Podcast Episode - Suze School: What Is The Biggest Mistake One Can Make With Their Money?


Personal Growth, Podcast


November 19, 2023

In this Suze School episode, Suze teaches a very important lesson on how to avoid making the biggest mistake you can make in your financial life.  Think about the things you take for granted, think about why you do some of the things you do with your money.  If you pay careful attention to what Suze says, you may be able to avoid ruin.

Listen to Podcast Episode:


Podcast Transcript:

November 19th, 2023. Welcome everybody to the women and Money podcast as well as everybody smart enough to listen, Suze O, here and yes. Yes, I know today is Suze School, So take out your Suze notebooks.

Today is a special day because it is Julie Grau's birthday. Now, many of you may not know who Julie Grau is, but Julie has been my editor and was my publisher for many, many, many years for the majority of books I have ever written. And she is one of the more brilliant women really that I've ever met. So Julie Happy Happy Birthday.

Also, today would have been Larry King's birthday and that always makes me quite sentimental because as you may know, I did over 31 hour shows with Larry and I actually had the honor of being with him on his very, very last show that he ever did where he had every major newscaster person. Everyone, you name it they were there and he wanted me to be there as well and it was always just me, you want me with all of Diane Sawyer and on and on and on. And he did. So, Larry knew more about me at that time than I knew about myself because he saw a lot about me that he wanted the world to see as well.

I know today I told all of you last week that we would be doing a Suze School and I would be updating you on all the increased contribution levels for a traditional and Roth Ira and on and on. And then I decided, you know what? That can wait, it can wait until the first week of 2024. Really? Because they don't come into effect till then. So I just wasn't in the mood to do that.

So here's what today's podcast is going to be about. And I just sat down at this microphone and it's just something that I want to talk about the other day. I was speaking to somebody on the phone that I said I would help and I was telling her all about her money and things. Now, this woman makes a considerable sum of money. She makes $125,000 a year right now.

But there was a time that she didn't make $125,000 a year. There was a time when she was living in her storefront, she had no money at all. Even though she was raising two kids, none and little by little, she crawled her way up and into this world and is now making $125,000 a year. And so we were talking about her and her money and I was telling her all these things that she could do and over and over again, she kept saying to me, I didn't know I could do that.

Nobody ever told me I could do that.

My workplace never told me that I could do that. Really, Suze? Oh my God, I never knew that.

And I found myself saying to her that the biggest mistakes you will ever make in life are the mistakes you don't even know that you are making.

And then I started to think as time went on how much we take for granted when it comes to our money we take for granted that the advice that we're getting from everybody around us, maybe, you know, the people, maybe you don't, maybe you work with them, whoever they may happen to be that you take it for granted. Many of us take it for granted that that is the advice that is correct for us.

And that started to upset me. We really, and I talked about this last week. Are you repelled or attracted to money? We really take so many things about our money for granted.

So I'd like you to take out your little Suze notebooks right now. You know, we're just a few days away from Thanksgiving, then we're essentially a month away or so from Hanukkah and Christmas and other holidays.

And so this is the time of the year where we kind of get emotional when it comes to our money.

We start to feel generous with money that we don't have. We feel like this is the time that we want to show people how much we love them and we show them how much we love them by what we can buy for them, the gifts we can bestow upon them.

And we start to do it now because as you can tell every time you go on the internet, it's like, oh, you don't have to wait for Black Friday. You can get a deal. Now. Buy this, buy this, buy this, buy this, you watch certain morning shows and they have these segments on that. Oh, buy this, buy this. It's a savings of 78%. It's a savings of 90% of all these things that you didn't even want.

You never thought about before.

But in fact, to save money, you decide to buy them just because you're saving money, you're spending money on something that you never even thought about buying before and you just take it for granted that that is something that you should be doing. And why is that because you're all doing it,

I see it all the time. And so therefore, I want you to take the time to day to really go within because you know my saying, you have to go within to see why you are doing without.

And one of the reasons that you end up doing without, without enough money to pay a mortgage without enough money to pay rent or afford the place that you are renting without the money to be able to fix your car, without the money for you to be able to even buy food. So you end up during a pandemic, standing in a food line, you have to go within to really find out why you are doing without.

So I just want you to take the time during this podcast to open up your Suze notebook. And if you don't have a little Suze notebook, then find any paper will do, get out a piece of paper, get out a pen and I want you to write down in what way do you take money for granted?

In what way do you take your financial life or your financial situation or your money for granted?

I want you to think about that for a second.

I thought it would be interesting to test out ChatGPT, the Artificial Intelligence app. And I said to it, write a podcast for me about the ways we take money for granted and you know what it did, it came back and it wrote this entire podcast about how we take financial education for granted that because we don't take the time to learn and educate ourselves about money, that means we're taking it for granted and then they broke it down the debt we have and on and on and on. Now, obviously, I'm not reading or doing that podcast, but how fascinating you might want to try it.

Right. How fascinating that it came up with.

We take it for granted that we don't need to know and be educated about our money.

Don't you love that? I did anyway, back to this podcast. The one that I am writing for my own little brain and heart. Sometimes I wonder, do I write for my heart or do I write for my brain?

And I have to tell you, I think I write from my heart and I actually think that when you live life correctly in the right way, your intelligence, actually, your brain resides within your heart.

And just again, something to think about a flash here. I'm going to go all over the place today because I can, I had my best friend ever. Her name was Judy Hoodwin and Judy died many, many years ago and I'll never forget I had just visited her. She was married to Rick and I had just started to be Suze Orman. It was back in the late 1997, 98 right around there. And I was on tour and they lived in Orlando and I stopped there to visit her and I loved hoodie. I loved that was her nickname Hoodie so much. I can't tell you, we went through high school together. We lived always next door to each other in college. We stayed best, best friends. Anyway. I opened up my emails back then and there was an email from Rick and Rick said, oh my God, Suze

Hoodie stopped breathing last night, right? She was snoring. She was snoring so loud and I tried to wake her and I couldn't wake her. So I called the ambulance and now she is on life support. She is brain dead, but her heart is still working. Suze. I don't know what to do. I don't know. Should we pull the plugs? What should we do, Suze? You've gotta help.

Well, the decision was made to take Hoodie off life support and Hoodie died very shortly after that. But that's when I realized, oh my God, you can be brain dead where your brain isn't working anymore at all. But as long as your heart is still pumping, you could stay alive for a long, long time on support.

So right then and there, I decided the heart had to be the most important part of the body.

And if you always came from your heart, so the decisions that you made intellectually speaking, always came from your heart that you would never ever go wrong. Now, how is that for a sidetrack for you? That was a big one. Let's go back to the intention of this podcast. How do you take your money for granted? And I want you to think about that from your heart right now and I want you to write down all the ways that that may be true.

Now, you might want to stop the podcast here for a second and write down anything and everything that comes to your mind.

And then once you're done, start it up again and come back to me, what I have found when I've done this exercise before with people, these are the ways that they would take money for granted.

The number one way is they will always be able to work and make money. They just take that for granted.

Are you sure that you will always be able to work and make money from the car accidents to the tornadoes and the fires and the hurricanes and the floods and the illnesses and things that can happen? Are you positive that you will always be able to work and make more money? And therefore you can just do anything and everything you want right here. And right now, if you found anywhere, didn't have to be number one that you wrote that down, that will be the biggest mistake you will have ever made because things happen, everybody and it's more apt to have something happen than for it to not happen.

So, don't wait if you find yourself saying it's ok. I can go do this now. I'll always be able to work for money, wrong, wrong, wrong number two, that there's plenty of time to start saving for my retirement. How many of you think that you take it for granted that you can wait another 10 years? You're young. You have time. What difference can it make?

Time is the most important ingredient in any financial freedom recipe in any financially independent recipe.

And therefore it is essential that you start today today, not five days from now, not three years from now, but absolutely. Today, my favorite example of that is you're 25 years of age, you're putting $100 a month into a broth retirement account. That's one that you've already paid taxes on. So you're funding it with after tax money, which means when you go to take it out, it's absolutely tax free. So you put $100 a month away in every month for 12 consecutive months and you do that every single month from the age of 25 to 65.

And that money averages for you a 12% annual average rate of return. That's not a 12% interest rate. Everybody that's one year. Maybe you make 30% on your money one year. Maybe you lose 40% the next year may be up 20 down 10. But over all 40 years, you've averaged 12% average annual rate of return. You would have $1 million at the age of 65.

But yeah, you are taking for granted time and you think you have plenty of time to start saving for your retirement. What difference can $100 a month make? Which is $1200 a year. You're 25 years of age, you wait 10 years till you're 35. So at $1200 a year for 10 years, that's only $12,000. What difference can $12,000 make?

All right, you start at 35 do the exact same thing. Do you know at 6530 years later, you'd have only $300,000.

You took $700,000 for granted everybody. And that is just at $100 a month because that is the value of time and the compounding of money.

Although the third one that all of you would tell me about when I did this is that you were bringing in enough money so that you could afford to get a new car and finance it over the next seven years. You took it for granted

that you would be able to afford the payments for the next seven years, simply because you can afford the payments right now.

Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?

You know, more cars today? Are being repossessed than ever before. In fact, they're not repossessing all of the cars that should be repossessed because they don't have enough room on the used car lots to keep those cars. And every one of those cars that have been repossessed is from somebody who took it for granted that they would be able to afford the monthly payment on that car simply because they were able to afford it when they purchased it. Are you kidding me?

The fourth most popular one usually is I can afford to take a vacation. I can afford to take my family away. They deserve it. And I'll just put it on my credit card and I will pay the minimum payment due when the bill comes in.

These people take it for granted that the minimum payment due will always be just a little amount of money and that they'll always be able to afford it.

But then they take it for granted that not only for that vacation but to go out to eat and all of those things. And before you know it, their credit cards are maxed out before, you know, it, interest rates on credit cards go back up to 21 22% because of what's been happening lately. And now they can't afford the minimum payment and now they ruin their credit score. Now, all their other interest rates go up and now simply because they took it for granted that they'd always be able to afford the minimum payment due.

They're essentially ruining their financial life.

Another way that people take money and what money can buy and provide for them for granted is that they will always have a roof over their heads. They just take that for granted.

And I'm here to tell you if you look at the number of people that are living in their cars that are being repossessed by the way, but that are living in their cars that are living in the streets

that are being evicted, whatever it may be.

There are so many people that don't have a roof over their head. And Katie will tell you, I am fascinated, fascinated when I see a homeless person or somebody sitting on the streets and I usually will take the time and sit down and talk with them.

I want to know their story. I want to know what happened to them.

And the one that always gets to my heart the most was somebody that I did this with in the city of Chicago. His name was The Count, and he would sit in this little hallway that I would pass by. And so I would sit down and I would talk to him and I would ask him what happened.

And he said, oh, Suze, I used to be a professor at the University of Chicago and then I was married and had a family and I was in a car accident and I lost my family and then I just didn't have the will to live anymore. And here I am for ever now, living in Jackson Park.

I said, did you ever think that you were going to be living and you'd want to have a roof over your head?

And he said, no, I'll never forget these words. I took it for granted that I'd always have a roof over my head. I always took my family for granted. I always took a lot for granted.

And now I don't even take the little tree that I sleep under every night for granted because who knows something could happen to that.

The next one and I learned a lot about this during the pandemic was that we always seem to take it for granted that we will have enough money or food stamps, which is what they don't call it anymore. But essentially food stamps to always be able to have enough food to feed ourselves and our children.

And during the pandemic, as I watched food lines go all the way back forever. I looked at the cars that were in those food lines and there were BMWs, there were Mercedes, there were all kinds of luxury cars and I am sure that a lot of those people in a million years, they would have said,

yeah, I take it for granted that I'm always gonna be able to buy food. Absolutely. I take it for granted that I'm always going to be able to provide for my family and feed them.

Do you see how things can happen in life?

And when we take it for granted, these little things around us, we take it for granted that we're going to have the money to pay our utility bills.

When it's possible, our utility bills, like remember in Texas, because of what happened that time utility bills ran up to a few $1000 a month and people couldn't pay them anymore.

All these things can happen.

But we also take it for granted that we are making the right decisions when it comes to our money.

And I can tell you most of you are not making the right decisions when it comes to your money, but you think you are. And so you have to understand again that the biggest mistakes when it comes to your money are the mistakes you don't even know that you are making. So I just want you to think about today's podcast in a future podcast.

I'm going to give you a quizzy because I don't want to go too long right now. And I see I've already gone almost the full length of our 30 minutes because I had 10 questions for you that are you making the right decision or the wrong decision with your money? So in one of the future Suze Schools, it will be, are you making the right decision or the wrong decision. And you're going to have to decide in the questions that I give you, what would you do in that situation? And we will test your knowledge. But for now, I just don't want you to take life for granted.

I don't want you to take your health for granted. I don't want you to take your loved ones for granted. I don't want you to take your ability to be able to work for granted. I don't want you to take your employer or your employees for granted. I don't want you to take for granted that you can walk down the street. You can look at things and see things, you can hear things, you can feel things. I want you to not take one moment, one moment as we approach this Thanksgiving holiday for granted.

Because if you don't take anything for granted,

I promise you you will be unstoppable. All right, everybody happy Thanksgiving, and will be here Thursday just for you.

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