Podcast Episode- Best Of: Live From The Apollo Theater


About Suze, Credit, Debt, Saving


August 02, 2020

Listen to Podcast Episode:

On March 16, 2019, Suze appeared at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York, as part of the Women of The World Festival. In this podcast, you will hear a condensed version of Suze’s talk.


Podcast Transcript:

Suze Orman's Women and Money podcast is proudly sponsored by credit unions; a safe home for your money, rain or shine. Suze O. here. Now, listen to me, everybody. While I am healing, Sarah and Robert are going to present the following "Best Of" episode of the Women and Money podcast, as well as the men smart enough to listen, and briefly explain why they chose it for you to hear. So, everybody, enjoy the "Best Of" podcast. See you soon. Hi, this is Sarah, and this is Robert, and today is Sunday, August 2, 2020. Robert, let's just get right to it this morning. You know, yesterday I was telling you that I spoke with Suze and, of course, during our phone calls, she could not help but give me, she dictated some words of advice to share with the community on her behalf. Totally like her, right? I'm checking in to see how she's doing, and she's making sure everybody else is OK. That's what we love about her. That is what we love about her. So, if you want, to hear Suze's words of wisdom during these challenging times, you should log on to the Community. She's still making sure we feel all the love right back that we're all sending to her. You can get the Community for free on the Apple App Store or Google Play by searching Suze Orman. It's really fun, super interactive, but the advice she gave us yesterday I wanted to read a couple of the messages we received for Suze in response to her telling us to stay the course while she focuses on her recovery. "Hopeful For Me" says, we will stay the course, Suze. We will hold on to trust and faith, kindness to ourselves, and to others. Thank you for your perspective. Many warm hugs for security, safety, serenity, and daily gratitude for all we are given. I love that one. And then "Balance with Pamela" says, I commit to being safe, kind, and compassionate, even when others are not. I send my love and bring my light to the world. Safety, love, and healing flowing out to Suze and KT. I just thought those messages were nice, don't you? Oh, absolutely. All right with that, Robert, I realized that we have been on this COVID lockdown for about five months, which means five months Suze hasn't been traveling, doing live events. So, after some debate between the two of us, we thought it would be a good idea to throwback to one of our favorite live talks for some Suze magic. Robert, which episode did we pick for our next "Best Of Best Of?" All right, Sarah, today's "Best Of" was originally published on the Women and Money podcast feed on April 7, 2019. And it comes from a sold-out talk that Suze gave at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York, on March 16, 2019. And she was there as part of the Women of the World Festival. Now, I was in the audience at the Apollo and for those of you in the community who were also there, you know what I'm talking about when I tell you, this was one of the most high energy live events I have ever been to. This is true Suze fashion there. And this was the first time I'd seen her live on a stage. I knew we were going to record the talk, and Suze and I had wanted to use part of it on an episode of the podcast. And I remember a few days before the event, Suze and I were talking and I asked her, well, what are you going to talk about? Can I have your script or your notes, your bullet points? Whatever it was because I wanted to make sure I was full-on in, like, in editor mode, and I wanted to take notes as we went along. Now, at this point, I'd only been working with Suze for a few months, and I know that she lets the spirit guide her when she does the Sunday shows, and she reads the questions for the Ask Suze Anything's, and then basically responds when she cracks the mic. In my naivete, I thought, well, some Suze Orman must write out when she's going to address, you know, thousands of people, especially at a historic venue like the Apollo Theater. Oh, Robert, rookie mistake my friend! It was a rookie mistake. Suze says to me, look, Robert, just be there and absorb, just be in the moment. So I said all right. Of course she said that! Of course, she said that. All right, fine. And I'm so glad I did. The way that Suze takes command of a stage is brilliant, and I have been in the media for almost 30 years, I've been to a ton of concerts, I have been to a lot of talks, and Ted talks and things like that. And what I've noticed is, you see a good portion of the audience usually on their phones. They're taking pictures of what's happening on the stage or they are, you know, we're just so distracted as people they're just on their phones and they're not 100% engaged. I'm telling you, this night at the Apollo, everyone, I mean everybody, the audience, the ushers, the Apollo staff, was so focused on every word that Suze had to say, every single word. OK, OK, Robert, you're going to give everything away. I think you're about to start like launching into her speech. I am like, you might have it memorized by now, I think. But why don't we do this? Why don't you roll the tape and let's relive this incredible night together? Perfect. Whoa. Thank you! Listen everybody, I know you've all come here to hear about money. To hear about women and money. Correct? But that's really not what tonight's show needs to be about. It's never about money. It’s about you. It’s about who you are because how you feel about who you are, determines the amount of money that you get to earn, you get to have, you get to keep. And so, financial people always get up on this stage, and they always start talking to you about: You've got to get out of debt, you’ve got to invest in your Roth 401ks, you've got to do this, you've got to do that. And I'm looking at all of you and your thinking, go on. Well, that's great Suze, but I don't have a pot to piss in. How am I going to do that? So, let's start with the intention of tonight. What my wish is really for all of you. And my wish is, that tonight you declare yourself, you declare your independence tonight because it is important that you have financial independence. It is important that you have personal independence. It is important that every single decision you make, in every part of your life, is one that you want to make, not one that you have to make. So, it all starts with you and how you feel about yourself. Let's talk and let me find out a little bit about you.You have all come here tonight for a specific reason. And I said probably, the reason is to learn about money. We are going to do both. But here's my question for you, and I want you to be truthful because tonight is also about standing up for yourself and in the truth. And if you can't stand in the truth, you will never find yourself, and you'll never be able to do anything that you need to do in life. So, I want you to be honest with yourselves and with me right now. I want you to stand up and stay standing if you have credit card debt. Please stand up and stay standing, stay standing, stay standing. I want you to stand up and stay standing if you have credit card debt, car loan debt, student loan debt, 401k debt, any kind of debt, mortgage debt. Stand up Apollo. I want you to look around, stay standing, look around. I want you to look at the person next to you and tell them how much debt you have. Oh right, oh yeah, yeah. Come back to me Apollo, and sit down now. Do you understand why I can't talk to you about money? Because you don't have any. But then that takes us back to the question: Why don't you have any? Why can’t any of you answer that for yourselves? Do you think it's because you were raised in the right family, and they never knew about money, and you live here, you live there, and you never had the education for it, or you're not good with math? Or one of those excuses. And you look at me standing on this stage, and do you on some level think, well, what does Suze Orman know about me, right? She's probably from some rich family, went to a great school, did all of these things. So, what does she know about my situation? I know more about your situation than you have any idea, ladies and gentlemen. Here it comes! You know, all of you, I don’t know if you know this, but I never plan a talk. I don’t have a clue what I'm going to say, I don't have a teleprompter up here in front of me. You'll never hear this talk again. You never heard the last talk again. I never know. And you know why that is? It's because I honest to God don't believe I'm the one giving the talk tonight. The only thing I know I can do is be an empty vessel so that the words can through to me, to come to all of you. Because I don't know what you need to know, but I know God most certainly does. And when I first was talking to somebody about that, I was going to come to the Apollo, and this was on September 15th. They said to me, Suze, you don't belong at the Apollo, that's not where your audience is. And I'm like, oh, is that so? They could've been more wrong. And they're still wrong because this is my audience. And the reason this is my audience is this. I grew up on the South Side of Chicago. I grew up, if you know Chicago, at 81st in Oglesby. The hood. I went there two years ago because I now live in Florida, and we had to evacuate because of the hurricane. And I took my friends who were with me, and we all laughed, and I decided to take them to where I lived. And everybody said to me, you went where? Are you crazy? And it's actually a better neighborhood today than it was when I lived in it all those years ago. My mother and father had no money. My mother was a secretary and sold Avon on that side. I, myself, was a waitress until I was 30 years of age, making $400 a month at the age of 30. And then I got this idea. I had been a waitress for seven years, making $400 a month, and I thought, I know, I can open up my own restaurant. Maybe I can be more, maybe. Maybe I could do something and have a little money because you know, I need to make money because I know that the reason that my mother and father are so miserable their entire life, is they didn't have any money. They didn't have any money, so I wanted to have money. That's what I thought I wanted. And so there I was. And I call up my mom, and I go, Mom, can I have $20k to open up my own restaurant? And she's like, what are you crazy? Where are we going to get $20k? That’s more money than Suze Orman's parents had to their entire name. Are you starting to get it? Are you starting to get it? So, I went to work the next morning, and this guy looked at me that I had been waiting on for seven years. And he said, what's wrong sunshine, you don't look happy? And I told him the story and he went down, and he was talking with all the other people that I had been waiting on. And he comes back to this counter that I used to stand to get everybody's order and then go cook their meal and go bring it out to them. And he comes back, and he puts in front of me commitments and checks totaling $50,000 with a little note written on a napkin that said, this is for people like you, to have your dreams come true, to be paid back in ten years with no interest if you can. Can you imagine? Can you imagine this? And I'm sitting there shaking. If somebody put $50k in front of you, what would you think if you never had a pot to pee in? What would you be thinking? And I said to him, I said, are these checks going to bounce like all mine do? Is that what's going on here? And he said, no Suze, please take this money down to the local brokerage firm, Merrill Lynch, and open up a money market account with them, until we can help you open up your own restaurant. And I said to him, I said, what's a Merrill Lynch? And what is a brokerage firm, and what is a money market account? I had no clue what he was talking about. So, if you're out there, and you don't know one financial term. If you don't know anything about money, it can't prevent you from becoming what you are meant to be. Only you can prevent yourself from doing that. And so, I go, OK. And I take the money down to Merrill Lynch, and I put it in a money market account. And I’m met by the broker who opened up the money market account for me, and it was just simply a savings account that paid an 18% interest rate in 1980. And he opens it up, and he says to me, Suze, how would you like to make a quick $100 a week? I’m like Randy, that's more than I make as a waitress, how do I do that? And he said, sign here on the bottom line of these papers. I believed him. Why wouldn't I believe him? So I signed, and I leave, and he fills out the paperwork to make it look like I'm a very affluent and wealthy woman, and qualified me to invest in one of the most speculative ways possible, which is buying options. To make a very long story short, in three months, all $50k was lost. Whoa. No, don't get in God's way, people, don't get in God's way. Right? Because I lost that money, I stand up here in front of you today, as the world's personal finance expert. Well one door closes, another door opens. But you, you have to be willing to walk through it. You can't look at this and go, oh my God, what am I going to do? He told me that I didn't have to pay him back. Oh, and then you make all these excuses for yourself, and I thought, no. It was a gift. I could be a broker. They just make you broker. So, I got dressed in my red and white striped Sassoon pants, tucked into my white cowboy boots with a blue silk shirt. I looked hot. I was a size 6 back then. And I walk into the office of Merrill Lynch, this is now 1980. I'm 29 years of age. You know, there I am, affirmative action 1980. Merrill Lynch had no women brokers at the time. They had 100 male brokers in the Oakland office, but not one woman. And before I know it, I'm in the office of the manager, and he looks at me and he says, you know Suze Orman, women belong barefoot and pregnant. But I'm going to hire you, but trust me, I am going to fire you in six months. I thought, oh, how much are you going to pay me to make me pregnant, is what I asked him? And he said $1500 a month. And I knew $1500 times six was $9k. Took me a little to figure that out, as he's talking to me, and I'm like, that's like two, two and a half years of what I make at the Buttercup Bakery as a waitress. Which I wanted to go back and be a waitress, I love being a waitress, I didn't want to be a stockbroker. I didn't want to be in that world, that wasn't my world. Nobody ever told me that I belonged there. Everybody told me I belonged as a waitress, as a waitress, and maybe if I was lucky, I would be a secretary like my mom one day. Now, before I go on with this story, the other thing you need to know about me, just so that it's never an excuse for you. Growing up, I had a speech impediment and I couldn't pronounce my R’s, S’s or T’s so words such as beautiful came out as “boobuttle.” Because I could not speak, I could not read, because I could not read, when we took our exams back then, they would seat you according to your scores that you did on these reading exams. I was always in the sixth row, the last seat. I knew I was stupid, I knew I was dumb, I knew I would never amount to anything. All the way through school, even working my way through the University of Illinois, that I didn't want to go to because I didn't understand why I needed to go to the University of Illinois and pay for myself when I was probably going to end up as a waitress anyway. I never got a grade above a C. So do not, do not Apollo, do not use the excuse that you're not smart, you have some deficit. You have no deficit except how you think, feel, and act about yourself, because what are we going to do tonight? What is our intention? It's to declare yourself, to declare your what? Independence. And your independence is declared by how you think, feel and act about yourself. Are you understanding that? So now, I'm hired as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, and I know very shortly he is going to fire me. He told me he was going to. And I thought, as I'm studying to be a financial advisor, that there is a segment that says, your money has to be invested appropriately for you so that you can't afford to risk it. The broker cannot take risk. So, I knew that I had a broker that was illegal, and to make a long story short, again with the help of somebody who worked at Merrill Lynch, I ended up suing them to get my money back, because they told me they were going to fire me. And what they did wasn't right. So, it's really important to always do what's right versus what's easy. Please remember that. You might want to write that down because that one thing changed my life. Always do what's right versus what's easy. It would have been easy for me to sit there and not say anything or do anything, but it wasn't right. I was told that I didn't have to pay that money back. But what if it was my mom and my dad, or somebody else and that was every single penny they had to their name? What would they have done? What would they have done? What would you have done? So, here's what's great. Because I sued them, they couldn’t fire me, because I did what was right. They couldn’t fire me. By the time it came to court, I was their number six producing broker in the entire office. So, I tell you that story, not so much to impress you, although you should be. But really, I tell you that story in case you didn't know it, to inspire you; to inspire you to know that every single one of you in this room can be more so that you can have more now. Did you notice how I said that? I did not say so you can have more, so you can be more. No, I said so you can be more, so you can have more. Because here's what's also so crazy about that story. Two or three years into me being a stockbroker, I now was making more money than I ever dreamed possible. I was making $10k or $20k a month, and that was more than my father sometimes made in an entire year. And now I am making money. I have six figures in my savings account. I don't have any debt for the first time in my life. I'm growing, and growing, and growing and want to know what the bummer was? I wasn't happy. I'm not happy, and if money isn't the key to happiness, now what the hell is ladies and gentlemen? Now while I will be the first to tell you, like I just did, that money alone will never make you happy. I'm also going to be the first to tell you, lack of money sure will make you miserable. It most certainly will. So then, we have to start looking at ourselves, so each and every one of you in this room is going to have to go within to see why you are doing without. What are all of you doing to be an obstacle in your own path to financial freedom? I cannot answer that for you, but you have to have enough courage to ask yourself that question, and answer that question without blaming it on somebody else. It's because he did this to me, my parents did that to me, well I don't know what it may be. But there is not an excuse large enough in this entire world to keep you from being who you are meant to be. Do you understand that, Apollo? Now, with that said, I also need to talk with you, however, about money. What to do with what you don't have. Because most of you don't have any money. I have a saying and it goes like this: It is important to learn how to make more out of less money. It's important to learn how to make more out of less. When you feel less than, you spend more than. When you feel less than, you fill up your emptiness because you are so lacking hope that anything in your life is ever going to change. You're never going to be able to do anything that you need to do, you're never going to be able to change your job, you're never going to do this, you're never going to save for retirement. So, what do you do? You go out and you buy yourself something so that you feel better. Have you ever noticed when you're out and you buy something to make yourself feel better, maybe you wear it once and you never wear it again? Have you ever wondered why, when you go into stores and you see things on sale and you don't really need them, but you buy them and then you go home and you never wear them? Ever. And so, you have clothes in your closets that have price tags on it. You have shoes and shoe boxes that you have never worn. You have five things... Why? Why? Because when you buy something out of a place of fear, shame or anger, the three internal obstacles to wealth, every time you look at that item, it reminds you of how you felt when you purchased it. And you never wear it again, and you don't even know why that is true. So, it's important that you start to do what? Declare your independence. And you're going to declare your independence by, you are going to define your clothes, your clothes are not going to define you. You are going to define yourselves and you're going to define yourself, even if that means you only have one pair of pants, one pair of shoes, it does not matter. What you wear, what you surround yourself with, the jewelry you have on means nothing. It is worthless. You give everything that you wear worth, do you agree with that? So, the reason that you have debt, most of you in this room have credit card debt. Why? Because you are paying for your present-day desires, but your costs are going to be your future day needs. Did you hear that? You have credit card debt. You are paying for your present-day desires. I want this, I want that, I want this, I want that. But your costs are going to be your future day needs. The medicine, your house payment, your rent payment, your electrical payment, your phone payment, those are needs. But yet, you are purchasing your present-day desires and wants. So how are we going to get you out of debt? We are going to take a vow, Apollo. Are you all ready to take a vow in front of God? All right? That is a unanimous yes for every single person in this room that has debt. You, who didn't have debt here? Right? Somebody here didn't have any debt. You, you're fine, you don’t need to listen to this. But if you have debt, here's your plan for your money. For the next 60 days, that's all I am asking for, 60 days. You can do this. I am asking you to live below your means but within your needs. I don't care if you have the money to buy something. I don't care. You're going to live below your means but within your needs. How do you do that? For the next 60 days, every time you go to purchase something, you are going to ask yourself this question: Is it a want or is it a need? What is a want? A want is food at a restaurant. Girlfriend, that's a want. What is a need? Food that you purchase at a store for you to eat at home, for you to eat at home. What is a want? It's filling your car with gasoline so you can just drive around. What is a need? Filling your car with gasoline so you can get to work. A need is medicine, a need is buying a Metro card for a month so you can save the money from buying it every single day because you're too busy buying wants over here you don't have the money to buy a true need here. If you could just change all of that around, I promise you your life will start to change. Third thing, can you please have and get as much pleasure out of saving as you do spending? Really, really everybody. Why? Why does spending money give you such a big thrill? Why? Know what's funny? One day, when you all have a lot of money, and that is my wish for all of you, so there's no reason that it shouldn't come true. But you're all sitting there thinking, oh yeah, like right. Do you already understand how your thoughts just duped you? You know there's a lot of money and it goes like this. Your thoughts create your destiny. Be very, very careful about what you think, because what you think you will eventually say. Be very careful about the words that you use, because your words become your actions. Be very careful about your actions, because your actions become your habits, and your habits become your destiny. So, when I stand on this stage and I say, when you're all very wealthy, and you go like, huh?! Don't blame me, don't blame me. That the money that you deserve to have come into your life is blocked because when God looks down and says, well, she doesn't think she deserves it, so I might as well give it to somebody else. Do you have any idea the amount of wealth that is out there? Do you have any idea the amount of money that is there, that has to go somewhere? Why shouldn’t it come to you? Why shouldn’t it come to you? Why shouldn’t it come to you? And the only reason is, how you think about it because you don't think it should come to you. It's far easier for you to stay down than to rise up. In 1999, I wanted to write a book after The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom that I wrote in 1997 that became the number one selling book of almost all time, for Random House. I wanted to write a book called The Courage to Be Rich, and Random House had my contract to write the second book for me, and I was in a meeting, and I said I want to write a book called The Courage to Be Rich. And they said, we don't want that title. I said, what do you want the title to be? And they said, The Courage to Be Poor. And I said, what are you talking about? I said, it doesn't take courage to be poor. Anybody could be poor, it's easy to be poor. It's not easy to be rich. It takes courage for you to open up your bills when you don't have the money to pay them. It takes courage to answer your phone when your creditors are calling you asking you for money and you don't have it. It takes courage to say to your family that's asking you for money, because they're not working and you are working, and takes courage to say no, I have credit card debt. I don't have money in retirement. You can go to work, you can take care of yourself, I'm not taking care of you anymore (unless it's your mother and father). Right? It takes courage to do that. So, it's really important that when I say something to you like, when you are wealthy, and all of you hopefully will allow yourselves to become wealthy. Hopefully, that will be true that you then stand in your truth what you need to do with that money. What's really important here is this: You will never have financial freedom if you have debt. Debt is bondage. It is bondage. And when you have debt, you continue to feel less than, and when you feel less than, you spend more than. Self-worth equals net worth. Are you understanding that? What my problem was in life, was I didn't know my own thoughts. I always went to other people and I said, well what do you think? What do you think? You tell me what to do. And it wasn't until I was almost 45 years-of-age that I was like, I am not listening to anybody anymore. God is talking to me and telling me what I need to do, so why should I listen to that person when I am being divinely guided? My only problem was, I wasn't listening to the right source. You could say preach, Suze, thank you. But I say this to you because you have to trust yourselves more than you trust others. Now it is easy for me to teach you what you need to know about money. It's this other stuff that nobody teaches. Brilliance comes when you look far beyond what money can buy. Brilliance comes when you look at yourself and you have faith in yourself, and you know that others have faith in you as well. And that you stick with those people who have faith, and you don't keep bad company, you keep good company. Oh, Robert, that is one of my favorites. I love it. In fact, I remember that March event because just the September before was the first time she had been on the Apollo stage and I was at that Apollo talk, and it is quite electrifying that venue. So, if you want to find out what's going on with Suze, send her messages, ask her questions, you can head over to her free app. You can find it on the Apple App Store or Google Play, just search Suze Orman. I think we all know how to spell that, S-U-Z-E Orman and you can find the app for free. So, after the part of the talk that you just heard, what happened at the Apollo was, Suze did basically a live Ask Suze Anything. So, just like we did back in April of 2019, we're going to present the highlights of that Ask Suze Anything for you this coming Thursday. I guess we'll talk to you all then. Thanks for listening, everyone. Hi, I'm Sarah, and I'm Robert, and we're from Suze Orman's Women and Money podcast team here to tell you that Alloya's member credit unions are so proud to have brought you this episode. You know, Robert, credit unions live by people helping people philosophy. Absolutely, Sarah. And that means when you bank with a credit union, you can trust that they have your best interest at heart. The fact is, regardless of circumstance, a credit union will have your back and keep your money safe, that's the credit union promise. Go to www.MyCreditUnion.gov to find a credit union that fits your needs. That's MyCreditUnion.gov. In providing answers neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman is acting as a Certified Financial Planner, advisor, a Certified Financial Analyst, an economist, CPA, accountant, or lawyer. Neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman makes any recommendations as to any specific securities or investments. All content is for informational and general purposes only and does not constitute financial, accounting or legal advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and financial advisors regarding your particular situation. Neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman accepts any responsibility for any loss, which may arise from accessing or reliance on the information in this podcast and to the fullest extent permitted by law, we exclude all liability for loss or damages, direct or indirect, arising from use of the information.


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Suze's Financial Strength Test

Answer Yes or No to the follow statements.

I pay all my credit card bills in full each month.

I have an eight-month emergency savings fund separate from my checking or other bank accounts.

The car I am driving was paid for with cash, or a loan that was no more than three years, and I sure didn’t lease!

I am contributing at least 10% of my gross salary to a retirement plan at work, or I am saving at least that much in an IRA and/or regular taxable account.

I have a long-term asset allocation plan for my retirement investments, and once a year I check to see if I need to do any rebalancing to stay on target with my allocation goals.

I have term life insurance to provide protection to those who are dependent on my income.

I have a will, a trust, an advance directive (living will), and have appointed someone to be my health care proxy.

I have checked all the beneficiaries of every investment account and insurance policy within the past year.

So how did you do?

If you answered yes to every item, congratulations. If you are working on improving on a few items, I say congratulations as well.

As long as you are comitted to truly creating financial security, I applaud you. If that means you are paying down your credit card balances, or are building up your emergency fun with automated payments, that’s more than fine. You are on your way!

But if you found yourself saying No to any of those questions, and you’re not working on moving to Yes, then I want you to stand in your truth. No matter how good you feel, you have some work to do before you can honestly know what you are on solid financial ground.

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