Friday, January 20, 2012

What I think about Suze

I recorded, and subsequently watched, Suze Orman's new show "Money Class".

I was less than impressed.

She makes a big deal about what she calls "standing in your truth". About how what you have - the brand of your clothing, your cars, furniture, vacations, etc. - doesn't have anything to do with who you really are. Who you really are is manifested in your kindness, your courage, your integrity, your good heart, your artistic soul, your whatever. And so forth.

Which sounds all great and everything. But then she goes on to tell people that the last thing you should pay when money is tight are your credit card bills. The most important debt that you should pay off is your student loan debt. Why? Because you can't get rid of student loan debt by declaring bankruptcy. You still have to pay it off. Next in the order of importance is mortgage and car loans because the lien holders can take those things away from you if you don't make your payments. And you still have to put gas in the gas tank and food in your belly. You have to keep the electricity and other utilities going. Credit card bills are "unsecured" debt so nothing can happen to you if you don't pay them.

One lady Suze interviewed had made a deal with the bank that held her mortgage. She needed to reduce her payments because she had lost her job and her bank cooperated with her and she was able to stay in her home. Because she remained unemployed for a long time she was now having trouble making even the drastically reduced payment. Her bank was now talking about foreclosure, and this, understandably, was a great sorrow to the lady. Suze asked her what her original loan amount was - $209,000. She asked what other condos in her building were currently going for - $100-150,000. (Hello, real estate bust!) Suze advised her that her best bet was to let the bank foreclose on her, "repair" her credit, and come back in a few years and buy another condo at half price.

What in the world do these things have to do with "standing in your truth"? How are you truthful or integrous when you buy merchandise on credit or sign a loan with a bank, and then decide it's in your best interest to un-shoulder these burdens? People realize that these debts don't just disappear, right? They get passed on to everybody else. Maybe you are feeling a great burden lifted off your shoulders, but everyone else's burden just got a little more weighty. But hey, as long as you feel better, right?

What's the moral difference between government bailouts of big corporations and people defaulting on their mortgages, car notes, and unsecured debts?


  1. I've always wondered what the adjective is for the noun "integrity"--thanks for enlightening me.

    It doesn't sound like her does it? I guess the economic burdens carried around by many people have become harder and more onerous to handle currently--but I also disagree with her--it's hardly standing in any truth.

  2. By the way--another excellent essay. You're really a good writer, Amy, and improving all the time.

  3. I am a Code of the West kind of person. I believe that there is a line in the sand on right and wrong.

    When truth or integrity is based on one's own values~then the slope is easily broken. You see, my values are far different than a person that sees something such as bestiality as an accepted behavior.

    Morals, values, integrity, and such must have a consistent definition. Our nation has lost this base and we are now on a downhill slope.

    Forgive me for stepping upon a pedestal.