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Suze Orman, I Can’t Deny You Scare the #@I*& Out of Me

Let’s face it, Suze Orman scares the bejeebers out of me. There, I said it out loud. The caustic queen of blunt personal finance has me shaking in my boots. Now I love Suze, and her advice is generally spot on. But alas, that is exactly what scares me. Not her trendy hairstyles with metallic flashes streaming through them. And not her love of all things jacket, especially ones where some living animal gave it’s all so that dear Suze could wear its tanned hide.

No, Suze scares me because I just know she’d look straight into the camera and tell me I cannot afford it. And by “it”, she means living out the rest of my life.

I save my tax information in a shoebox and my finances are a jumble of good habits that get overrun by the bad. And, of course, she’d ding me hard for not having any plan for the afterlife. Or at least what kind of party my survivors are going to have once I’m dead or incapacitated.

Bingo, boyfriend, she’d say, you don’t deserve to live. A “D+” grade is too good for you.

And my response is, well girlfriend, I’m only human, and I live in the real world that lately has been chock full of hard knocks and slippery slopes. Lady, I live in a land that is a minefield of layoffs and financial surprises combined with rising medical and educational costs.

But Suze, I love ya. You’ve made me and my wife look at our finances as a team for the first time. So, as they say in the South, God love ya, Suze.

I always quake when I hear you (or your half-brother twice removed, Dave Ramsey) say you should have a six to eight month nest egg set aside in case of job loss. Now let’s see how that works out in real dollars. For example, if I understand this right a household that has $4,000 a month in expenses including rent should have between $24,000 and $32,000 set aside somewhere.

I tried to do the math on this one time, and it was daunting. If a family of four could set aside $100 a month, which is fairly optimistic, it would take 20 years to reach the $24,000 threshold.

Now I think in every way, shape and form you are right. But an article posted today by the Wall Street Journal said we’re all putting off retirement. In her article, Lauren Weber writes that nearly two-thirds of Americans between 45 and 60 plan to delay their retirement. These stats come from a report released by the Conference Board.

The article goes on to say that the increase in the number of older workers planning to delay retirement is being spurred on by financial losses, layoffs and income stagnation.

Holy hairstyle, Suze O, what’s a job-seeker to do? Since my last layoff nearly 16 months ago, our family has been living like miserly hermits, only sticking our heads out of the sand enough for one child or another to attend a school-sponsored trip. My kids don’t even know how to spell “vacation”.

On the plus side, we pay our bills on time, carry no credit card balances, and we appreciate everything that comes our way. I’ve put out of my mind the fact that my IRA will never reach the epic proportions needed to retire comfortably. I’ve resigned myself to an elderly life of welcoming people to Walmart while sporting a snappy, Suze Orman-worthy blue smock.

I’ve come to terms with my destiny. I’m OK with it.

But you scare me Suze, you really do. Unlike most Americans, we aren’t overwhelmed in consumer debt, but like most of our compatriots we have nowhere near the cash at hand that you would require us to have in order to live a happy and productive life.

Maybe I should get a cable show of my own, sport a new hair-do and some bling. I think I’ll call it “Retirement is Overrated.” My first guest might be Suze Orman, but I’m sorry girlfriend, we can’t afford you.

For more of my downtrodden despair, check my blog out at Xogdog’s Blog.

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About G Peters

Life during the last five years has read a lot like a country song for Greg. Got laid off ­– got hired. Went to work, and then the new job expired. Went back on the street looking for work, but who’s going to hire somebody older than dirt? Worked the graveyard shift for a year or two, hoping against hope to find something new ­– and at long last did, working in communications for a university. Dream job is still blogger-in-residence for YourCompany.Com, but thankful every day to have a workplace to call home. Best advice: never stop believing in yourself. Check out Xogdog's blog at www.xogdog.wordpress.com/.

7 Responses to "Suze Orman, I Can’t Deny You Scare the #@I*& Out of Me"

  • Rosemary Wessel
    February 6, 2013 - 9:00 am Reply

    VERY well written. “Experts” like Orman bug the crap out of me. They have no footing in the world that many of us live in.

    (Plus, her caffeine-fueled grimace is terrifying.)

  • JAK
    February 6, 2013 - 10:25 am Reply

    With $4,000 a month in expenses. Seems like you could trim a little here and there to get a few more hundred dollars a month set aside. It would only be 6/7 years if you set aside $300 a month. Can survive on $3,700 a month? How about $3,500.

    Is it harder, sure. Most things worthwhile are.

  • Greg Peters
    February 6, 2013 - 1:47 pm Reply

    JAK. I’m so glad you took the time to read my post. Thanks. Truth be told, $100 a month is sort of pipe dream for our family as it is for most I’m sure, especially those that are living off one income.

    But you’re right. Hard work and determination make it all worthwhile.

  • Deborah Brody Hamilton
    February 7, 2013 - 7:50 pm Reply

    Greg, your are making me LOL. My husband gets apoplectic when Suze comes on TV.

  • Greg Peters
    February 7, 2013 - 8:10 pm Reply

    Thanks Deborah. I used to watch Dave Ramsey and Suze but they were starting to punk me out. One would say ying and the other yang, and there I was living off of Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang.

  • B
    March 5, 2013 - 12:42 am Reply

    “I’m only human, and I live in the real world that lately has been chock full of hard knocks and slippery slopes. Lady, I live in a land that is a minefield of layoffs and financial surprises combined with rising medical and educational costs.”
    You’re right but we ALL live in this real world full of all these pitfalls and road blocks, not just you. So what REALLY sets apart unsuccessful and successful people?

    “I’ve come to terms with my destiny. I’m OK with it.”
    Here is your real problem. You settle and you are OK with it. Change this attitude ASAP. Don’t be OK with it.

    “I always quake when I hear you (or your half-brother twice removed, Dave Ramsey) say you should have a six to eight month nest egg set aside in case of job loss. Now let’s see how that works out in real dollars. For example, if I understand this right a household that has $4,000 a month in expenses including rent should have between $24,000 and $32,000 set aside somewhere.
    I tried to do the math on this one time, and it was daunting. If a family of four could set aside $100 a month, which is fairly optimistic, it would take 20 years to reach the $24,000 threshold.”
    Although you are only giving an ‘example’, most of your readers will automatically focus on your $24,000 to $32,000 amount that you spat out and assume, it is impossible to attain. But please remember that these advisors are merely advising to save 6-8 months of your PARTICULAR monthly expense. For instance, if you make $24k before taxes annually (and god help you if your monthly expense is more than say $1500/month on that kind of income), a 6 month emergency fund is $9000. Will it still take years? YES. but not 20 or 30..more like 5 years socking away $150/month. Or in other words less than what most of us spend on financing a shiny new car over 60 months. Daunting? For those who settled/surrendered and are “OK with it”, YES. For people who don’t want to settle and demand, no..expect a better future and destiny, it is not daunting at all, it is just another hill you have to hike over to reach a higher plain.

  • Greg Peters
    March 5, 2013 - 11:48 am Reply

    B, I appreciate the time you gave to providing a well thought out response. I think Suze and Dave have great advice, but given the amount of credit card and other consumer debt this nation faces, I can’t help but wonder if the goal is $900, $9,000 or $90,000 it will seem daunting to whomever is trying to achieve it, especially in single-income homes where every penny and beyond has an intended spot to be spent.

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