June 21, 2020
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In this episode, Suze and KT share special stories about their dads. These great and important memories shed some light on how they became the successful women they are today!
June 21, 2020. Welcome to the Women and Money podcast as well as the men, especially the fathers, who are smart enough to listen. Today is Father's Day, and given that on Mother's Day, my favorite person in the whole world joined me on this podcast, KT, we figured we can't both talk about our mothers and not both talk about our fathers, right? You got that right. So that's what we're going to do today, but I just want to talk a little bit about June 21st because for me and KT, I don't even know if you know this, but today, June 21, 39 years ago today, my father died. He actually died on Father's Day, and he was 71 years of age when he died. He would be 110 years old right now. Is that amazing KT or what? Well, it's more amazing that you're almost that age. Yeah, in a year from now, I will be 70, and I do, I think about that all the time. I think about oh my God, I'm essentially the age that my father was. I'm older than my mother was when my father passed away. But we're not going to talk about our father's passing away and the sadness of today. We're going to talk about the greatness of today because you want to know why KT? Why, Suze? Did you miss a beat there, kid? Did you just miss a beat? Anyway, did you fall asleep while I was talking already? No, I was thinking about sadness, and I really have one very, very sad memory and thought about my dad. Yes, but didn't you all just hear me say… No, let me tell everybody what it is. No, wait, God, can you all tell me why I did this to myself today? You know what it is? I only have one sad thought about my dad I have is that he never met you, Suze. And oh, he would have loved you so much. That’s the only sad thought I ever have over and over again is that of only if he could have met my Suze. Oh, man, he would have loved you so much. Even all the siblings say the same thing. And why is that? Because he loved the thought of investing in the stock market and the money that he never had but was so interested in learning. And he would have called you every day. He would have loved you because you love me, of course, but more importantly because of who you are. Oh, that's sweet. It's the only sad thought. All right, the reason that at least for me, this is a great day, KT, is that I think about my mother, and I think about my father. But the person who really shaped me in terms of my parents, for me to be who I am today, really, is my father. So, I just want to tell all of you a few stories about why my father really contributed to me being the Suze Orman that all of you have gotten to know. And I have to tell you the story that it started years and years ago that my father, as many of you probably know because I've told you a little bit about him in the past. My father had chicken stores and he actually started as a chicken plucker where you would come in and there would be these live chickens. And when I was growing up and I was really little, we had chickens running around. I mean, it was really an amazing thing when you think about it. There's a picture KT of my brother, Bobby, walking down our driveway with all these little chickens following him that was in the Chicago Tribune, just so you know. KT, what are you looking like that? I know where you grew up in Chicago, on the south side. I'm just trying to envision yard birds in the south side of Chicago walking around on your street and the driveway. They weren’t on the street, they were in our little driveway, and they would bring him to him and then you could take them back because he would raise them from little. I see. Got it? Yeah. I’ve got to find that story. Once again, I reiterate, why did I do this to myself today? But that's beside the point. So, he started out as a chicken plucker and you would come into the store and you would pick out the live chicken. He would then take it into the back and he would pluck it and you would take it home. And then, as time went on and supermarkets and everything came in, he switched from that to having barbecue chicken places in the Kresge stores in Chicago and then went on to open like a little deli. But in this deli, he also mainly sold chickens as well. But now they were in, you would come and you would pick out the chicken that you want already plucked and everything for you, and they would just take it away. So, I was about five or six years of age and I'm sitting there and I used to have to wait until my dad was done because we only had one car. My mom was a secretary, so, until she finished work and would come to where he was, I would have to wait there, and I was brought there by somebody else to wait with my dad. And so, I'm sitting there and we usually did not leave the store until all the chickens were sold. And there was one chicken left, and I was like, so excited because I knew my mom was going to be there soon and there was one chicken left, which means we could leave because it wasn't the most exciting thing for me to sit there and just sit there. But anyway, so this woman comes in and says, I would like a chicken, and he goes into the back room and he brings out the chicken, and he puts it on the scale and it weighs whatever it weighs. And he said something like, it's $1.75, or whatever price he said, I don't remember the exact price. And she says, well, do you have a bigger one? And he goes, yes. And I'm like what do you mean yes, I thought that there was only one chicken left? And he turns around, goes in the back, comes back out again, puts it on the scale and says something like, well, this one is $2.25. I'm like, what? And then she says, I'll take both of them. At that point, I got so afraid because I knew there was only one. I knew it. I like, ran out of this store because I didn't want to hear what was going to happen. But that was a vital learning experience in my life. And the reason that it was vital is that was the beginning of where “people first, then money” came into play because my Daddy should have been honest. He should have just said no, there was only one. He shouldn't have tried to make more money that way. So even at that age, my dad really started whether he knew it or not, to teach me about money. That’s great, I love that story. And I can just envision your little face. I love that story. You tell a story now, KT, about your dad. My most common and favorite money memory of my dad was how he had this expression and this was really throughout our whole lifetime. He used to always say, “one day my ship will come in.” And that expression obviously means that one day he'll get a windfall of money or good luck or good fortune. And he was the most optimistic man I've ever known in my lifetime. He always would look at my mom and say, “Anna May, one day my ship will come in.” And you could ask all the brothers and sisters, we have that vivid memory of him being so hopeful and so optimistic about good fortune and good luck. The truth is, his ship never came in. He actually never really had a windfall of cash, never really made a lot of money. But until the day he died, he was always hoping and wishing and wanting that ship to come in. And Suze, what it taught us was never give up, never stop hoping, never stop dreaming and never, ever give up, ever. Do you think your father, when he died that he felt like he died a poor man? No, I don't. He never wanted to die, it took him a really long time to die. So, what's interesting is that your story about your dad about never giving up also relates to the story about my father who never gave up. And my father, really everybody, must have had the worst luck of anybody I had ever met in my life. You know, it's really just amazing, and a lot of his bad luck he brought on upon himself. But my father really struggled with money and he struggled with money most of his life because he would get ill. You all again know the story about him rushing into his burning chicken shack that was on fire to get the cash register because it was the only money that he had to our names and he needed to bring it out. And it was metal in those days, and he brings out the scalding box and he gets third-degree burns on him. And then because of that, he had smoke inhalation, and that ends up in emphysema. So, for the rest of his life, he suffered horrifically from emphysema. And every night, I would hear him struggle and he could never really lie down. I don't know if a lot of you know about emphysema, but when you can't breathe, you really can't lie down, you have to sleep sitting up, and he would have this machine next to the bed that would help him breathe. But every night, even though I could hear him cough every single night, he would get up in the morning, put on his clothes, and he would go to work because nothing could stop him from going to work until he was in the hospital, which he went in often. Then the kids, my brothers and I, had to go and work the store along with my grandmother, along with my mother. It was a very interesting way to grow up. But what that taught me, KT was, and we have a saying in the household is that “an Orman never gives up.” And I watched my father never give up. And what that did for me is that there are times when I've had to do things, everybody, and I have been sick as a dog. I mean, like running a 104 fever, not being able to speak. I mean, and I have 4k people in front of me and I've got to do it two days in a row because we had sold out both days and it was a long talk, and somehow, I did it. And I don't know how I did it, but I would always in the back of my mind say my father did it, I can do it. And my mom would always say, an Orman never gives up, right? And so that added to my strength. Do you feel like your father added to your strength in terms of who you are? Totally. Tell me how. Oh, my goodness. Unlike my mother, he was extremely positive, optimistic, a dreamer. And he always believed we could do anything, anything and everything. He thought not just myself or my twin sister, but all of his children, he absolutely never, he was never a doubting Thomas. He was always a very positive guy and we never gave up. But how does that relate to who you are to this day? Because I always go for it. I always believed I could do anything. And when you do anything, does he ring in the back of your head like as you're going to do it? Yes. And she's not kidding, everybody, she believes she can do anything. I can open any door, and he taught me that, he taught us that. He taught us that if you just go for it, be very, very positive. I always believe that I could be anywhere, I could open any door, I belonged everywhere. And I'm talking about the globe, people, because I lived in Asia most of my adult life and worked in 18 countries. So, I would go everywhere and anywhere and feel at home or felt that I belonged. And I never felt less than. My dad, we had nothing, we were very, very simple, middle-class family with a lot of love, a tremendous amount of love. But he gave us that inspiration, he was very inspiring, very inspiring. And when she says she feels like she can do anything, oh, she does believe it. You best believe it. And she does. Sometimes she tells me what she's going to do, and I'm like, oh, yeah, like right. And 10 minutes later, she comes in and she goes, guess what I just did? So, it's really, really important that we think about how our parents both positively and negatively, truthfully, have affected who we are. And I understand very well that today is a day of celebration and celebrating fathers because all of us have fathers, whether we know our fathers or not. Our fathers are absolutely part of this equation. And as I've talked to you on podcasts before, not everything about my father, believe me, was great. Absolutely not. But it's in those parts that also happened to me that made me great. It made me great, it made me realize I can overcome anything. I can do anything, a lot like you, KT. So, I know a lot of you may be listening to these stories and you may be going, that's not what my father did to me. My father did this, my father did that. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because today, starting today, June 21st we’re right now on the longest day. Yesterday, today, the longest days of the year and the longest days of the year mean that the sun shines for the longest. And when the sun is shining upon you, you have got to let it warm your soul. You have got to let it give you the energy for you to rise up and for you to really conquer any and every situation in your life. So, this isn't just about Father's Day today. This is also about the day that's the longest day that the sun is in the sky. It's really important, everybody, that you let the sun shine upon you today. You know, another story about my father that taught me about money as we didn't have much money. He was going through very, very difficult times after his one little chicken shack burnt down. He went and he got another one and that one, everything, he went through two fires. Like I said, bad luck. But what was fascinating about his bad luck is that his bad luck always turned into good luck until it turned into bad luck again. And then to good luck. It was very interesting for me to watch the cycle growing up. But he was really struggling with money most of his adult life after he had gotten sick. And I was like, OK, all right, they always said, you're going to have to put yourself through school, Suze. You're going to have to do this, you can't do that. You just, you know, you have to work, you can't play, you got to work, work, work. So, not only did they give me an incredible work ethic, but here's the other lesson he taught me. So, in the city of Chicago, now he owned a deli and he was mainly selling corned beef sandwiches, and pastrami, and you know sandwiches like that. And he always had a line out the door and his sandwiches were so big, I can't even tell you. And people would just line up because they loved his sandwiches and they were affordable. And in Chicago, especially in downtown Chicago, there are a lot of delis. So, my friends and I, every once in a while, would go downtown and we would go to a deli and we would get a sandwich there. And I didn't have a lot of money, so, I would split usually a sandwich with a friend. And I would look at these sandwiches, and they were half the size of my dad's and almost twice the amount of money that he charged. And so, I’d come home and I’d say, Dad, I have a solution to all our money problems. And he said and what is that, Suze? I said, simple. Raise your prices and stop putting this much meat on there. And he looked at me and he said, you know, Suze, I would rather make 50% of something rather than 100% of nothing. And then he said to me, but Suze, these people that come into my store, they don't have a lot of money. Have you ever looked at them? They're just like us. It's like, why would I want to charge them more and give them less? It's a fair price, and I feel good about it, and I'm happy with the amount of money that I'm charging. They're happy with the amount of money, they're paying, so why would you want me to change that? I just looked at him and I go, I don't know, I thought it was a good idea. Wait, I have to tell everyone, so I've been to the location of Morry's deli. Suze's daddy's name was Morry, and Morry's Deli in Hyde Park in the south side of Chicago was very, very, very popular. And to this day, I think the sign and it still says Morry’s. When my daddy died, someone bought it, but because of the legacy of that deli, they never changed the name. And when we went with one of the TV shows, did a walkthrough of Suze's, you know, childhood and we're walking around with cameras and we stop in front of Morry's Deli. The people in that neighborhood were much older and they would come by and say, is that you little Suze Orman? Is that Suze Orman? And obviously she's famous, so they recognize her, but they would stop and tell Suze how they remember her dad's sandwiches. And when Daddy ran that deli that it was the best in all of Chicago, and they repeat that same story. Best pastrami sandwich I ever had in my life, Suze. And I'll never forget that. And we'll have to share with everyone on your app where they could actually see that little clip and that show of Morry's Deli, which would be fun for some of you. Or, if you happen to be in Chicago, it's on 56th in Lake Park, there, that's where it is. On the corner, you’ll find it, in High Park. My dad also taught me, KT, about generosity, and he taught me about it in two ways. Once, I came into the house and he was watching television and he was crying and he was watching the Wheel of Fortune. And I was like, why is my father crying? I go, Daddy, what's wrong? And he said I'm just so happy for all the people that are winning money. It's like, oh my God, Suze, can you even imagine what that must be like for them? And one of my books, I can't remember which one, I dedicated it to him and that story because that lesson taught me to be happy for others great, good fortune. It's OK if that fortune wasn't mine, but to be generous in spirit and nature. And I really feel that I've done a great job living my life by that, being happy for others, wanting others to want more. And, you know, in one of my books, The Laws of Money, Lessons of Life, there is a law of life and a law of money that goes, “May every wish that you wish another be a wish that you wish for yourself for in fact, it is.” So, we have to wish others greatness, not be jealous of others, not want others to fail so that we can succeed. Because if you want others to fail, that wish is going to come back right on your head. That's true. What else you want to talk about KT? I think that kind of covers it. I was just really happy to hear the stories, again, of our dads, and I see their faces. And again, my only regret is my father never met you. But when I think of him, I always smile. And he was, again, this incredibly optimistic man. He loved my mother like crazy, crazy in love with her. So, we grew up with a tremendous amount of knowing what real love looked like and felt like and most of all, never to give up. Yeah, you know, how come you don't wonder if my dad would ever have loved meeting you? He would have loved me of course. No, Suze, I have no doubt, he would have loved me so much because I'm, you know, I would give him so many ideas. He would just be so happy to see how happy we are, just like your mom. Remember that story? I know we told that story. You know, my dad and your dad had a lot in common in that your dad loved the stock market and he loved those things. So did my father. My father would sit there, and every morning he would open up the newspaper to look at all the stock quotes and all the stocks, and he would subscribe to something, I don't even know what he subscribed to. But all these things would come in about stocks, and stocks, and stocks. And he said, I just love learning, Suze, I just want to know about it. I mean, I'm sure if CNBC was around when my daddy was alive, that he would have, you know, watched it all the time. We would have brought him on the show. But one of the things that made him the most proud was really in 1980 when I became a stockbroker, and he just couldn't believe that his daughter was a stockbroker. And again, I may have told this story, but I'll never forget when he was in the hospital and he was pretty close to his death at that time, and I came in to see him. I flew in from California and my mom was there and it was my birthday and they had a little gold watch, which really wasn't gold. It was like a little Seiko or Timex or one of those watches, but that looked like a Rolex that looked the part, even though it wasn't. And they were so proud to give it to me so he could say my daughter should look like she's a stockbroker. And I was like, OK, Daddy, you betcha. And I wore that watch forever. Sweet. Forever, right? So, both of us miss our dads. You know, my only regret in life, and I've said this many times, but I could never say it enough. My only regret in life, what is my one only regret, KT, do you know it? That he never saw how you became successful and were easily able to take care of your mom? Because his dying wish was, and he felt like a broken man, if you remember, that he couldn't take care of you and your mom. Your brothers were already grown up, but he just felt he failed. And if only he could have seen the success and the way we did take care of your mom. Oh, my goodness. And we're taking care of ourselves and our family members. So, I hope that all of you feel that we bring a little joy, and love, and generosity, and the spirit of never giving up, and the spirit of loving things, and going for it, and everything that we're made up of and we're made up of because of our fathers. I hope you feel that our fathers, through us, have also blessed all of you. What do you want to say, KT? I want to say to all the daddy's out there, make sure your daughters listen to the Women and Money podcast. Now that's the best advice I've ever heard Miss Travis give. We both wish you, every daddy out there, a happy, happy Father's Day. Yeah, baby. 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. 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