Updated: 9/17/2010 9:00 AM ET|
I don't hate Suze; I just disagree
But if you've already made $30 million, why volunteer for that kind of risk? You don't need big returns unless you're trying to build some kind of dynasty for future heirs, which she's not.
At those lofty levels of wealth, Suze's primary concerns are likely to be preservation of her capital and reducing her tax bill. Given that, the municipal bonds in which she's invested are a perfectly appropriate choice.
Great advice -- for the right people
One criticism that does have merit is that Suze isn't big on nuance. Of course, neither is her audience. They want to be told what to do, not listen to a long treatise about the potential advantages and drawbacks of various financial moves.
The problem with one-size-fits-all answers, though, is that they often don't.
Let's return to Suze's advice about paying only the minimums. Yes, credit card companies are aggressively slashing limits, meaning that the credit you counted on tiding you through an emergency might not be there.
But not everyone is equally vulnerable. Someone with a steady job, high FICO scores and a ton of home equity needn't worry as much about a credit card company cutting his limit as someone facing a layoff with maxed-out cards and lousy credit scores.
The fact that neither has an emergency fund is less important than their overall financial flexibility -- the other resources they can tap into a crisis. The guy about to lose his job has fewer such resources and should make cash savings a priority. The other guy can rely on his home equity or just go get another credit card.
That's the peril of offering personal finance advice to the masses, as Suze does and as I do. When it comes to personal finance, there is typically no single right answer. We can help you get started, but we're no substitute for an experienced, objective financial planner who can look at your particular situation and offer individualized advice.
Liz Weston is the Web's most-read personal-finance writer. She is the author of several books, most recently "The 10 Commandments of Money: Survive and Thrive in the New Economy" (find it on Bing). Weston's award-winning columns appear every Monday and Thursday, exclusively on MSN Money. Join the conversation and send in your financial questions on Liz Weston's Facebook fan page.
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