debt to their credit cards?

Suze: "It does pain me to say that. However, it doesn't in a certain way because I go all the way back to 2008 and the advice then was get out of debt using your cash. Stay out of debt because 2008 was a horrific time for everybody in the United States. And do you know what those credit card companies did? The majority of them closed down people's credit cards,  they reduced people's credit limits."

Heather: I've heard you speak many times about the emotional connection to money. What would be your advice to help people shore up their emotions, shore up their strength to move through this situation?

Suze: "The only way to conquer fear is through action. The three internal obstacles to wealth are fear, shame, and emotion.  And you have to be able to do something to get rid of that. So for instance, if you're really ashamed that you have credit card debt, you don't have any money, the best thing for you to do is to tell everybody."

You can learn more about Suze's financial advice every Thursday and Sunday on her podcast Women & Money. She also invites you to listen to a free audio recording of her latest book, The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+:  Winning strategies to make your money last a lifetime.