.
February 10th, 2009
11:58 PM ET

Suze's back, and taking your questions!

Program Note: Suze Orman's on AC360° to discuss how to keep your money safe.

Suze will be back on AC360° on Wednesday night to answer your economic questions? Do you have questions about the continued economic trouble and how President Obama's economic plan will change the market; affect your stocks, mutual funds, 401(k)… your job?

Suze's book, " Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan," is currently number one on the New York Times bestseller list and she answers these questions, and many more!

Submit your financial questions here for Suze Orman and watch AC360° to get them answered.

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Filed under: Economy • Suze Orman
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Renee Powell

    Suze,

    We are first time grandparents and we would like to start some kind of account for her and any future grandchildren. EE saving bonds, saving accout, stock market? We would be starting with $500.00 and anticipate adding more on each birthday.

    Thank you for any suggestions.

    Renee
    Post Falls, ID

    February 11, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  2. Vicki

    Here's the deal: husband laid off 6 mos ago-over 55-we both have lost 1/2 of 401K-no new job in sight. We own our house but it is way underwater now. We also have an RV that is way underwater too. So selling either is not a good option. Income now is mine and unemployment. We have about 6 mos. worth of savings. I think we might be able to keep the house, maybe. What is more important? Saving credit score by using all of 401K from husband to make up the difference in selling RV, about $30K? Or turning it back in and taking the hit on the credit report for 10 years? This would only leave my 401K which is about $60K.

    February 11, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  3. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Suze,

    The crisis over! Yes!

    And I survived. So, what do I do?
    ¶ I wait to make sure?
    ¶ I invest again?
    ¶ How I can, really believe in the end of crisis?

    Thank you so much ... you're GREAT!

    February 11, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  4. Brittany, Florida

    We are a family with 2 young children. I have a masters degree but can't find a high paying job. My husband was in management positions for over 15 years and got laid off 5 months ago. We have been desperately looking and can't find a job for him either. We bought our house for only 200, 000 when it was valued at 460,000 dollars – now the value is at 200,000 but we can't even pay the mortgage/interest/insurance and taxes (1800 dollars a month). If we go into foreclosure how do we stay off the streets – with hardly any income we can't even pay rent? Where can we go for help (I make 900 a month and my husband gets 1100 unemployment)?

    February 11, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  5. Paula Vergara, Boston, MA

    Suze,

    I've had two mutual funds for the past four years, and over this past year, their value has been cut in half. Would you recommend that I keep the money in the mutual funds, or move them over to a CD?

    February 11, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  6. Dave

    Hi Suze,

    I'm a small business owner in the professional services industry (I'm the sole employee, in business for 10 years), and while I'm fortunate enough to still have a lot of work requests coming through, I'm finding that clients are increasingly paying late or insisting on payment terms that cause cash flow problems for me. American Express recently cancelled their business credit line program which I used to bridge these cash flow issues. I'm now looking at the grim prospect of selling some of my retirement funds at a loss and penalty in order to put more money into the company to cover my short term payroll and operating expenses. I wouldn't consider this if contracts weren't coming through, but despite my cash flow issues, business is good. These continuing cash flow issues have made it difficult to hold onto any reserve funds I build up, though.

    I've lost hope that business credit lines will be back any time soon, and my needs are immediate. Can you think of any other options or programs I should look into?

    Also, what are your thoughts on a temporary moratorium on payroll withholdings for 2 years as Steve Forbes suggests? In my case, it would have an immediate and powerful effect. People would have more money in their paychecks for expenses and increased consumer spending. All of this sounds good, but I haven't heard any serious discussion about it. Why not?

    February 11, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  7. julie

    Suze,
    After reading Indymac's remodification process I see something about how it best affects the investor it looks like if you use their formulas you can not have much equity? I am not totally understanding the formulas? LTV? NPV IS THIS NET PRESENT VALUE? NPV OF FORCLOSURE? I was told about 8 years ago I could not do a bankruptcy because there was to much equity in the house? Is this a viable option? Do you think these remodification companies can get better results than the average person? They claim so, and the BBB rate as a B because they have not been around long. Any thoughts if they or a laywer could do better? Thanks

    February 11, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  8. Jen

    My question:
    Suze, what is the real deal with Obama's stimulus plan in regards to how much it will likely affect increasing our federal income taxes over the next ten years? And, which country are we borrowing the money from?

    February 11, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  9. Sam Ramsey

    Suze:

    All this talk, the Congressional Hearings of Bank Leaders, the Stimulus Package being worked out by members of the House and Senate is welcomed, not a issue at all from me...it's necessary or we're in a world of hurt...

    Here's an issue that has been rarely spoken about during and post election, and that is Veteran's dealing with the broken beaurocracy called the VA!!

    I am a medically retired US Marine, after having spent 14 years of my life devoted to my Corps and Country..DOD gave me 60% disability, I am now 100% disabled by Social Security, and the VA is still saying that I am only 20% disabled.

    I have hired a civilian lawyer fighting for my rights as a Veteran, and have enlisted the help and aide of both a Congressman and Senator...all to no avail...this after being diagnosed and treated for PTSD rated as "severe" by the VA....

    I realize that there are equally as important issues out here in our country, but when Veteran's who have done the unthinkable in the name of liberty and freedom selflessly for years to be treated like this is a true travesty and totally unacceptable. We are not just "numbers" that the VA views as numbers they must pay...we are real people, with real issues caused by our military service....we aren't asking for a handout, we are asking for what is right.

    S. J. Ramsey
    SSgt USMC (Ret)

    February 11, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  10. DEANNA... Illinois

    Why dont they omit the income tax? That would give everyone more money in their pocket right now. That could be ONE thing right now.. that everyone would agree on... People would feel better.

    February 11, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  11. Lynne Dawson

    Why isn't the stimulus plan addressing the credit card crisis? Do they not realize the way the banks they are "saving" have extended credit to customers? The banks are able to change or increase the percentage rates whenever they want and charge huge penalties for late payments that you cannot get caught up on, ever. This leads to bad credit, the inability to pay one's bills much less a mortgage, and the social shame of being "unworthy" of credit when the opposite is true.
    I would like the real problem addressed without the insult of bank ceo's getting a bonus because of my interest payments.

    February 11, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  12. Lilibeth

    Hello, I'd like to re-word my question:
    – – – – –

    You mentioned on this program before that the housing crisis is the most urgent and important element in our country’s financial troubles. How will TARP II address the housing crisis and when will we start seeing results?

    Lilibeth
    Edmonds, Washington

    February 11, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  13. Kate Miller

    Hi Suze (and Anderson),

    I am 34 years old and my husband is 32. We really want to get our retirement investment going but I am a little hesitant because of the current state of the economy. I know that I want to open Roth IRAs for us but I don't really know where to open them and what investments to choose to insure that we don't lose any money. I don't want an aggressive broker that is going to take a percentage of what we invest. I would prefer to do it myself online, if that is safe to do. We are lucky enough to have enough money aside that we can both contribute the maximum for 2008, I just want to make sure that I make the smartest and best decision to protect our hard earned money and set us up for the future.

    Thank you girlfriend!

    February 11, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  14. Mary Owensby

    Hi Suze, I have 2 questions. One, why not let the banks fail? CEO's of these banks just don't seem to get it and they need to be brought down. If we bailout the banks, the same people will still be in charge. Nothing will change! Restrictions won't work – they won't abide by them. They think they are above any restrictions. They don't know how to run anything – that has been proven. Second question, I read a comment about giving all of us a debit card with a certain amount of money on it to be used for essentials – like food, clothing and gasoline – no cash! Why is that not a good idea? Makes sense – gets money back into the economy.
    Thanks, Mary

    February 11, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  15. Paula

    Suze,

    My fiance will not get married until my FICO score is 750+. Does my credit score affect him or his business directly if we get married and do not have joint purchases?

    Paula

    February 11, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  16. Lilibeth

    You mentioned on this program before that the housing crisis is the most urgent and important element in our country’s financial troubles. How will TARP address the housing crisis and when will we start seeing results?

    Lilibeth
    Edmonds, Washington

    February 11, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  17. John

    Suze,
    Shouldn't the answer be for the gov't to do almost nothing? Wouldn't it be better for the country to stop living on credit?

    Ultimately, the politicians caused this whole mess by removing some banking regulations and then forcing banks to make loans to non-credit worthy people. Now they are covering their butts with all of this stimulus stuff.

    Of course, people overspending didn't help either.

    Everyone that did wrong should just have to suffer the consequences.

    February 11, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  18. Marvin

    Suze, do you believe gold is a good investment during these times? If so, what is the best way to purchase it?

    Thank you.

    February 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  19. Rhonda

    My job is fairly secure and I just got a $23,000 bonus. Should I use the bonus to pay down my car loan ($23k) and student loan ($24k)? Or should I save it just in case I get laid off? My only other debt is my mortgage ($303k) and I'm current on all payments. Thanks Suze!

    February 11, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  20. Mark The Carpenter, Montana

    I have been making 11 % interest only payments to a private local lender on my house for 4 years and I have 4 years left until it balloons. I owe 126 k and the house is worth 300k.
    I really need to re-finance and get a lower payment because I'm struggling every month, but my credit score is under 600.
    I've never been more than 30 days late, but my lender warned me that if I ever go 32 days past due they will foreclose in accordance with Montana law.
    Everything I have worked for is in this house and I'm worried I might lose it all.
    I'm helping Bail out these Banks with my tax dollars, but are they going to be of any help to me ?

    February 11, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  21. windsorco777

    Hello Suze,

    Can government / should they apply basic financial rules? Here are a few questions interested in you thoughts. I think the House and Senate must answer.

    “Do you personally spend money you don’t have?” Why do you think it is ok to spend money the country doesn’t have? What is the plan to pay it back? When will it be paid back?

    Would you expect this to be part of the foundation of any plan?

    I believe every Senator and House Representative owes it to the American people to ensure due diligence is done and completed before putting this additional debt on American.

    thank you for your thoughts,
    K – from Windsor

    February 11, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  22. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Suze,

    Who has not left the stock exchange, to leave out? Or is it worth it to buy more shares?

    Personal question:
    And the dollar? Assuming that I will travel in a short time, I must buy dollars now?

    February 11, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  23. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Suze,

    Many say that the crisis will pass by the end of 2010. Only remains for us to survive until there (as if it was easy).

    You believe that?
    We are at the beginning of 2009 – what to do to survive two years in crisis? (Heeeeeelp!)

    Thanks

    February 11, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  24. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Suze,

    If I am an enterprising ... those who built all the hard costs your assets, creating what did not exist? Those who can not stay in the same line?

    What do I do? Control my impulses enterprising?
    Follow forward?

    Thanks

    PS. Suze, sorry so many questions, but I was born and grew up living it. It's great take my doubts with you!

    February 11, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  25. Rekha AC

    Hello Suzee,

    If somebody wants to steal my identity,- make me a victim of identity theft-, what are the preventive steps I need to take, in order that I don't fall victim to these nuts.

    February 11, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  26. michelle

    Hi Suze,

    I am 36, and wondering what to do with my morgate I have only had my home 2 half yrs my payment is $4042 a month with a intrest rate at 7.65 I want get a lower rate I have never missed a payment always on time with a FICO score of 730 but I have no equity in my home what is the best way for me to get a lower rate?? I am self employed making about $2400 a month or more and $1000 month at my second job and my tenent pays $1650 month for rent ,but it is hard for me to pay my other bills because my tenent doesn't always pay on time. I really need some advise on how to get a lower intrest rate I have no money to put down on re-finance PLEASE HELP WITH ANY INFO

    February 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  27. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Suze,

    What a person should do in times of crisis, to be a difference?

    What I mean? If someone is losing, someone is winning (this is consistent?)

    What the person must do to be the winner and gain the crisis?

    Thanks

    February 11, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  28. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Suze,

    Me again:

    Let's suppose ... some money left, at the end of the month, what should I do?

    • Pay any debt?
    • Save? Where? (under the mattress? Banks?)
    • Investing?

    Thanks

    February 11, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  29. Saeed

    Hello Suzi!!! i am 57 years old, i have # 50.000 dollars, i don't have 401(k) where do you think i van invest it? is it good to search good stock now and buy one? please help.

    February 11, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  30. Gilby-HI

    Please give us your comment on the 500 billion dollar withdrawl of capital by 5 hedge funds in September 2008. This caused the panic that we are living with now and made the bank rescue necessary. One hedge fund was run by a Senator spose and handled government workers pensions.

    February 11, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  31. Jacques

    Hello Suze
    I am grateful for the information that you impart to your viewers, who would have otherwise been stumbling in the dark on many issues.
    My question is about a mortgage situation. I have a mortgage which had been current up to December 08. I did not receive a letter sent to me by the mortgage company advising me to purchase hazard insurance on my home. Subsequently, the company purchased the insurance and tacked on an additonal $300.+ to my mortgage payments.
    Unknowingly, I sent the regular payment (Electronic) to the company on December 5. This payment was rejected because it was short . I only knew of this until I started getting phone calls from the company and I immediately corrected the error in January. The mortgage company sent me a refund check which I received during the last week of January. Now I have a 30 day late payment mark on my credit report. Is this right? I had never been late on my payments, nor have I ever missed a payment. They did not budge when I asked for them to remove the notation on my credit report.
    Thank you for any light you can shed on this matter.
    I was away from

    February 11, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  32. Debbi (South Carolina)

    I am currently in a debt management program, but I am still struggling to meet that monthly payment. My husband has cancer and needs treatment and the treatment center is requiring his deductible up front of $5K before they will even start treatment. I have completed my tax return for 2008 and I owe the federal and state(s) $5K. At what point should I consider bankruptcy?

    February 11, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  33. julie

    Suze,
    I was wondering if you could explain loan remodifications a little more. I currently have a lot of equity in house and also a lot of debt.
    I have been on a forebarence agreement for 5 months and finally I have the name and # of the person dealing with my case but he said something yesterday that I was totally unaware of. He suggested I not make my forebarence payment this month and hold the money in order to pay for a new tittle insurance? I currently have quite a few liens and not sure how this would work? He said he would try and get around this and I do not know what that means? When a loan is remodified does it require new tittle insurance? My loan servicer is Indymac and my investor is Countrywide. Would they still be first over liens? I got into this situation about 8 years ago so they are just starting to come off credit report and I thought I would just wait for liens for a couple of years. Thanks

    February 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  34. Thomas Bonner

    Hi Suzie,

    I'm 2 years away from retirement with $1.475 million in 403b + IRA, earning an average of 5% in TIAA, a $100K 30 yr. fixed mortgage @6%; no other debt. Maxed out on SRAs, IRAs, etc. Just inherited $175K. What would you recommend I do with it?

    February 11, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  35. Mela

    I make about 60,000.00 a year will obama package help me with my tax i am a single woman about 55th year old. Wish I could retire at my age should i get more life insurance for my family. I have not been saving any money just live from paycheck to paycheck how can i learn how to save money at my age. So I could have good retire nest. I am a bad girl.

    February 11, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  36. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Suze,

    Who invests in the financial market, but this money is, more or less, your reserve fund, which do?

    These people need only take care?
    Or you advise to stop investment?

    Thanks

    February 11, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  37. Erin

    Hey Suze,

    Friends of mine are planning to buy a new home and then bail on their current home. What is going on with this whole buy and bail trend I've started hearing more about. What are the implications? It seems morally wrong in my opinion, but is it financially smart for the homeowner?

    Thanks.

    February 11, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  38. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Suze,

    We hear in the press: 'it is time to act and not to be' entertaining' with the seriousness of the situation.'

    Act like?
    For those who are unemployed?
    For those who lost their investments?
    For those who lost their home?
    For those who still have all that, but don't trust the future?

    Thanks

    February 11, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  39. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Suze,

    Many times we see the Government inducing (even incognito) the people to spend more, in time of crisis.

    Why ??????? It should not be the exact opposite?

    Would be because it's interesting that the capital moves, so that banks, finandeiras, real estate, industries, not succumb?

    But the citizen, as it is?

    February 11, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  40. Christa

    I am am 56 years and have lost 1/3 of my retirement savings. Am I still young enough to kick back and wait for the economy to rebound or should I be doing something specific to salvage what I have left ?

    Thanks
    Christa

    February 11, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  41. Michelle

    Dear Suze,

    My husband and I have a lot of cc debt (about $37,000) and we are working very hard to pay it off, but now all my interest is going up due to the "economic enviroment". My interest is already considered high and now it is going up even more. What should we do? Do we just have to accept the increase or should we cancel the cards and start over again when our debt is paid off?

    Thank you for your help!

    Michelle

    February 11, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  42. Valerie Page

    Hello Suzie,

    When do you expect a slow and steady appreciation in the stock market? My husband's employer was expected to have their IPO early this year but put it on hold until the market recovers. I was told the stock market will recover long before the housing market. Is that true?

    Thank you,
    Valerie

    February 11, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  43. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Hello, Suze!

    I'm a Brazilian who have snooping around here in AC.
    I have some questions for you, even because Brazil has a past and present linked in economic crisis. The future belongs only to God!

    Similar to a country budget, the families needs balance its budget and adjust your spending pattern to availability. Also, we should not have debts long, but try to have a reserve fund.

    Suze as people with jobs can do that?
    And the unemployed, is there any chance to achieve this?

    February 11, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  44. Diana

    Hello Suze,

    My husband and me will be receiving a refund this year on our 2008 Tax return. My question to you is what is the best way to invest this money? Although we do have some debt credit card debt do you suggest paying that down immediately or do you suggest just placing it into savings account, a cd or any a money market account?

    February 11, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  45. Charmeece M.

    Hello Suze,
    I would like to buy a house this year and I was told that I should not completely payoff my credit card. They said that the banks would look at this a lot of money I could potential use. Is it better to have the balance at $0 or to have some balance on the card.

    I have about $8500 in credit card limit over 4 cards of which I have a balance of $3000 for my business expenses.

    Thank You Suze,
    Charmeece

    February 11, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  46. Linda Ener

    Hi Suze,

    My company has closed our 401K plan so I've got to decide how to invest
    what money I have left. Of course, I've got to put the funds into a IRA but my question is: How do you feel about annuities versus cds. The investment guy I've talked to is highly suggesting I invest the majority of the funds in a fixed annunity and a small portion in a variable annuity.

    The amount is approximately $24,400. The investment advisor is
    saying I should put $20,000 in the fixed annunity for 7 years. I realize the interest rates are higher now than cd's but I'm concerned about tieing up my funds for that long.

    Thank you Suze for your time and help. I respect your ideas and opinions.

    Linda Ener

    February 11, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  47. Patsy

    Hi Suze,

    Tell me what is best for my retirement fund. In May 2008, I rolled the sum from my TSP Savings, which was required because of my age. It is an IRA in the American Funds. I am not withdrawing an money from this IRA and so far over the past 9 months, I have lost over $6,000 . What should I do so that I don't lose more??.

    Thanks for your help

    Pat
    patsyhbell@cox.net

    February 11, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  48. Nona Kelly

    I am becoming increasingly concerned with the foreclosures reaping havoc like locusts on our hardworking, unfortunate citizens. So far I have been lucky enough to escape. But, my 15 years of supplying the automotive industry with components is not enough to keep me from hanging on by my fingernails as we speak. If the banks can ask (and receive) money from us for their extravagant frivolities, why can't they be forced to either work with the hard hit families faced with foreclosure or GIVE OUR MONEY BACK?

    Can the government freeze all foreclosure actions against those who don't have other homes to fall back on?

    On another front, hypothetically, if a person/family loses their income and depletes their unemployment benefits, can they take hardship withdrawals from their existing 401K accounts and apply those funds toward living expenses/mortgages without the penalty of high tax rates being applied?

    Nonz in Lyons, NY

    February 11, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  49. Ann Beahan

    Please explain "People first, then things, then money". I'm a little confused how that can be applied. Thanks, Ann

    February 11, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  50. Susan Smith

    I keep getting these phone calls about "LOAN MODIFICATION'S" from lawyer offices that want to help us get our loan % rate reduced. They claim they as "lawyer's" can get action with our bank loans that we can not get. For a fee of $1700-$2500 they can get our loan reduced to between 3%-5% interest rate and reduce our monthly home loan payment. This all is based on that we bought our home for $160,000. and now the valve is $120,000. Are these 'LOAN MODIFICATIONS" a scam or what???? Susan Smith

    February 11, 2009 at 10:32 am |
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