Women’s Wear Daily has published a short biography of Suze Orman, 57-year-old CNBC personality, Oprah repeat-guester, and aggressive promoter of financial advice and self. Her father’s poultry shop burned down when she was a child (“Daddy was a failed man.”). At age 30, she lost $50,000 of borrowed money in oil futures, which led her to give up her dream of opening a restaurant and instead enter a training program at Merrill Lynch to pay back the money. Her second book agent—the one who helped shoot her to the top—told her she had to lose 30 pounds to be marketable. And so on: seeing how someone aggressively pursues media stardom is a sausage-making experience. (That same agent says, “I just thought, ‘Great. Finally an author who knows she can’t write.’”)
It also looks at the controversies that surround her business relationship with Fair Isaacs Corp (who create and own your FICO score) and TD Ameritrade. But what we love most about the piece is Orman herself, who always comes across as a weirdly enthusiastic self-help speaker who takes joy in dispensing borderline-malevolent sound bites.
To President Bush: “If I were you, I would feel so absolutely horrific that I would take every penny I had and distribute it to anybody and everybody to help them in whatever way I could. You owe the American people every penny of your fortune and your family’s fortune.”
To victims of Bernie Madoff: “You walked right into that financial concentration camp, my loves.” (We’d love to see Kristin Wiig try to top that one on SNL.)
To the people who criticized her own conservative investing strategy in 2007: “Well, guess who won? Guess. Who. Won.”
On not anticipating the meltdown, and ignoring those who warned about it: “How do you call a market when the people that are running the banks and the brokerage firms are lying to you through their teeth? How do you call anything? I was naïve enough that I just believed them all.”
Hmm. Maybe we’ll just take her advice on not spending money you don’t have, and look elsewhere for investing advice.
Update: I totally missed the best quote of the story. This is what she said to Eve Ensler, author of “The Vagina Monologues”: “I see my money the way you see your vagina. I need to know it, I need to touch it, I need to not be afraid of it. And I’m going to give [your foundation] $100,000.”