book reviews, crafts, cheap things…

Financial Literacy February: DVD Review– Suze Orman!

Years ago, I was on the phone with my mother, and she was telling me all about this amazing woman she’d seen on TV named “Suzy something” who was so smart about money-u- so brilliant– and I simply had to magically get a TV or something so that I could absorb some of her knowledge. In a similar time frame, I was talking to my grandmother on the phone, and she also raved about this woman Suze Orman who I absolutely had to watch on Oprah as soon as I could get a TV. I “mmhmm’d” my way through both conversations (with my grandmother this conversation actually occurred multiple times)– and then got back to my regular life of being a full-time student, working a ton, and trying to survive in the second-most expensive city in the US immediately upon laying the phone in its cradle.

Years later, Suze never completely left my mind. I never ended up getting a TV, But I did get internet and  develop better public library navigational skills. Over the years I have seen her on magazine and book covers and thought “hmmm if only I had the time, and if only I cared…”

Well, now I have the time. And I sort of care. Well, at least as outlined in my February 3rd post, I’m wanting to build up some understandings about how financial things work…

So I reserved and checked out the Suze Orman for the Young Fabulous and Broke dvd from the public library. I watched it. And I have a few things to say.

Everyone else in the world probably already knows this, but Orman is incredibly charismatic. Along with financial prowess, this is likely one of the reasons that she’s been able to create a multimillion dollar presence on paper, online, and video.She is a master of repetition, and her speech is like a Twilight novel–  kind of trite, but brilliantly crafted to keep you tuned in and wanting more.

Orman’s explanation about credit scores was really good– as she explains how the scores happen, and what you can do to maintain or fix yours. Her logic about starting accounts like IRAs was also likable– if you have savings or money just sitting there, you may as well get some extra free money by putting yours to work. Her ending sentence was even pretty endearing and uplifting: “you are the biggest pot of gold that was ever, ever created” (ha!)

My issue with the dvd came from Orman’s insistence on saving and opening fancy money-gaining accounts. It did not jive with the realities of many people who are actually young, fabulous, and broke– or who don’t have some kind of trust fund, Bank of Mommy and Daddy, or high-paying job. Being twenty years old and working full time at minimum wage while going to school in a City often means that you might have a spare $20 every month– but you still need to buy toilet paper, bleach, and new shoes, and you just hand washed your laundry with you roommate’s dish soap in the bathtub because your apartment building’s washing machine is too expensive and detergent costs $5… That $20 ain’t going to an IRA. Especially if you have credit card debt and need to pay that off first.. .

(more on this later! )







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