10 Reasons to Disregard Suze Orman’s Opinion of Financial Independence

Suze Orman was recently a guest on Paula Pant’s Afford Anything podcast. (Great informative show by the way!)  She had a very critical take on the FIRE movement or the idea that you can retire early after achieving financial independence.

As someone who doesn’t want to spend the rest of my life stuck in an office or worrying about getting canned (again) this inspired me to refute her a bit.

Here are 10 Reasons We Can Question Suze Orman

  1. Suze Orman’s financial success has left her grossly out of touch with the cost of living for the middle class.  The idea that it might take over a million dollars a year to live is absurd for 99% of humanity.  She eluded to a net worth somewhere around 30 million dollars.  It’s probably true that she needs at least a million a year, to fund her private jet, private island expenditures, and $30,000 a month nursing home bills.  This doesn’t apply to most of society.
  2. Suze contradicts herself on the show.   She mentions that a solid 10 years of 401k contributions can be left alone for a few decades and be sufficient to retire, but also says you must continue contributing and saving until 70.
  3. It doesn’t drrm like she practices what she preaches. She’s widely known for preaching to invest in the stock market but keeps nearly all her money in zero-coupon municipal bonds.
  4. She’s got an agenda.  Obviously, she’s trying to sell books and was a guest to promote her newest book.  She wants people dependant on her traditional financial advice.  The FIRE path generally rejects the need for paying a financial advisor.
  5. Let me be blunt.   I think psychological issues may be at play here.   She has an incessant need to vulgarly broadcast her wealth and lifestyle in ways that are on par with mumble rappers. How many times did she need to mention she’s got a private plane, private island, has a net worth over $30 million? We get it.  Suze Orman gets the bag and might also have an iced up Patek.  Material success is fine but we can all do without the condescending tone and arrogance.  Is it possible there’s some jealousy here that younger people are living their lives without money stress and she’s still obsessed at 67?  Make your own call.
  6. Suze Orman has engaged in what appears to be predatory behavior with her venture to create a debit card loaded with fees and her claims that a prepaid debit card would create a credit score.  Read on…here and here. Watch a telling documentary here.
  7. I acknowledge she makes some good points about the high cost of living and medical expenses in the US.   But it seems she hasn’t considered solutions like geo-arbitrage to lower cost of living significantly.
  8. Many of the catastrophic expenses she referred to can be mitigated with a simple thing called insurance.
  9. Much of her advice goes out the window if we focus more on the Financial Independence aspect of FIRE.   Many young folks that have succeeded in achieving “FIRE” or Financial Independence, choose to dedicate their lives to their passions and often that ends up resulting in side income.  Hobbies like blogging for example 🙂
  10. Even if she was right about everything. Even if we do need millions and millions to exit the workforce.  Is her solution to spend your life working until your 70, only to fund your nursing home final years and die?  I’d rather take some risks and try to live.