A Must-Read Letter

About Suze, Family, Personal Growth

May 28, 2013

Hello Peach,

Well much has gone on since we last chatted. Are you ready, better take a deep breath.

First let me say I am sure my days in the auto business are done. So much has changed and the pay plans are cut very thin. A younger salesperson would not know as an older experienced salesperson what the real profit margins are, or should be.

Reality is dealership owners honestly dislike their own salesman. Even though new car commissions were reduce to only 10% of the gross profit owners have always thought we still make too much money. In an effort to reduce a salesman's income, dealers put large packs on the niche cars that gross the most. Say a new SL that cost $100,00.00, it has a true invoice around $80,00.00, with a $20,000.00 profit margin.

Mercedes holds back 14% and creates invoices displaying those numbers for public view. Deals to the public and salesperson are working off only 6% gross profit, or in this case $6,000.00. The dealer THEN puts a $2500.00 pack meaning you get paid now 10% off of anything grossed above $2500.00.

The manufacturer pays the hidden money to the dealer for cars sold. Salesman never know any behind the scenes finances going on between the manufacture and dealer. These back door transactions now happens with all manufacturers and dealers. In the old days salesman used to make 3% of the sales price. 

To earn your bonus you are required to sell a certain number of cars, this is not unusual however, it is the twists added that drop your chances of hitting your bonus which are, you must sell 12 cars which must includes selling 4 used cars, all the grosses must be above $1500.00 to count toward your bonus, and your CSI score ( customer survey index ) must be above 80%. 

In short there are too many ways to not make your bonus rather than being rewarded for hard work and many long hours. I make more money off a single paver job than working a full month at the dealership with all the added sales pressure, mental stress, and heat. 

I continue to do pool remodels, paver driveways, patios and pool decks. I am working with a friend of mine who is a General Contractor / Pool Contractor. Smartly I kept working at Publix part time to keep earning my health benefits, I am currently 120 hours away from having health benefits.

You have to work 1500 hours for Publix within a year to qualify for health benefits. So @ Publix I only work from 5:00 -11:00, 5 days a week leaving all my mornings and days to sell and install paver work. I am only there for health benefits, 401K, and owning stock.

It has taken me a long time to mentally and financially recover from the disaster of the failing economy of 2008. At that time I only thought it was only me, feeling my business fail, selling assets to make payroll, losing real estate to the bank, losing a girlfriend, then the biggest hit, losing my mom. I never realized that the entire country was feeling and failing the same way too.

You said something to me a long time ago I will never forget. You know I can remember many, many times in conversation people saying, he makes 50K, he makes 75K, she makes over 100K, so in my young adult mind I always associated success with how much a person made. You told me once, “It isn't how much you make a year that is important, it is how much you can save a year that is important.” I am on a saving mission.

I am working hard, doing work I love to do, designing and installing hard scape for people who appreciate my vision and dedication to their happiness through my work. I made alot of money in the past, alot, but I had too big a nut to see and reap the rewards. Now because of you, I am debt free, condo, car, no credit cards, no loans, and will never be controlled again by burdening myself with debt. My life now is very different from the $4,000.00 a month million dollar home mom and I lived in or the $9,000.00 a month, 50K a year taxes, 15K a year association dues, 2 M dollar beach front property I used to own. Come to think of it, I never really "owned" those properties, in reality I simply only rented them from the bank.

The best gift a person can give them self is to become debt free, save as much money possible, to put them in a position to never have to depend on a bank.Having debt is like having a bad live in landlord, you don't like them, they drain you and drain you, and they never, ever, go away. When a person becomes debt free, they are truly free. 

I am on my comeback tour, and am feeling good enough, that I might even begin dating again. Well maybe in a few more months, I want to have my act together.

As always, thank you for what you do Suze you know I love you. My best to KT and hope you and your mom are doing well.

Oh Peach, I really like you in that grey top you were wearing on your TV show, you really look good in that soft grey color. You never seem to age.

Good night now.

Your Big Boy
Chippers :)

Suze Orman Blog and Podcast Episodes

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.

Suze Recommends

Suze Orman Blog and Podcast Episodes


Locking In a Guaranteed High Return

Read Now

Suze Orman Blog and Podcast Episodes

Home Ownership

Podcast Episode - Ask KT & Suze Anything: How Do I Choose a Financial Planner?

Read Now

Suze Orman Blog and Podcast Episodes


Your Ultimate Savings Opportunity Starts Now

Read Now