Power to change financial perspectives
ConsAwkward Segments with Lou
The Suze Orman show features financial guru Suze Orman. At first I found this woman to be really annoying and thought "Wow, it's a good thing that Oprah likes you otherwise you wouldn't have a career." Over the years her occasional guest appearances on shows that I regularly watched amused me. It just seemed like she got to yell at people and this would somehow fix their lives. Maybe I just really wanted to have her job, I'm good at yelling people and if that can help people well then call me a humanitarian.
Then one Saturday night there was nothing on the TV and I saw her show. I was in the mood to see people be yelled at so really it was the perfect fit. What I wasn't expecting was to be a regular follower of her program and to even start listening to her advice. Not only does she yell at people she strips away their misconceptions and really tells them how to rebuild their lives even if they've gotten themselves into a huge financial mess that just seems hopeless. She has really helped people to focus on the positive aspects of the recession and see that it isn't the end of the world. She also concentrates a lot on helping her viewers and guests realize the dysfunction in their lives; their finances are often mirroring a deeper insecurity in their world.
I'd have to say that my favorite segment is always the "Can I Afford It?" portion of the program. I really wish that there was an entire show based around this. Often I just find myself watching the beginning and end of the show just so I can get to this part. You can apply for this segment on Suze's website. Basically people just call in and share the exact numbers of their financial situation and what they want to buy. Some of the items are really crazy and expensive. Suze isn't supposed to tell you whether you "should" buy something she just tells you that you "can afford" to buy something. Often when someone wants to buy an expensive guitar, saxophone or even a new set of bagpipes I'll agree with Suze. Obviously they already have one that functions so why do they need a new one especially at the cost of their retirement and a secure financial future? Sometimes I'm sure that she'll approve or deny someone based on the numbers but unlike Suze I haven't thought about the mileage on their car. She seems to be very thorough in her evaluations so she doesn't lead anyone astray.
I think that the Suze Orman Show helps people recognize how they are ruining their lives just by trying to keep up appearances. Society tells you that you need the fancy car and the big house to be successful. Suze helps you realize how these items will really just drag you down if you can't afford them. It's opened up my eyes to the old phrase "Keeping up with the Joneses". Really the Joneses (whoever they may be) are probably drowning in debt as well. Society says it's about just who puts on the better show but Suze helps strip away the pretense and really allows people to live.
As a host, I think that Suze has a very commanding presence. She seems like an authority in her field but she can also be extremely gentle when someone is crying or devastated. There is a reason that she has gotten as far as she has and that's because she's very good at her job and I failed to realize that before. She seems to focus on other people a lot. I've been watching The Suze Orman Show for months and all I really know about her is that she just wears a different jacket every week. I guess my only problem with the show is that it's not on often enough. I would watch it everyday instead of just every week. I'm sure that Suze could find enough people to "smack down".
The other segment of the show that I think has a lot of promise is the new segment "How Am I Doing?" It's also a call in portion where viewers share their financial details and then Suze basically gives them a grade. It also shares a lot of good tips and surprises when planning for retirement. It's always fun to just guess what rating Suze will give someone.
I would really love to see the show focus on these two segments. Often, there is a theme throughout the episode. The first half of the episode usually starts with a money lesson from Suze and then a viewer who is in deep financial ruin that directly illustrates the lesson is brought on the air. It always amazes me the way that people get themselves into debt or hide from their finances because they don't like what they see.
I think the most painful part of the show is the segment with Lou that occurs at the end of the show. Lou is a stage manager who reads emails. Sure, he's cute and likable. However, I just find Suze trying to make small talk and banter with this guy to be like fingernails on a chalkboard. She is not good at small talk she's good at yelling at people. It seems like every episode she ridicules Lou for wearing a t-shirt all the time. I really wish that they'd just focus on Suze's strengths.
So I turned from someone who wasn't sold on Suze to a loyal viewer of her show. Even if you don't need a Suze smack down watching the show can help you get the motivation you need to develop an emergency fund, get out of debt and just shift your focus from acquiring more "stuff" to the people in your life. So if you haven't given Suze a chance, just watch her show once and your idea of who she is and what she does may totally change.