"Why the masses continue to invest their faith in Suze Orman in the wake of a financial meltdown she never saw coming is a more timely question," suggests James Scurlock, columnist for TheBigMoney.com (a favorite site of mine).
According to Scurlock, Suze has no patience for statistics and often sounds off stats that sound good, but have no real basis behind them. These include her love of "dollar cost averaging," (buying the same stock over and over again as it falls), which is a favorite investment method of hers, and that the stock market returns 11% per year ("I have a million dollars in the stock market, because if I lose a million dollars, I don't personally care," she once told the New York Times.)
One fallacy in particular -- that the reason we are in debt is due to our own psychological causes -- infuriates Scurlock, as a myriad of real studies have shown that personal bankruptcies are caused primarily by catastrophic events like divorce, job loss, and, above all he says, medical bills and that most of us are struggling with a gap between our income growth and the soaring cost of necessities like housing.
Who is struggling these days, according to Suze? "
People who grew up without much money and later earn a comfortable living sometimes spend too much to make up for what they didn't get as children. ... People who feel entitled to the good life, or are unconsciously copying a mother or father who lived beyond her or his means. ... If you feel the need to impress people with what you have rather than with who you are, you are at high risk for credit card abuse."This from a woman who spends $500,000 a year chartering private jets and who sells 'Cruise With Suze' packages on an Italian luxury liner. (She has also hawked for GM, claiming that leasing a luxury car — you know, the kind that people drive to impress others — is a terrific financial decision," says the article.
Suze, it seems, has been lying to us:
What we're supposed to love about Suze Orman is not her knowledge and certainly not her prescience, but her ability to turn circumstances to her advantage, the resilience of a waitress-turned-bank-vice-president who squandered a great gig only to make a fortune off of you and me by having the courage to be rich. Despite her obvious flaws, we admire Suze so much that millions of us will fork over more of our dwindling dollars for her new [$50] FICO kit because she now assures us that a high FICO score is the key to our financial future. True, her previous book promised us that we would never be a financial victim again. Not only that, but we would receive the life we deserved, which sounds suspiciously like one of those insidious credit card offers, but whatever."When was the last time an evangelist predicted anything correctly or the phone psychic told you something that you didn't already know? So what if we cannot retire because Suze has been telling us to buy stocks and trust the fat cats? Suze possesses the courage to be rich. The rest of us are suffering from a collective emotional roadblock," posits the story.
Ouch. There are many bitter truths to Scurlock's argument, especially because of this: What do any of us have to show for the years we've been following Suze? Aside from the fact that she has no real know-how in the finance world, she has created a mega-brand around her name and niche, and has used your disadvantages to her advantage. Suze has made millions of dollars feeding off our insecurities and is laughing all the way to the bank. All of a sudden, we feel violated. [TheBigMoney]