February 28, 2021
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On today’s podcast, Suze tells two powerful stories about how having faith, integrity and courage makes anything possible for us all.
February 28th, 2021. You know, it was many years ago today. In fact, it was February 28th, 1964 which was a Friday. It was a Friday night, and that was the night that I was basmitzvahed. And for years I always wondered what was my half tora. What was it that I sang on that night of February 28th, 1964? And as the years went on and time went on, I started to become the Suze Orman that all of you know today. And it was way back when, after I had written the Nine steps to Financial Freedom that I decided I wanted to know, what did I chant the night of February 28th, 1964. So, I picked up the phone and I called my rabbi who was still alive, amazingly enough. And I said, Rabbi, what did I chant that night? What was my half Torah all about? And he looked up the date and everything, and he said Oh, Suze. And he started to give me an entire sermon about what I had chanted. I said, No, no, Rabbi, you don't understand. I just want you to tell me in one line What was the message of that Half Torah? After thinking about it for a few seconds, he said, Simple Suze, with faith, integrity and courage anything is possible. And I started to think about that. And I thought, Oh, true with faith, integrity and courage, anything is possible. Are all of you exhibiting faith, integrity and courage in your financial situation? Are you facing your bills? Do you have the courage to say no? I can't afford this right now. Do you really have integrity where you are standing in your truth no matter what? Because it is that truth. It is that truth that leads to integrity. That then gives you faith that really everything does happen for the best. And I thought about that because I had just really had come off writing the book, The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom, which was an extraordinary success at the time. In fact, it was the number one selling book out of the 50 years of Random House. It was their number one book in terms of sales, and that book just hit a chord like, really, no other book I've ever written has hit. And so, of course, the publisher wanted another book, and when they had signed me to write The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom, it was actually a two-book deal that not only would crown, which was a division of Random House at the time, not only would crown get the first book, but they had the option for the second book as well. And now, given that the Nine Steps to Financial Freedom had spent so much time on The New York Times bestseller list as the number one selling book, they wanted a second book. I was like, oh my God, what should I write about? I mean, how do I do this? Am I going to be just a one book wonder? What's going to happen? And I thought about it, and that's actually what spurred me on some level to call the rabbi to ask, what did I chant? Thinking maybe I would find a clue as to what I was supposed to do and when I heard what I had chanted that night with faith, integrity and courage. Anything is possible. I decided I wanted to call my next book, The Courage to Be Rich. So, I went to my agent at the time, Amanda Urban. Really Binky Urban is her nickname, and I told her and she said, I like that idea. Let's present it to Random House to crown, so we all were around the room. So many people, the publishers, the editors, the head of crown and I presented, this is going to be the title of my next book. And they all looked at me and they said, we don't like that title and I said and why don't you like that title? And they said to me to Suze, it doesn't take any courage to be rich. It takes courage to be poor. So, we are not going to name your next book, the courage to be rich. And with that I had the courage to stand up and walk out of the room, leaving everybody right there, and Binky came running after me and saying, what happened? What happened? And I said, I am not writing another book for a publisher who at the time had no understanding what it took to be rich. Those people are not going to be my publisher. Break the contract, Binky. She just looked at me. Break the contract? I said, yeah, break the contract because I am not writing a book for them. Remember, this is a whole different group of people then that are there now. So don't judge them now if you happen to be published by them or wanting to be published, whatever it may be, just know that this was many years ago. This was really in 1998 to be exact. Okay, So, Binky, somehow rights this most extraordinary letter that she sent to me that she was going to send to them and I was like, oh, God, Amanda Urban you are one extraordinarily powerful woman to have been able to write a letter like this. She wrote the letter and they immediately let us out of the contract. And then I started to go and interview other publishers as to would they like the book, The Courage To Be Rich and on and on, and somehow it ended up with Riverhead Books and mainly it ended up with them at the time because of an editor there by the name of Julie Grau, who, in my opinion, was the most extraordinary and still is editors I had ever met. Just a person who really gets it and got it. And I so wanted to be with her and they got the book. Alright, The Courage to Be Rich. And during that time, people kept asking me Suze, why do you want to call this book The Courage to Be Rich? And I said, It's very simple, everybody. It doesn't take courage to be poor. Anybody can be poor anybody. It's easy to be poor. Don't pay attention to your money. Just consider yourself a victim to your circumstances. Make every excuse you've ever want and make and just stay poor. It takes courage to be rich because it takes courage to open up your bills, when you know you don't have any money in the bank account to pay those bills. It takes courage to tell your spouse what you've done wrong or the lies, maybe you've told him or her or whatever it may be. It takes courage to look at your children and say, I am sorry, but we cannot afford that right now. It takes courage to say no out of love for who you are versus yes, out of fear of what other people are going to think about you. It takes courage to ask for a pay raise and know that you deserve it. It takes courage to say no, I'm not going to give a talk for free. I'm not going to give you a haircut for free just because you're my friend. This is what I do for a living and if you want my services, you are going to have to pay for them. It takes courage to raise your prices because you know you are worth more than what you are charging, but you are afraid that if you do so, your customers will leave you. It takes incredible courage to be rich, and that book came out and when it came out it was very fascinating, and I know I've told this before, but it's worth repeating, especially on this day, because it was this day back in 1964 that all of this started to happen for me, and if we could start to happen for me all those years ago. What could happen to you today? How could your life start to change today for you to really stand with faith, integrity and courage. Courage that you really can be rich, not just rich in money, rich in your feeling and your love of life and your ability to know that you have the strength to tackle anything and everything that comes your way. What would it take for you to do that? And could you do that? And the way that you could do that is with courage. So today, today is the perfect day to repeat this story that I've done somewhere in one of the past Podcast. Today is the perfect day for you to be lifted up, to not be afraid, to be able to face your fears and to be able to stand in your integrity of saying what is true for you. That's why today. So, the book, the Nine Steps to Financial Freedom, was still number one at that time on The New York Times best seller list. And it had been there now for over a year. But when the courage to be rich came out. It knocked the nine steps to financial freedom from number one in hardback down to number two, and the Courage to Be Rich became the number one New York Times bestseller. And that's when, for the first time in my life for quite a while, by the way, I had to hardback books in the number one and number two position on The New York Times list. One here a little funny story, just a side story. My mom lived in Chicago at the time and the Chicago Tribune, or sometimes are one in the newspapers there would always print their local Chicago bestseller list. And I was so excited when my book started to hit Number one on The New York Times list. Because the New York Times list, whether any of you know this or not, is the list that every single author wants to make because it's a list that happens to include everywhere in the United States, not just New York. But it had to sell a certain amount of quantity throughout the entire United States, and that was the goal to hit the list. To be number one was beyond anybody's dream, really, but it was always a wish for them. And I'll never forget calling my mom saying, Mom, Mom, I hit number one on The New York Times best seller list. You know what she said to me? Said, but you're not number one in Chicago Suze and I just went okay, Mom, I'll keep trying. Obviously, eventually it got there. My mom was so pleased. But it's amazing that sometimes our own accomplishments when we're so proud really aren't appreciated by others. And I was so proud when I brought up the podcast, Women and Money. And I was proud because I knew that maybe for the first time that I could have a voice that went all over the world that was not dictated by advertisement, that I could say anything and everything I wanted to say. And it did not matter if I made an advertiser angry or if I said something against a bank or whatever it may be because I always had to be careful on The Suze Orman show. I always had to be careful in other ways because, god forbid, the advertiser should be angry, and then they would want to sponsor the show. And then the entity would want to carry the show. And I was always in a bind that way, even though I tried my best to always let you know what was absolutely true. But on the podcast, I wasn't limited to that because I decided I am not going to have advertisers. I'm not going to be a typical podcaster where you have a podcast for one hour. You have four breaks where I have to read an ad from an advertiser so that I get advertising revenue. Even if I didn't believe in the ad just so I can make money on the podcast, I decided. You know, I had tried that at first because that's how I thought you had to do it. I couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it. Because that isn't integrity. It's not. Why would I have you spend money on something if I don't want you to spend money? The goal of this podcast has never been to advertise something for you so that you could spend money and buy something. The goal of this podcast is and always was that, okay if I have a sponsor or if I tell you about something it's because you are going to save money. You're going to get the best deal of your life. And they are things that you need. There are things that you should want and I decided That's it. I'm doing my own podcast. I'm going to produce it myself. I'm going to own it myself. And I left everybody else who wanted the podcast. And that's what I have today. And now. Why was I even telling you that? Oh, I know. So, it took courage to do that right? But remember, with faith, integrity and courage, anything is possible. So, I had courage to do that. And I love my sponsors. I love this year that Alliant Credit Union is sponsoring this podcast. I love that they're making all of you an offer that you really cannot refuse, remember? And I talked to you about it at the beginning of every podcast. $100 a month for at least 12 consecutive months at the end of the time, they give you $100. Are you kidding me? You know, I was looking today and other offers from other banks because somebody sent in an email asking if an offer from Citibank seriously was worth it. You know me. I don't couch things. I just tell you and that they could transfer $1 million to Citibank for two months and they would get. I think it was, like $2000 or whatever it was. Should they do it? And then I started to look well, what would it take to get just $100 from Citibank? And as I looked, it was like, Oh, you'd have to deposit at least $75,000. Who else is going to give you $100 for really just a $1200 deposit that you do in $100 monthly deposits and pay you a .55% interest rate as well and is insured by NCUA. Which is what credit unions are insured by. So, I really hope that you take advantage of it because essentially one month from now, the offer goes away. Now maybe alliance might extend it. Maybe I can talk them into it, but right now the offer is absolutely scheduled to go away at the end of March, so please take advantage of it. But that's not what I meant to tell you at this point in time. What I wanted to say is that you know, I just wanted a podcast that was really relevant to everybody. Everybody, because money does not have a race, money does not have a religion. Money does not have a sexuality. Money is not there to be segregated. And I was so disappointed the other day when I was reading some of the emails. And by the way, if you want to ask a question, just send your question into Ask Suze Podcast., that's S U Z E. firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can go to the Suze app, the community app women and money apps simply go to Apple Apps or Google play Search for Suze Orman, and you'll see it. And you can also ask your question there, um, and have chosen. We do answer it on Thursdays Podcast that drop with myself and my dear KT. Anyway, I just wanted to a side track here. KT was kidding last Thursday when she said that she's not going to do any more quizzies. That's it. So many of you got so upset and you wrote in and said, why aren't you going to do quizzes? I love those quizzies. Don't worry, everybody. We are going to continue to do quizzie. And KT was just a little upset that day because I had shown her the quiz e I was going to ask her, and then I switched it up at the last moment. Okay, but back to the point again, I am all over. Have you noticed that I'm just all over the place lately? Well, you can imagine. So, because I just sit down and I talk. I don't have notes. I have no idea what I'm going to say. I just let it flow because I've always believed that I'm an empty vessel. And the message that you are meant to here is going to flow through me. So just sit down, stay empty, Suze Orman, and let it rip. But anyway, back to the point that I was trying to make. Is that so? I was so proud. This podcast was for everybody. No exclusions, no matter what. And that is why I named the podcast, Women and Money and the men smart enough to listen because I wanted this to be inclusive, not exclusive. And so, when I read your emails, or when KT reads your emails to pick questions, we do not look at, are you a man or are you a woman writing in? We look at the question, and KT picks them based on relevancy, as to which question which email would help all of you. And then the other day I'm reading the emails that are coming in. And there's one email from a woman and she says in this email, Suze, stop reading so many emails from men. Men have always had more privilege, and they have the information. Start choosing emails just from women, that's essentially what she was saying. I can't remember what I wrote her back. I wrote her back something like, okay, that's interesting, but I cannot tell you how much that email absolutely aggravated me. We cannot be a society. I do not want podcast listeners who only care about what women ask. I want you to care about getting the best information for any question that we choose and the right answer to that question. What makes it relevant isn't who asked it. What makes it relevant is what they are asking. So, we cannot be so closed minded everybody. And maybe it was just one email. But I have to tell you one email bothers me because I think every single one of you counts. No matter who you are, no matter how much money you have, no matter how little money you have, I care about every single one of you. And I want every single one of you to care about every single person that you meet. I want you to be generous in spirit to every single person that you meet. I want you to be open minded to any single question that we happen to ask and answer on the Women and Money podcast. We have got to be a society and people that are open to differences that accept differences and recognize what we know and what we do not know, and to never stand in judgment of another person. That's what I want here for all of you. And I want that for me as well. I want to end this podcast today with a little bit different story, and it was a story that really touched me so much I can't even tell you. And it happened last night, when KT and I both watched on Hulu, a movie called The United States versus Billie Holiday. And if you happen to have Hulu, this is a movie that every single one of you should absolutely watch. You might even want to think about signing up for a free week of Hulu just to watch this movie and then cancel it if you cannot afford it because this movie is that important. What do you think of when you think of Billie Holiday? Now, maybe some of you are too young and you don't have a clue who Billie Holiday happened to be. And in case you don't know, Billie Holiday was one of the most incredible jazz singers who died in 1959 at the age of 44 years. But most people only knew that Billie Holiday was a junkie. She was a drug addict, a great singer, but couldn't get off of drugs. And that's what all of us thought. Well, I got news for you. This woman was so much more than a drug addict. She really was on many levels, the start the true start of the civil rights movement. So, I just want to take a minute to give you a brief description of what happened in this movie in the hopes really, that all of you will take time to see it. So, we have a better understanding of what happens to people and why. Sometimes they do things that we stand in judgment of because we don't understand why they're doing it. So again, the name of the movie is the United States versus Billie Holiday and really a little bit about Billie. She was raised in a brothel at the age of 10. She was raped by a 40 some odd year-old man. She then was punished for having been raped by a man and was sent away because of it. And she literally saw somebody who had been lynched and all of these things. So, you start to get an understanding of this woman. And really, what happened to Billie is that there was a man by the name of Abel Meeropol who wrote the lyrics to what became a song that Billie Holiday recorded in either 1937 or 1939 somewhere around there called Strange Fruit. And this song was all about the lynchings of blacks in America. And this was a really incredible song that talked about the struggle way back then of how blacks were absolutely treated and they didn't like that she was singing that song. They didn't like it. They thought it would create riots. And they started the police, the FBI. They started to come after her to stop singing that song, and Billie refused to stop singing that song. She refused because she knew that was a song that was in her soul and she had to sing it, and they had no other way to get her to stop, other than planting drugs on her, putting her in jail for her drug usage and all of that. And Billie died because she refused to stop singing that song. And the fact is, the FBI and the narcotics agencies refused to stop going after her, and she actually died in 1959. I was eight years old. 1959 in a hospital bed, handcuffed to the bed because they did not want her to be able to get out of the hospital and continue to sing this song. Many today say that this was really, really the beginning of the civil rights movement, and this song, by the way, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1978. The movie itself was directed by Lee Daniels, who just directs the best movies, and Billie Holiday was played by Andra Day. And it is the most incredible performance I have ever seen, especially from somebody who has never acted before. Now, why am I talking about this on a Women and Money podcast? Because sometimes we stand in judgment of others and we don't know the true story. We do not know what's behind somebody that we think is nothing more than a drug addict. And the truth of the matter is, was one of the most courageous Integris and faithful women that maybe this world has ever seen. I feel so bad that when I used to think of Billie Holiday, I thought great singer died a drug addict. That's all I would ever know. I now know so much more. Not just about Billie Holiday but about myself. How dare I stand in judgment of anybody when I do not know the entire story? Faith, integrity and courage. All traits displayed by Billie Holiday. The message of what I chanted 57 years ago today, and the message that I want to leave you with in the hopes that all of us can really treat each other with the utmost of respect in a nonjudgmental way and be opened to being as great as we are all meant to be.
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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.
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.