When people come to Suze Orman for financial advice, she’s more than happy to point out that someone is on the verge of a money blunder. Fail to invest through market downturns or cosign a loan for a struggling friend, and you just might hear the financial guru and host of the “Women & Money … and Everyone Smart Enough to Listen” podcast call you a “financial fool.”
But Orman readily admits that she doesn’t have a perfect financial track record. When asked to describe a money mistake she made in her youth, Orman recalled overspending to impress a woman she was dating. In hindsight, the decisions she made seem laughable: “Are you f—ing kidding me? Why would I have done that?” she says.
In her case, it was “because I believed that things defined me, and those things would win her approval.”
Overspending because ‘I wanted to impress’
In the early 80’s Orman dated a woman named Noni, who Orman says came from “one of the major blue-chip” families. Noni wore a Cartier watch.
“Even though my parents didn’t have money like that, my mom went and bought me a $1,500 Rolex Oyster back in 1980 so that I could look like a stock-broker,” Orman says. “She took the diamonds out of her engagement ring and made me a necklace so I could look the part in her mind.”
Video by Mariam Abdallah
Noni and her family seemed to think it was all a bit déclassé: “She said, ‘Oh … a Rolex,'” Orman says.
“So what does Suze do?” she continues, referring to her past self. “She takes money from her 401(k) so she can go buy a Cartier so Noni would be impressed. I go and lease a BMW, a big one, so that Noni would be impressed. I start buying designer clothes so that Noni would be impressed.”
‘I was a fool’ in 3 key ways
Followers of Orman’s career will note that the story contains several missteps that these days the guru strongly warns against. “I did that,” says Orman. “And I was a fool.”
- She borrowed from her 401(k). This is a big no-no for Orman. While some people view borrowing from retirement accounts as an easy way to access…
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