October 20, 2019
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Belonging and being accepted is a key to financial success. Just back from a trip to Washington, D.C. Suze talks about belonging and how in order to be successful, you have to be proud of who you are.
Welcome everybody to the Women and Money podcast today. As this podcast is dropping, it is October 20th, however, this podcast is being recorded on October 16, 2019. And I like to give you the dates when I'm doing something just so it gives you a reference to the rants or whatever it is that I'm having and to keep it in context.Yesterday, October 15, I was in Washington, D.C, and I had a chance, for 15 minutes, to speak and an event called Out and Equal. It was a fabulous, fabulous event where 6000 people were there from the LGBT community and those who want to support it. Many CEOs from Bank of America, Northrop Grumman, many, many were there wanting to know everything that they needed to know to make their workplace equal so that everybody can be out and in a work environment that people would love to be in, and stay in. And right before me by the way, and before I go on to the purpose of today's podcast I just want to say before I spoke, there was a woman by the name of Lena Waithe who spoke before me, and oh my God. When I say this is one of the most brilliant women I have ever met in my life, that's putting it mildly. Many of you probably know Lena, she was in Master of None. In fact, she was the first black woman to win a Primetime Emmy Award for the comedy series and her episode on Thanksgiving. This was in 2017 where she comes out to her, you know, her family, her mother, and but what you really need to know her for, is she has a new movie coming out Thanksgiving in 2019 called Queen and Slim, and it's probably a movie that every single one of us needs to see. So this is not a want, this is a need because every one of us, in my opinion, needs to understand racism and what's happening in America today.But I digress, let me go back to the point of today's podcast, and it was in this 15-minute talk where I was trying to get across the message of what made Suze Orman, Suze Orman. I am sure everybody was like, all right, Suze Orman, you've been gay your entire life, you've been able to become who you are. How did you do that? And I just want to talk about that today, because I think the message is an important one. And this has something to do with money, trust me on that. Somehow, I think it would be hard for me to talk about anything that didn't have to do with money.But here is what I want you to know. Yes, it is true that I've been a lesbian my entire life, which is a long life, given that I'm 68 years of age right now. And I always knew, really, that I was a lesbian or even in grammar school I had lesbian tendencies, even though I didn't even know really what a lesbian was back then. But I sure knew that I liked women more than men. And maybe I'm just one of the lucky ones that always knew who I was, and therefore, it never was a big deal, really, for me. But as I got older and I started to be in the corporate world. So in 1980 here I am, almost 30 years of age being hired at Merrill Lynch, one of their first women, in fact, their first woman stockbroker in the Oakland office. It was like not only was I a woman, but I was a lesbian woman as well. And what was so interesting about being a lesbian woman is that I was always proud of the fact that I was gay, and so I let everybody know that I was gay. And what was fascinating about that is, that because there were no women at Merrill Lynch at the time, and most of the time when they gave a birthday party for one of the male brokers, they would hire a stripper, believe it or not, to come in and perform for that gentleman. They thought that because I was gay and I was attracted to women, that I could be one of them, and I could enjoy watching the woman stripper. It didn't matter it was the most sexist thing I ever heard of in my life, but that's how they thought about me, so they felt like I belonged. And because of that, they were supportive of me in their very weird way. When other women started to be hired at Merrill Lynch that we're not gay, they looked at them differently, believe it or not. They looked at them as sex objects, women that they could sleep with, and that never happened to me.So, what was interesting about that is that in their own way, the Oakland office of Merrill Lynch was supportive of me, accepting of me and because they accepted me for who I was, sexuality speaking, I was able to be the best I could be, financially speaking, because I didn't have to prove anything else to them. And that's when I decided, and this is an important point, especially for the LGBTQ community and those that hire any of us. This is the point that is so important. I never wanted to be known as a lesbian who was a financial advisor. I wanted to be known as a financial advisor, a great financial advisor, the best in the world, who happened to be a lesbian. Do you understand the difference? So many times, in my opinion, what we want to show to the world is our sexuality. But what I want you to show the world is first who you are. And every one of us, in my opinion, is more than just a lesbian, a gay man, bi-sexual, trans, or queer. We're so much more than that.We're a doctor, we're a lawyer, we're a mother, we're a taxi driver, we're a garbage collector, we're a waitress, we're all of these things as well. But really, we're just people who are great, who love, who need to be brave, who need to be bold, but they also need to belong. So as time went on in my life, I excelled financially because everywhere I went, yes, I made sure that everybody knew that I was a lesbian. But before they even knew that I was a lesbian, they knew what I would bring to the equation, financially speaking. So in this talk, I went on to talk about my deals with my very first publisher of a big book. Now remember, it was in 1995 that I wrote my first book called You've Earned It, Don't Lose It, and that book went on to sell 800,000 copies, which is absolutely amazing in hardback. But that was a book that when I went to every single publisher to present that book, there wasn't one publisher in 1995 that wanted a financial book by a woman, forget that it was a financial book by a lesbian woman. They just didn't even want a book by a woman. They thought there were enough financial books out there at the time. That book just went on to sell on its own, and again, to put that in perspective, most hardback authors are lucky when they bring out a book if it sells 600,000 to 625,000 copies in hardback.So compare that to the 800,000 in hardback with no publicity, really, that You've Earned It, Don't Lose It sold. And that was before The Suze Orman Show, that was before Oprah, that was before PBS. The only outlet for that book really was QVC and yes, that helped sell a lot of them. But that in its own right, was an amazing thing because prior to that time there were no books besides cookbooks that sold on QVC because to sell a book, you have to be able to demonstrate it. So what people were buying when they were buying that book on QVC is they were buying me. They saw me as a financial person, not as a lesbian. I don't even know if they saw me as a woman, but they saw me as somebody who was absolutely knowledgeable about what I was talking about. So when I went for my second book, The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom, which went on to be one of the best-selling books of all-time, when the book proposal, the idea of the book, was put out to all the same publishers that turned me down. What was interesting is, now every single one of them wanted that next book of mine because the first one was so successful, and a bidding war starts for this next book, The Nine Steps.Now, remember, You've Earned It, Don't Lose It went to a very small publisher by the name of Newmarket Press. A woman who saw me met me in person and said, oh my God, we have to do this book, and was willing to pay me $10,000 to write that book. I simply wanted to write a book to give it to my clients to impress them, that was it, never to become what I've become. And I said to the woman, Esther, I said, so you're going to pay me $10,000 to write a book? Do I get the books to give to my clients? She said, yes, and that was my beginning. Again, she saw me, me, what I did, what I had a passion for, she also knew that I was gay and she didn't care about that because all she cared about was my message.Fast forward again. Back to The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom. There's a bidding war that's starting for this book, every publisher wants it, and it gets up to $800,000 for the book, all right? And I am sick to my stomach because number one, I don't know how to write, I'm a finance person, and somebody's going to pay me $800,000, this is 1996, to write a book. Are they crazy? So, it would have continued on the bidding war, it would have gone into a $1.5 million if it continued. But I stopped it at $800,000 because I just couldn't take that much money, and thinking that maybe if the book didn't sell, I didn't want anybody to lose money on me. But before I accepted the offer and I decided I wanted to go to Crown, and the main reason I wanted to go to Crown, by the way, is that they were the publisher of Deepak Chopra. And his books were so successful, and they always had obviously a spiritual bent, and my books and everything I do has a spiritual bent. I thought, oh, they'd be the perfect publisher for me. So, I go into Chip Gibson's office at Crown, he was the president at the time, and I said, Chip, I have two things I want to tell you. Number one, I don't know how to write. And Chip says, oh finally, an author who knows they don't know how to write. And I said, number two, I am a lesbian, and if anybody asked me if I am gay if I'm a lesbian, I am going to say yes, I am. And he says, tell me something we don't know. We knew that about you, Suze, you had talked about it when you were in the meeting with us at first when we met you. We don't care.Once again now, I am being supported by a corporation, that made me feel like I belonged. They didn't care that I was gay, all they cared about was that I could produce a book for them that they thought could be a best seller because they loved the concept of The Nine Steps To Financial Freedom. And because they made me feel like I belonged, I could excel. And then as time went on and I started to become Suze Orman, I would always before I did work with any corporation or any deal, I would first strike the deal, I would present my financial knowledge. I would present what I was doing, and these were serious multi-million dollar deals with Gulf Stream, with PBS, with General Electric, and the list can go on and on, the deals that we were striking back then, Safeway. And after the deal was struck, before I would sign I would say, there's one more thing that you have to know, you have to know that I'm a lesbian. So, does your corporation want to be involved with me knowing that I'm a lesbian? And they would always say to me, of course, we do. Of course, we do, we're not hiring you or not hiring you because of that, we're hiring you for your financial knowledge. You're the best at what you do, and that's what we want.So again, I felt like I belonged. The reason that I'm talking about this right now is that for those of you listening, and I know there are CEOs listening, I know there are corporations that are listening. I know that you as an LGBTQ member of whatever that you are also listening. Or maybe you're listening and your children are a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer. What needs to be presented in your life isn't that you are a lesbian, you are gay, you are bisexual, you are trans, you are queer, although that has to be presented. But the main part of your life is what do you do when it comes to making money? And whatever it is that you do and you want to be, you have to be the best you could possibly be with that. Again, you have to be the best waitress, you have to be the best teacher, you have to be the best nurse, you have to be the best financial advisor, you have to be the best at whatever it is that you want to do, and that is what you present to the world along with the fact of your sexuality. But that is so important for your financial success. It's not just one, it's not just the other, you are a full package, but that full package has to find a place in life where you belong. So, you don't want to stay somewhere where you don't belong, because belonging and being accepted is the key to financial success.Because when you belong, you feel brave, you feel bold, and then you can be out and equal. But then everybody looks at you, not like you are gay, or lesbian, or bisexual, or trans, or queer. They look at you like you are the best financial advisor in the world, and that's how people look at me. Remember my goal? I wanted to be the best financial advisor, the best personal financial advisor in the world that happens to be a lesbian. And I love that I'm a lesbian, and I love KT more than life itself, and it's the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Will I forever be sad that my mother never accepted it, really? Of course, I will, but the non-acceptance of others out there of who I am doesn't keep me from being who I am.I don't know why I wanted to talk about this today, but I most certainly did. I want to thank every major corporation out there, little corporations, little mom and pop stores anywhere that we go, any entity that hires us, or whatever it is, that supports us, all the listeners to the Women and Money podcast, I want to thank you. Because it's obvious that if you are listening to this podcast, you have to be supportive on some level. And that if we could make this a world where we all belong, regardless of our sexuality, regardless of our race, regardless of our religion, regardless of our beliefs, where we really accept one another and we wish the best for each other, and we create a world of belonging, then can you imagine if we also excel in what we do, to be the best of what we do? The absolute magic that we can create in this world and this world needs it. Look at this world, this world, in my opinion, is falling apart. Everybody is at everybody's neck. They all want this, they all want that. It's like we're strangling one another. So, I want this podcast to be one that we free ourselves and in freeing ourselves, we could hopefully start to free this world. So, you have to be authentic, you have to be proud of who you are, and to be proud of who you are and what you do, you have to be brave, you have to be bold, and you have to find a place where you belong and nothing, nothing can stop you.So, that's today's podcast. Does it have something to do with money? It has everything to do with true wealth because always, in the end, you have to remember that money will come and money will go. You have to remember that in the end, you cannot take a penny with you. So then, what is the definition of true wealth? I will leave you with this final thought. True wealth is that which can never diminish. The true wealth of your own self-worth is absolutely priceless. 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. To find the right Credit Union for you, visit https://www.mycreditunion.gov/.