Why am I even talking about this?
Last week Suze Orman released a new financial product, a prepaid card. Because she is a celebrity and is promoting her new product as “The Smart Choice For You” it is the responsibility of financial bloggers, personal finance coaches, and others in the finance industry to know about its features and inform their readers/subscribers. Some PF Bloggers gave their opinions, including my own, and gave our honest opinions. After some exchanges on the internet that were less than favorable, Suze Orman called some of them Idiots.
Why defend Suze Orman
Suze was blasted for all the fees. Yes, this is a product with lots of fees if you don’t use it the way she says to. And many of the “benefits” of the card are things you can (and should) be doing without her card. With that said, she does disclose the fees in a fairly easy-to-find manner on her website. As far as I can tell there are no hidden fees, which allows me to make a fully-informed decision on our own. If other credit cards were as up-front with their fee structure and helped us understand exactly how to use them without getting into trouble then it would be more difficult to hate the credit card industry.
Take out the ruckus
Take out the emotion, the celebrity endorsement, and the social media ruckus around her using the word “Idiot” and we will see who this card is for: This is a card for a select segment of America who are fans of Suze Orman and will handle this card in exactly the way she says or for the “un-banked”, those who are living in our electronic culture but do not have a bank account or credit card.
Evaluate things with a critical eye
Don’t take my word for it, don’t take your friends (or enemy’s) word for it, take a look for yourself. Evaluate things with a critical eye. Utilize the information presented by others to aid in your research and ask yourself “Is this a product for me?” You will be better served by your gut feelings than a celebrity endorsement any day of the week. Then you can decide if you “Approve” of this card.
How I can support her
Regardless of my feelings towards Suze, I can support her in teaching others about managing their debt. I believe she could go farther in helping people eliminate debt from their lives for good but she is helping people get headed in the right direction. I can support someone who is leading folks downfield towards the endzone, maybe that will allow me to intersect them, change their direction, and get them to the goal posts.
Bonus material not in the podcast:
The additional coverage of Suze calling bloggers “Idiots” has created more media than if it never had happened. This has gotten us (me included) to talk about it even more, given it free advertising, and segmented a majority of the population. There are now 3 camps:
- Those who aren’t paying attention to any of this (I somewhat envy them)
- Suze fans who will defend her and do anything she says (Ormanites?)
- And those who disagreed with (or disliked) Suze from the start and now have new “she called me an Idiot” ammo
You probably know which camp I am in, although I will try to act more “Approvingly”.
More bonus material (mentioned in the podcast):
I’ve been using, developing, and improving a spreadsheet for our household that works great for Budgeting AND for tracking spending (checkbook register). I’ve simplified it and added a couple categories to fit the majority of American households (like car payments) but you need to change it to match YOUR financial life.
Download a copy for free go to http://www.moneyplansos.com/Budget2012