Podcast Episode - Suze & KT's Formula For Financial Harmony


Estate Planning, Family, Investing, Retirement, Saving


July 07, 2019

Listen to Podcast Episode:

In this special episode of Women & Money, Suze introduces you to a very special person, her spouse, KT! Suze and KT share how they live together and make their financial decisions.


Podcast Transcript:

July 7, 2019. Alright. The time has come. You have asked and we are answering. On today's podcast I have a special guest, KT. She said, we. It's me, it's KT. Finally, everybody. I'm here. You know, before we started this, I said, no, KT don't be practicing, No, we're not practicing. You're on okay, this is it. This is live. Jesus, why did I agree to this? So here's the thing. You have asked, like I said, and we're gonna answer. And the thing that you want to know the most from the two of us, is how do we do our relationship financially speaking. For those of you who are new to the Women & Money podcast, along with the men who are smart enough to listen, let me just tell you a little bit about KT. KT is my spouse. We have been together now for 19 years. What do you think? Almost 20. She has such a smile on her face, she exaggerates everybody. So just know that right now, she exaggerates. Right? So we have been together really, since 2001. So it's 18 years, but we say 19 because we started our 19th year. Okay. And I had been in many relationships prior to this as you know, and it wasn't until I was 50 years of age when I met KT, that really for the first time ever I felt I was with somebody who was not just my equal, but somebody who really held my heart dearly, who treasured my life and my feelings and my desires as much as hers really, if not more. And it was the first time in my life that I had a relationship where I felt respected, and I felt loved, and I felt care for, and more importantly I felt like I had a family. Oh, nice. Oh you like that KT? Yeah that was that sweet, sweet, very sweet. Alright, good. Alright. And the thing that you don't know about KT is that I met KT at her house where she was having a dinner, where friends of hers who were also friends of mine thought that I should meet KT. She had just returned from Hong Kong and they thought she might need some financial help. When we met that night, what did you say to me Miss Travis? So we're having dinner and I didn't know who this Suze Orman was, and here I am a newbie in America and San Francisco, but I was a big shot in Asia in the branding world in advertising. Tell them what you did. No, no, no it doesn't, no it doesn't matter. But I had a big, I had a big life and very - she was president – one of the presidents of Ogilvy. I was very arrogant and Suze looked at me and said, oh so you build brands, what could you do for me? And I asked her how old she was. She said she was about to turn 50. And I looked at her and I was very honest. I said you have about a five-year window. At that moment, I didn't know she was. Talk about wanting to give me a slap down. But she didn't, and couldn't because I'm the host. It's my house. It's my party, and she's a guest. And that's what where it led to tremendous curiosity and intrigue between both of us. That's where it all started. So then KT and I started to work together, and also started to obviously be romantically involved. No, no, no. We just fell in love at the get-go. I did not fall in love with you that night! We did this long distance. I have to tell you all. You did not fall in love with me that night! No, no, no. Not that night. That night at the get-go was that night. Well, no, shortly thereafter we started communicating and writing, and back then, I mean we didn't have half of the technology we have now. We had these little like AOL mail things. And in any event - I wrote her the most romantic emails. The most romantic! Oh my God I was brilliant. We started to work together. We started to live together. And really, since then, we have spent seven days a week, 24 hours a day together. KT is behind. Wait I have to tell you what she did. The first thing Suze did about money with me. I go meet her in San Diego. We fly back to San Francisco, and on the plane she asks to look at my wallet, and I had this really beautiful leather passport and card portfolio, because I lived in Asia. We always carried passports, not just a driver's license. I opened it up. I must have had about 50 cards from every club, every airline, every club, every store, you name it. I had it. Suze immediately started taking them out and folding them in half. Like to break them. And I'm with her. Like just I only know her a few weeks and we're flying the first time together. And I’m like, what are you doing? Tell them why you did that. Because you shouldn't have had them! She told me I needed three cards. Three. Her wallet was a disgrace. No, no, no, it was beautifully organized but too much stuff, right? We still have too much stuff. No it wasn't, it wasn't messy on any level. It was beautiful. Keep telling them why you did that. I'm sitting here just in shock because it was not beautiful. But again, that's not what this is about. So we started to work together and that really wasn't easy for KT, because here she’s the new kid on the block even though, and she wasn't letting me say this to you, KT was one of the five presidents of Ogilvy Mather in Asia, and - in Hong Kong. And was in 18 - how many different countries? I worked in 18 countries. I had a fabulous company and staff, a stellar reputation, a portfolio of the most coveted clients anyone in the world would want to work for. All famous, all very, very top in their game. And, was probably one of the best artistic directors, which means directing tv, directing commercials – well brand building. In the world. No, in Asia. Alright, so she won't let me exaggerate about her. No. So so what happened was, we start working together, and I was kind of seen by Suze's colleagues as either a money grabber, and meanwhile you didn't tell them I was already a baby millionaire when she met me, I was perfectly fine, and very, very stable and owned like a $4 million San Francisco. So I was okay. I met Suze, and we were intrigued with each other because of love, and our common, we told funny stories to each other all the time. We laughed, and we still laugh all the time, a lot a lot of fun. So I had to start from ground zero with Suze and all of her colleagues who didn't know who I was. So I figured, okay, fair enough, you know, I'll earn my stripes. And it was very difficult, and I had to really swallow my pride, which wasn't easy for someone like me, and I did. And earned my stripes in a big way. First with the publishers, then with business partners, then opening new doors and landscapes of business that Suze had never entered on her own. And we really flourished very quickly. Our first five years together were spectacular. But here's what's important now, which is what you want to know. We're living together, we're loving together. And now how do we share money. Again, KT told you that she was financially independent when she met me, obviously I was financially independent when I met KT, but now we're earning money, and how do we split that money? KT, do you want to tell them? Let me tell you a Suze mistake, this is a mistake that Suze Orman, the great world's personal finance, you know, genius made. She was so enamored by me in the beginning of this relationship, she wanted to 50/50 split income. And I insisted no way. And she said, what? Are you crazy? Why wouldn't you do that? And I said because Suze, it's not right. I'm acting as a brand builder, your agency, your advocate, your publicist. I'm performing a duty that in the real world and market, would be worth X percentage of the total income that the brand earn. Now, when I explained that to her, she still wanted to give me 50% of everything. And I declined, because I said if you do that, you'll ruin my reputation. You'll actually ruin the ethics by which I work. What was important seriously about that, is we had decided, that KT should never have to be dependent on me to get the money that she was helping me create. So every contract that we did, KT was written into the contract. And that is still true to this day, that when I get paid, I get paid my percentage, and KT directly from whoever it is that is hired us, whether it's a book contract, or whatever it may be. That check goes directly to KT. And what that does, is it guarantees that KT gets the residual royalties for the rest of her life, even if I all of a sudden go crazy, and I say I don't want to be with you anymore KT. KT doesn't have to worry about her future income. Not that she has to worry about any income anyway. But it was Suze's, actually brainchild to do this. And I have to say for all of you in professional relationships, make sure you really take this to heart. Because what it did, it was a divorce insurance policy pretty much. And we weren't even married then because we couldn't be in the United States in the beginning. So, for those of you that have, you know, coworking or share companies – but true for husband and wife, wife and wife, husband and husband! Nobody should have to ask their spouse or somebody they're sharing money with for money. It should be set up from the beginning that way, or right now. And to this day, KT and I do not have one joint account. Do we own things jointly? Yes, we own the condo that we live in jointly. We own things like that jointly. But we have no account, no money account. Do we own the boat together? No! No, that's Suze's boat. She doesn't even let me drive. Yeah, but ask her who owns the island. KT! Thank you. I think she got the better deal there. But that's because that was a gift to KT from me. You know, if anything ever happened to us, I wanted to know that KT had that, and that was her baby. So we divided things that way, while we were in love. Because the time to prepare for the what ifs of life is not when you are in a state of hate. I want to give them some really valid tips of how we live together. And one of the things that we do, which is great, is that we discuss, we never make a big ticket purchase item or any kind of item without consulting each other, or agreeing that we both want something. Um it's really a very, very clear cut and very respected way to live together, and to deal with money. We don't keep any secrets from each other, we're totally transparent. I never buy something and say uh by Suze’s gonna get mad at me, I better hide this. And she doesn't do that with me either. But we, we work together very closely on um the needs, the wants and the must-haves in terms of, you know, our spending. We also, are at a point in our age, we're both very, very blessed. We are not in a position where we really want anything anymore, I mean both of us. We just want more time. And we want to be healthy, things that money can never buy is the needs and wants for us at this age. So I just want to give you an example of how we make joint decisions together. So I want you to listen to this closely. We were looking, for the San Francisco house, a statue of a buddha. This particular statue that we were looking for forever that we wanted at the bottom of a staircase. And we were looking, and we were looking, and we were looking. And we drove up to this one art store in San Francisco - this is when we lived in San Francisco. And KT has to go park the car, I get out, I go in and it's there. This statue is perfect, it is absolutely everything we have ever envisioned, and I say to the guy will take it, I'll buy it. KT walks in, go on KT. And Suze said KT, look what I bought us! And I looked at her, without even looking at what it was, and I was hurt. I was physically like, wait a minute, what do you mean what you bought? We agreed we do these things together. And I trust Suze's taste, I trust Suze, she makes great decisions. But she kind of broke our little rule. She broke our little golden rule that we discuss these things together. So what did we do? There was no way we could buy that statue anymore because that statue, even though it was stunning, would remind us of the hurt that had happened when we were about to go buy it, right. So I'm just giving you a little idea about how important it is to really, really communicate with your spouse or the person that you are living with. And it doesn't matter how much money you have, or how little money you have. Every decision needs to be made together. We both look at our statements. When it comes to investing, KT is in control of her own money. She talks to the people, she looks at it. She goes over her own statements, and she has to make her own decisions, because truthfully she drives me crazy. She's like if we, if all of a sudden I bought a stock and it's up 50% in a day and if I buy another stock and it's down 50% in a day, I’m like sell, sell, sell! And it drives me nuts. So we have also decided, that we're not going to consult each other on what I'm buying in my portfolios and what she buys in her portfolios because she also has to learn, and she's learned. That if God forbid anything happens to me, it's KT that inherits absolutely 100% of everything, and she has to be empowered and the time to learn about it is not when I'm not here. It was now. Right? And, and to that point you have to know where everything is, and what you have at all times. And for relationships that don't share that responsibility, I'm KT urging you to do it. Know where it is. Listen, Suze is a genius when it comes to money, I'm still clueless. I still get mixed up between all the different Roth IRAs out there. Trust me. But I do know - the day she was asking me, what is this five year rule? What is, I just don't get it. Why, what, what, what? Anyway, I'm always confused on that topic. But in any event I do know, all of our investments, mine as well as Suze's. I know everything that we have in terms of bank accounts, everything. Um I mean we, we also keep in our protection portfolio at hand of all of our essential documents. Another thing that's really important. I mean we live in hurricane land. So, and when we were in San Francisco we were an earthquake land. So, wherever we are we know we can grab and go with our essentials. Suze keeps hold of passports, and I pretty much have all of our contracts, business deeds, everything else. And we both know where these things are. It is so important to do that. So you're getting a little glimpse. We won't go on and on forever. But you're getting a glimpse that what makes my relationship with KT, KT's relationship with me really so successful, is that we both have equal responsibility for every single part of our relationship, whether it is financial, whatever level it's on. It's a shared responsibility. And so, would you say, what are you smiling about Travis? Well, the one time that, I make – well, I've made Suze crazy a couple of times because we work in las Vegas often, and visit. But we usually are in that Sin City which I love for work. And Suze and I have stayed at every major hotel, have walked through every casino, and I personally love roulette. I don't count fast enough to play the card games, or poker, all of that. But I love roulette. And Suze won't even walk on the floor of a casino, let alone gamble. That's like just not in her DNA. What I did for my birthday, I did I did all my friends met us to go see Lady Gaga, and they all wanted to gamble, and I swallowed it, and I stood there and watched but she watched us all lose money. Remember what I did, as soon as they were all ahead, I took their chips. She took chips from Jill. Jill was playing 21. And every time, every time they won, Suze leaned over on the table and took the chips off. And she was holding this big stack of chips because, and you gave it back to them, but not to gamble. But they all left having made money! But anyway, but the point is to tell them the story. So I had $20, and I put it down with because our nephews birthday, I wanted to play his lucky number. And Suze said, and I lost, as soon as they spun the… $20 - I wanted to throw up. Suze looked at me and we're walking away, she said, do you want to still play? And I just looking at her, I said, to myself don't go there KT. I said no that was all, that was enough. But I would have stayed for hours playing that game. That's the only part that really, we seriously disagree on. Because I just can't, I can't, I can't deal with it. It pains her. She wants to cry when she sees that money being lost. So you ask, what is the key to our successful relationship? I think you've gotten a little bit of a glimpse of it. We love each other, but more importantly, we really like each other. We respect each other, we take care of each other. You know, um I'm just gonna say this one thing. We live on this island and this island really is more for KT than for myself. This was her dream, and she has her dream. But I freak out about it because it's right in the middle of the Bahamas, and a hurricane can come. So I'm always saying, can we just sell the island? Let's just sell the island, and live in a little condo and not have any expenses because we were always so happy that we thought we'd be able to live in our San Francisco house and be able to live on Social Security. For some reason that made me so happy thinking that we were going to be able to do that, regardless of all the money that we have. And KT proved her love just a little bit ago, because I know she loves this island more than life itself. The last thing I want to do people, is sell paradise. But, Suze was very concerned and had a little bit of anxiety a couple months ago about again, hurricane season, this always happens. But I looked at her, I said Suze, there's nothing more important to me, no thing, except for you. So if you want to sell the island, you know what? We're going to just do it. We're gonna sell it and walk away and say, hey, we had it great while the going was good. I called a few real estate agents, and Suze, Suze didn't know I did this, until I guess, did they call? No I was on your emails and I saw your emails. I go on her email all the time. But but I think she was touched it and I wrote very seriously to them that we should be looking at market value, there may be no time. But the point being, you have to have full transparency, but you also have to have full autonomy. You can never answer to one another, as if, do you have money or do you not have money? You really have to have your own money. So that was just a little glimpse into our life. Anything else you want to say to them, Travis? What do you think about when I call you Travis? You're mad at me when you say Travis! No, I'm saying to you affectionately right now. All right, not bad. I just think that if you could all be as happy as Suze and I are, in our life, and our work, and our values, our morals, our common goals. And I’ve got news for you. We would be this happy if we were absolutely penniless. Yeah, we'd probably have even more fun, right? We'd have more fun because we have so far less decisions to make, right? But so it's, that's a little glimpse into our lives, the lives of Suze and KT. And I hope you enjoyed meeting the love of my life. Mine, too. Bye everybody.


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