Suze Orman's economic optimism

The personal-finance guru talks about the future of the economy, real estate no-nos and bond investing.

By Kim Peterson Dec 23, 2009 3:59PM
Suze Orman (© Evan Agostini/AP)Suze Orman is very good at what she does. Need evidence? Look no further than the multimillion-dollar empire she built by giving personal-finance advice to ordinary folks.

She knows her stuff. But when it comes to talking about the national economy, she's more smiles than specifics. CNBC host Larry Kudlow asked Orman about the subject recently (video below) and billed the interview as "the world according to Suze Orman."

Orman's view of the economy is quite simple: We'll be OK next year and the year after that. We could get into trouble again in 2012 and 2013. But in 2015 we will become the America we have always hoped for. Here's the video:

That's it. No explanation, no reasoning and no followup question from Kudlow. OK, well, how about investing in real estate? That gets a little closer to Orman's expertise.

I actually enjoyed this part of the interview, because it consisted mainly of two things: Kudlow trying his best to accuse and then berate Americans of "easily and glibly" allowing their homes to fall into foreclosure, and Orman insisting that people went into real-estate deals responsibly but went "underwater" through no fault of their own. Here's the video:
They're both a little off. People just don't throw away their homes at the first sign of trouble, as Kudlow suggests. For most, it's a painful and agonizing decision, and it's not easy. But Orman has a slightly romanticized view that everyone entered into mortgages responsibly. Throwing in 5% down for a monthly payment that's way out of your league is not responsible.

Finally, Kudlow starts to ask Orman about stuff where she can shine: investing in bonds. She says she has no problem with investing in individual bonds. You know the maturity date, they're stable and she recommends high-quality bonds like general obligation bonds.

But don't choose a bond fund with no maturity date, expense ratios and other fees, she says. You could get hurt. If you want to invest in bonds go with individual ones and use a laddering approach on the maturity dates (one year, two years, three years, etc.) Here's the video:
As far as this interview goes, I'd say it was more entertainment than enlightening. But if it's true entertainment you want, you won't find much better than Darth Vader ringing the NYSE opening bell:




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