Suze Orman is, essentially, a hustler. It's not that she necessarily gives bad advice—it's that she sells the idea that anyone needs Suze Orman to give them advice in the first place. Here's an example: the strongly-haired CNBC personality wrote a book called Women and Money. You know what women need to know about money? The exact same stuff that men need to know. Stuff which is primarily available for free, on the internet. Like "don't spend money on books full of facts available for free elsewhere." Unfortunately, Americans are more seduced than ever before by Suze Orman's steely gaze. She's not your friend! During the total economic meltdown of our nation's financial system, who do people turn to? Suze freaking Orman. She's now the face of FDIC, for god's sake. She may not be as dangerous as her closest competitor, mad man Jim Cramer, who actually gives specific advice that will cause you to lose your life savings. But she's insidious nonetheless; if people want financial advice, they definitely shouldn't turn to someone who's really an ad pitchwoman.
As the economy has soured, Ms. Orman has been asked to promote everything from telecommunication services to laundry detergent. And given the most recent market gyrations, her handlers are bracing for even greater demand.According to the WSJ she's now as popular as Elton John. But people don't pay Elton John for investment advice!
Ms. Orman's history might give her some cause to tread carefully. In 2004, she starred in an ad for General Motors that promoted a no-interest financing promotion. Her appearance in the ad had some pundits crying foul. In essence, she was advocating taking on more debt — something she has long chided her followers for doing. Ms. Orman said she agreed to represent GM in part because she thought the interest-free promotion was a good deal and needed to be pointed out to women, in particular.Mmm hmm. Normal financial advisers have accused the Suze of being a fearmonger, which can only enrich her as terrified Americans make the mistake of running out and purchasing her books, rather than investing that $25 in a low-cost index fund. Her response: What else am I supposed to say to people who are literally standing in long lines outside of food distribution centers, speaking to me from their cell phones as they await their daily dose of enriched flour?
"For those people who are in credit-card debt... those who have already been foreclosed on... They are the people calling my shows, and they are in bread lines."Meh. (Sorry Sheila, I know you like her). [WSJ. You can buy low-cost index funds at Vanguard.]