Saturday, October 23, 2010

Life Is Not Short

Suzie was p.o'd today because her tweet followers said that "life is short." Suze says that life is not short and she goes on to explain that her mother is 96 years old and life is not short. We need to spend the money we have now, not the money we won't have in later years.

My honest first reaction was "What has happened to Suze to make her so fearful of living past her money?" Then I thought of my 99 year old grandmother. Yiyi lives with my aunt who graciously took her aging mother in and cares for her.

Parents in the US and in other countries instinctively wish the best for their children. Many hope that their children will do better financially than they did for themselves. In order to help them beat the odds, parents take money from their own retirement funds to pay for their children's college.

According to Suze, and Clark Howard for that matter. Taking money from your retirement is huge no-no. They can tell you all of the financial reasons, but lets consider the social reasons a parent might do this. If a parent is relying on their children to care for them as they age, it might make sense to that parent to help their children get through college and gain the ability to earn a higher wage.

Suze isn't telling anyone to care any less for their children; she's saying don't count on anyone but yourself to fund your future. What better gift to our children, then to be able to fund our own care in our aging years.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Suzie's "Can I Afford It" segment is said to be the most popular part of her show. Today she said that many of us are falling back into bad habits and spending more than we can afford.

I laughed out loud when she denied a 26 year old an $800 kayak purchase because she didn't give Suzie all the information. The girl had received a $30,000 inheritance and forgot to list it on the producer's paperwork. I'd like to see more people throw Suzie for a loop with additional information; only because it makes for good television.

Today's show ended with "Last Call." A mom called in asking if she should bail out her daughter and her new family by paying off their credit cards for them. She did this for her once before, but now that she has a newborn, she has over 12K in consumer debt again.

Suzie gave a pretty ugly growl and told the mom to let her daughter "suffer." Her advice was that the best lesson for people was poverty.

Poverty really is a life lesson.

Having little or no money forms habits that can be life changing. Basic life habits like avoiding movie theaters, restaurants and mlm parties become a part of you. I have four children and families with only one child and two incomes do not always understand why I pass on invitations to dinner after work. (dinner for 6 costs quite a bit.)

The good news is that many people in our wonderful country live at or below the poverty level. If you look closely, these families are often the tightest, happiest families you can find. They spend time as a family doing things that don't cost a lot.

This mom's daughter has a long way to go before she really understands poverty. Having a load of debt is not the same as having no income....but as Suzie explains, without an emergency fund, poverty really can be right around the corner.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Find someone to keep you honest

One of my favorite things about Suze is that she is on every weekend. Watching her show week after week keeps my goals upfront and top of mind. It also means that I have a date every weekend; not with Suze, but with my sister.

Although she lives over 900 miles away from me, her family and mine watch The Suze Orman Show together. We text comments to each other about the "can I afford it" section and say things like "I told you!"
Even our 9 and 11 year old children text each other during and about the show. ...we also got very excited when each of received a "tweet" from Suze...hers said "thank you."

What;s best about my sister and I watching Suze's show each week is that we have someone to talk openly with about money. Suze says to grab your special someone and have a money talk, but she might not understand the effect she's had on my sister and me.

Somehow we grew up thinking that we shouldn't talk about money out loud with people. We kept quiet as we buried ourselves in debt, often because we feared not showing enough affection toward others if we didn't buy them gifts with money we didn't earn yet.

Now that we watch the show together, my sister and I talk honestly about our goals, we confess our sins of occasional overspending, and share the excitement of all the ways we've saved money. We openly discuss what we earn, how we spend it, and where we put it.

We hold each other accountable by saying "I'm telling Suze on you" or celebrate each other's triumps of repaid debt and money saved. If you don't have a sister like this, you should get one.