Q: I was laid off in 2009 and have been unable to find a job since. Recently, I inherited $100,000. I'd like to start a business so I'm not at the whim of an employer. What are the best recession-proof businesses that require minimum seed funding?

Suze: I'm sympathetic to what you and millions of others are going through; with the unemployment rate still stuck at around 9 percent, it is undeniably a rough time. But my first rule of starting a business is that it must be something you're passionate about—because without that passion, you'll lack the energy and perseverance to make your business successful.

If you'd said you've been dreaming of starting a business for years, I'd be full of advice. But it seems that you view the inheritance as an escape hatch—and no one should ever open a business simply to avoid being at the whim of an employer.

I want you to put the inheritance in a totally separate savings account. Don't spend any of it on daily expenses or splurges. This is $100,000 of opportunity; you need to make the most of it. If you're truly serious about starting your own business, ask yourself this question: What work would make you happy 15 hours a day, seven days a week? That commitment is often what it takes to get a business up and running. You have the luxury of thinking broadly; perhaps your dream career requires more education. Setting aside some of your inheritance for training is a great use of the funds.

Suze Orman's new book is The Money Class: Learn to Create Your New American Dream (Spiegel & Grau).

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Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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