I was near the deadline for a column when I glanced at a TV screen. The Suze Orman Show, airing on CNBC at prime time, exerted a powerful force in my hotel room. And the fate of this column was sealed.
Orman made a big splash many years ago on public television — the incubating environment for her as a national phenom. With articulate calls for intelligent self-determination of one’s own financial future, she is a master of the long form. Humor and dramatic cadences punch up the impacts of her performances.
Seeing her the other night, within a matter of seconds, I realized that the jig was up. How could a mere underachieving syndicated columnist hope to withstand the blandishments and certainties of Suze Orman, bestselling author and revered eminence from the erudite bastions of PBS to the hard-boiled financial realms of General Electric’s CNBC?
To resist was pointless. What if I tried to write as a carping critic? After all, Suze Orman has already explained that such critics, particularly the males of the species, just resent a strong woman with the guts, smarts and determination to cast off the shackles of a retrograde past. “Ladies,” I could hear her say from the stage, with one of her magnificent flourishes, “don’t let that nonsense wreck your future.”
So, in hopes of putting myself in sync with her redemptive power, I turn the rest of this particular column over to a distillation of Suze Orman’s messaging (the following paragraphs are not quotations from Orman; they summarize the gist of her repertoire on stage):
Your money, your life. It’s as simple as that. Ladies — and you men, too — the time is past when we hold back. Not having control over our own money is something we can’t afford, and I mean that literally. We just cannot afford it.
I’ll be blunt here. Anyone who tells you there’s something wrong with getting rich and then richer has some serious unresolved problems. Heh heh.
If you want a solution, you go out and grab it. You rule money or money will rule you. People who can’t wrap their minds around that vital concept — they get nowhere.
You want to solve social problems, start with yourself. If you can’t let yourself accumulate wealth, you’re part of a social problem — like I used to be. Now I do very well, thank you, and I don’t want to hear about how some financial company is making money from my self-help website. Sure, I’m getting richer all the time. You got a problem with that?
The more people get rich, the happier I am. Even a leader of the Chinese Communists (and you know what dummies they were) said it straight out maybe 30 years ago — “it’s glorious to be rich.” The baggage we’re still carrying around tells us not to mind if some guy says it but if I as a woman make the same point then the knives come out. Ladies, to hell with that. We’re not going back.
It’s not glorious to be low-income, that’s for damn sure. I know what that’s like. Now I go back to PBS at pledge time, and they welcome me with open arms. Public broadcasting. Makes me almost sentimental. But catch me on CNBC these days, and you’ll see that I’m swimming with the big-money fish.
I was a waitress for a pathetically long time. I had to find the courage. The courage, ladies. And I did. Now look at me.
I don’t just want you to plan for the future. I want you to make enough money to buy your future: lock, stock and barrel. Money money money. I’ve got it on the brain, and I make no apology. I love money. It’s freedom, and ladies — you can earn freedom if you apply yourselves.
Some people can’t stop complaining that the economic system has winners and losers. Whether they realize it or not, that’s probably because they’re bound and determined to be losers. Well, I think it’s a heck of a lot better to be a winner — don’t you?
What kind of media future do you think I would’ve had if I chose to keep complaining about the system because of losers? I’d probably be a loser too! Not if I can help it. And I can, obviously.
So, I’m rich. And I’m trying to inform you about how to get rich, too. If you can’t make it happen, maybe you haven’t listened to my wisdom closely enough. You got a problem with that?