.
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. Annetta Wilkinson

    Hi Susie,
    My husband and I are in our late 70's, Our Broker has advised we sell our Mutual Funds and buy Corprate or Municipal Bonds. Of which we have a fair amount. They have also been loosing lg amounts of money. But so far we are still OK.
    My Question is: Should We? We have been in the market for the long hall, and are sooo confused. Is it better to sell at a loss and buy Bonds at a discounted Rate hoping they will now take a sharp turn up?
    Our Son's broker recommend's he stay the course He's 59 and not in our income bracked yet.
    Help
    Annetta

    February 12, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  2. Donald Fricker

    Suz,
    I have to disagree with you. You advice on not taking loans and not going to school during a recession seems out of touch with reality. During every economic downtown people use the time wisely to get degrees and enhance their skills for the jobs that follow in the upturn. People have done this for the last 30 or 40 years and the economic stimulus bill includes lots of Pell money to help people get into school and complete programs. Lots of schools are increasing financial aid and discounting their tuition to help students that find themselves in poor circumstances during this economic downturn. I would encourage students to be savy shoppers and visit the school and the financial aid office. This is a good time to get back in school and get a good degree. Please encourage people to do so. When the downtown is over we will need teachers, nurses, and even those perhaps less than popular financial workers that created this mess.
    don

    February 11, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  3. brad

    Suze,

    I'm behind on my mortgage and am now considering a mortgage restructure.

    is a restructure wise or should i try to sell my home instead to begin repairing my credit? my monthly expenses would be manageable and i could keep my house if my mortage payments were reduced.

    thanks

    February 11, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  4. Kathie Nerreter

    My husband, 54 yrs old, is a General Motors hourly employee with 32 yrs seniority. Most of our savings is in his 401 & my 503 (I am 54 yrs old & a nurse midwife). We live in Flint MI. Should he take the retirement recently offered, or should he continue to work? We are concerned about losing health care benefits before we reach medicare age.

    February 11, 2009 at 11:27 pm |
  5. Annetta

    Susie,
    We are in our late 70's, and healthy, our broaker is telling us that we should sell our Mutual Funds and go int munic.Bonds. We are worth
    1 1/4 Mil.. and confused .
    Our Municpial Bonds have lost a sizable amount also.
    Where is the safest place to be right?.
    We are in for the long term

    Annetta Wilkinson

    February 11, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  6. suzanne lerman

    i have an adjustable rate mortgage with wamu. since they have "gone under" . they sent a letter saying they were offering refinancing, but
    when I called them they said for some reason having to do with a technicality in my mortgage that I was not aware of, I was not able to re-finance. Would you advise that I try to pay down the mortgage as fast as possible even though the rates are low right now? I feel like there is no one at wamu to talk to. no one knows what's going on. I even went to my local bank that I've been banking with for over 30 years. They are Chase Manhattan, they have BOUGHT Wamu...and they had no idea what the
    deal was.
    In your opinion, should I be trying to just get out of it all together and put my life savings into paying off the mortgage? Thanks. -Suzanne

    February 11, 2009 at 10:57 pm |
  7. Trisha

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE ASK SUZE!!!

    I was a first time home buyer and got 2 loans to avoid PMI. One loan is a 30fixed at 6.3 the second is a 10 year balloon at 8.2. I know it financially makes sense to refinance but I haven’t found anyone that is willing to.

    I live in Houston, TX and mortgage lenders are saying that my second loan is a “cash out HELOC”. How can this be when I used the loan to purchase the house?

    I need your help girlfriend, where can I go to refinance?

    February 11, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  8. Lois

    Hi Suze,

    I'm paying 8% on my $4,000 credit card debt. Should I pay it off with my home equity line of credit if the HELOC rate is less than 5%?

    February 11, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  9. chuck zimmermann

    I wonder if anyone in the government thought about something like verteran home loan. Maybe they could find a "freeze point" regarding mortgage balances and values,(finding a crisis birthdate) then guarantee these values under specific conditions, (relative to today's values) ,guarantee the difference, to the balance of said loans, until all legitimate, as of today, "under-water" mortgages are "in balance", (for lack of a better description). Maybe not what everyone "wants" to hear, but seems the most practical for all involved, and taking care that no one really profits from this situation.

    chuck z

    February 11, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  10. Bob

    Suze,

    What is happening to the condo market in areas outside of Miami, Tampa, and Orlando Florida. We are older and secure and have the means to buy a second home...condo down in the Destin Florida area and we have seen some relatively good prices compared before the market when south.

    Looking at the purchase as an investment and for personnal enjoyment. Some of the c%ondos would provide net rental incomes to cover the mortage after 25 down.

    Can we expect prices to continue to fall in these areas. If so is an offer that is 15-20% below asking unrealsonable? What other advice and recommendation can you provide. Now sure the stock market at this time is a good investment for extra cash.

    Thanks
    Bob

    February 11, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  11. Sgt David A Tartaglia, USAF Ret

    Today Capital One sent a letter say the rates are fees are going up
    due the the economic situation. this is wrong.

    February 11, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  12. peggy

    I have mastercard and visa through Wachova. Bank of America (BOA) will be taking over these accounts. Wachovia has asked me to switch to Wachovia and close out the cards that will soon be BOA. Will I lose my FICA score if I close these accounts

    February 11, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  13. Rebecca Kibett

    Hi Suze,
    I have 2 credit cards with Bank of America for$ 10500 and$ 5500@15.99 and 13.99.
    I recently called them to negotiate for a better rate and the credit analyst stated that i always pay minimum amounts only and i have too much debt. He said i needed to speak to a Debt Manager.
    He transfered me to them but i didnt accept that program.

    A few days ago , i received a letter from Bank of America stating that my credit card accounts had been closed "to further charging privileges because i currently have sufficient debt considering my income."
    Does the bank have the right to close my acc.yet i have never been late with payments?
    Rebecca.

    February 11, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  14. Kim

    Hi Suze,

    My Family sold our house in Connecticut(CT). While under contract, I noticed signs of Attempted Breaking & Enterring and Vandalism. Based on research I had done prior to our listing our house for sale, I know that my CT County Realtors Association has a listing of every Agent who goes thru a house based on data stored in the lockbox placed on the front door and uploaded to the Assoc.'s Lockbox Dept.

    During conversation I had with the Lockbox Coordinator, it came out that the lockbox had no info of anyone enterring my house on the day I know the buyers who bought my home and their real estate agent enterred(1 and only time they enterred my home). 3 family members were sitting in the car at the corner watching them enter and leave; next door neighbor told me he saw them talking in our adjoining open back yards. Based on this lockbox documentation a buyer who never saw my home –made an offer, did a home inspection, and closed on a house they never saw; a real estate agent who never saw and showed my house received a commission.

    2 of us went to CT County Realtors Association and spoke with the Realtors Assoc. President who told us he KNOWS his agents enter homes illegally without sellers' knowledge and consent, he will do NOTHING to stop them, the law is that we have NO RIGHTS to the info from the lockbox on our front door, and he doesn't have to show us the law stating we have No RIGHTS to this info(we asked to see the document).

    I have a lot of info and documentation related to this "situation" including but not limited to a POLICE REPORT STATING VANDALISM and BREAKING & ENTERRING(our listing agent screamed at us not to call the police when we found this one night when we came home), the lockbox #, etc.

    Suze is the buyers agent legally able to receive a commission from my home's sale even though the lockbox documents the agent never showed my home?
    Can the agent we listed with get a commission even though he was not present during the home inspection(we repeatedly told him we wanted him to be there verbally and in email) and he violated his fiduciary responsibility to us as per the law (damage was done to the house and our personal belongings, we listed this in a letter to our real estate lawyer right after the home inspection).

    This is just a brief summary of what happened.

    February 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  15. Stephanie

    What should I do with my anticipated tax refund of $800? I owe $23,000 in school loans,$22,000 car balance,and $11,000 in credit card debt. Should I try to pay off one credit card, or should I just put the money into a savings account?

    February 11, 2009 at 9:55 pm |
  16. GLORIA

    Suze, I lost my house to foreclosure last year and have been working hard to pay down all of the rest of my debt. I thought through the advice of a real estate person that when a house goes into foreclosure that the 1st lien holder gets usually the majority of the money and if there is any to be had the second lien holder can sometimes get some of the money. My problem is this my house was upside down and 154k 137 1st and 27 for the second. The house sold at auction for a meer $52,500, All of that of course went to the primary lender. Now the second lender is threatening to garnish my wages and sue me for the balance of what is owed. I don't understand how they can expect you to pay for something you don't own anymore. What has happened to the Deeds of Trust.

    February 11, 2009 at 9:53 pm |
  17. Don in Indiana

    I work for a not-for-profit theatre. There isn't any cash flow to pay my salary but there is work to be done. What can I do? Can I claim unemployment insurance?

    February 11, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  18. Cessy, Chicago

    Suze– Awhile back, Anderson made a comment that he doesnt even know what to do with his 401K at work. What kind of advice would you give him?

    February 11, 2009 at 9:45 pm |
  19. Cessy, Chicago

    Good evening, Suze! I'm a big fan of yours and I'm very excited to see you on Anderson's show. I watched you recently on Larry King Live and you gave the viewers some pretty amazing advice. Do you that know I see you everyday? Your picture is on the huge billboard where I catch my train to and from work? Everyday I say to myself, did I save enough money today? hahahaha....

    February 11, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  20. Dianne Briodie

    Can you tell me why single individuals are taxed at a higher rate? I never heard this subject being raised during the campaign. Does the new administration plan to do anything with regard to this inequity in the tax system?

    February 11, 2009 at 9:42 pm |
  21. lillie

    i am a full-time student living off of my financial aid. i have a car note of $450. now that i don't have a job my financial aid is just enough to cover my rent and small bills. i want to get rid of the car, it is a 2008 mazda tribute that i got in august of 2007. the car is now at about $15500. i want to try to get something cheaper, I'm just afraid that i will be upside down as far as payments. i have tried to refinance but am unable to due to credit card debt. what is the best option for me with getting rid of this car that i cannot afford.

    February 11, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  22. cole

    as an independent contractor what tax breaks or credits could look for? Also, with the EIC will they raise the interest rate of 2950. so I could qualify for that credit? Thanks for your response- and for the copy of your book through Oprah Show

    February 11, 2009 at 9:10 pm |
  23. Paula

    My husband, who is59, and I (56) bought a small house last summer to renovate and move into. Our current house, which we have had for 12 years, is now worth less than our mortgage. We have had it on the market since July of '08 and only 3 people have looked at it. It is priced so that we will only break even on a sale. We have stopped making the mortgage payments on our current house and really don't care if our credit rating goes down, as we are working to pay off credit debt and have the small house to live in. Have we done the right thing?

    February 11, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  24. Joanne

    Hi Suze –
    My husband recently inherited a very large stock portfolio. He received a call this week from his broker stating that we should consider cashing some of the stocks in, since it is losing so much money and that we should just place the money in savings instead. Is this wise to do, or should we just keep it the way it is and hope it starts to do better? We are still fairly young (in our mid thirties) so we have quite a bit of time before we will need the money from this
    Thank You!

    February 11, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  25. TEE

    Suze,

    Wouldn't it better to give the remaining TARP money to one or several National banks, such as credit unions with good past performances and have them lend the money and get it circulating – this should take care of the credit crunch, and the place over sight and monitoring on them. Also, allow new banks with brand new management and new business models emerge to increase market participation.

    Then shouldn't we let go of the big guys such as Merrile Lynch, Citi, Goldman...? Let them get through their issues on their own - they already got a large amount of money that others don't get and since they claim to be so bright and smart should be able to figure this out – after all they have a leg up with the first half of the TARP money. I just don't understand why we insist on putting more against something that has over and over proven that it is broken and is wasteful investment.

    Look forward to your feedback!

    February 11, 2009 at 8:37 pm |
  26. db rogers

    When do we see the income tax rollback for senior citizens making less than $50,000?

    February 11, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  27. Melissa

    Suze,
    I have made a lot of finacial mistakes in the past and have recently started paying off debts. I paid off my credit cards and closed them. I have paid off almost all other bad debt. I now have just less than $1000 in bad debt. I have a car loan of $560 montly. I need to get rid of this, but can't get a car loan thru my bank. I make all my payments on this loan on time but still can't get a loan due to my credit score. Its dropped from 670 last year with all the bad debt, to 520 this year with almost everything paid off. My question is this. Whats the best and fastest way to raise my credit score, and what did I do to cause my credit score to drop so far; so fast. Help!! I am sick and tired of always being in debt. Melissa; Spfld, MO

    February 11, 2009 at 8:01 pm |
  28. ron fisher

    Investment Tax Credit: can you explain that & how business can use it to purchase new equipment and moderize their business. It used to be there years ago......and it sure would help get Ma & Pa places going and help the economy ???

    February 11, 2009 at 7:48 pm |
  29. sg

    So I am curious intially in the last 2-3 weeks they had talked about the new stimulus plan having a provision for people on social security/disability. A one time stimulus check this year would be issued.First I heard $450, then I heard $300, now I dont hear anything at all. I have searched the internet for info on the above situation and I am unable to find any. Do you know the answer, and if you do, can you let your audience know. I am sure I am not the only social security recipient that is wondering. thanyou

    February 11, 2009 at 7:47 pm |
  30. Nancy from Massachusetts

    My husband and I are in our mid-40s and have been watching our retirement savings plans lose over 50% in the past few months. Do we cut our losses and liquidate those funds? Or do we hang in there and risk cutting our life savings in 1/2 yet again?

    February 11, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  31. Carrie

    Have we ever seen the stats as to how many people who owned homes and tried to refinane during this period. In 2005, my mom with perfect credit for over 60 years, over 150,000 in the bank and owns her own home, tried to refinance another home she owns and never made a payment late in 22 years and was denied. She was told that she should exchange her fixed mortgage for an adjustable and then refinance it again into a fixed in three years. They told her that fixed rates were so "old school "and that everyone was going for the adjustable. My mom was so insulted, she paid off the mortgage and took all of her money out of B of A. The banks were not just going after people who weren't credit worthy, but SENIORS. I do believe the banks are robbing the banks!

    February 11, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  32. Priya

    Suze,

    I live in Oregon and I want to start saving for my kid's college expenses. But I am confused about whether to go with the state plan or to enroll in an out-of-state 529 plan as I am not impressed with any of the funds offered in the Oregon's 529 plans. However, the big advantage of going with the Oregon plan would be the tax deduction (upto $4000) that I will be able to claim once I am enrolled. What do you recommend? Is it still worthwhile enrolling in the state plan or should I consider another state's 529 plan that will provide me no tax advantages?

    Thanks,
    Priya

    February 11, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  33. Mary

    Suzi,
    Question:

    We (2 couples) opened a restaurant 3 years ago. We had to take out 3 different loans in order to do this. The restaurant is doing very well and we would like to consolidate the loans.
    We were told originally to take out seperate loans because we didn't own the building, we leased. Can we consolidate now that the business is established and doing well or do we have to continue to pay interest on 3 different loans?

    Thanks!

    February 11, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  34. Tim

    Why is the media upset by companies paying bonuses and having retreats for top producers, when congress has all expense paid retreats and no one seems to care? Congress is just as much to blame for this financial crisis, yet they (Tom Daschle) can get paid $2,000,000 as a lobbyist while they are still in office. This is criminal.

    February 11, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  35. Nichole Lee

    Please answer... I am a BROKE college student

    Hi Suze! I have 2 questions. I am currently graduating with my masters in Nursing in May... therefore I am in lots of debt. I have about 50, 000 at one place and 30,000 with another place. What is the best company to consolidate with? Would it be best to NOT consolidate and to just pay on the high interest loans at first?

    Secondly, I have a credit card with a an EX boyfriend and I would like to close it once he pays the balance off. How long should I wait before closing the account?

    February 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  36. Jennifer

    We purchased our home with 20% down and have of course lost that since our homes value has tanked. Do you see anything in the stimulus package that might help the millions of us refinance even though we have lost all the equity in our home and now have nothing to refinance with?

    Thanks Suze,

    Jen

    February 11, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  37. harry root

    DO YOU WANT TO REALLY WANT TO BOOST THE ECONONY … THEN HAVE THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS REPEAL THE PROHIBITION ON CONCURRENT RECEIPT OF MILITARY RETIRED PAY AND VA DISIBALITY COMPENSATION FOR ALL DISABILED CAREER MILITARY RETIREES. WE WILL SPENT IT ALL, AS WE HAVE A TRACK RECORD OF LIVING MONTH TO MONTH.

    This veteran’s issue is one of many that haven’t been resolved … trivial to today’s war veteran issues but very important to us veterans who are in our very senior years.
    The issue is that if you are a retired (20 plus years) veteran with 10% to 40 % service connected disability, non-combat, you will receive a disability check from the VA corresponding to your percentage of your disability …. However, the same amount, dollar for dollar, is deducted from your retired pay, resulting in a net gain of zero for your disability. That’s right …. If you decided to be a career serviceman and have some service connected disabilities you have to fund your own disabilities if under 50%.

    Thanks,
    Retired SMSGT, USAF

    February 11, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  38. amber in cali

    Suze, Help! My husband and I are feeling like we want out of the market. We have just moved to California and taken a salary job after being self employed for 10yrs. It came with a pay cut and a huge cost of living increase. We couldnt sell our home in Denver, so we rented it (for more than our mortgage/ins/tax, so one positive). Aside from the house we had around $750k diversely invested with portfolio mgr. But it is down SO much, should we pull out now and wait until it starts to increase before getting back in. I dont have any specific need for the money right now, just worried it will be completely lost. We are 40. Help!

    February 11, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  39. Appa Rao (Concord,Ca,USA)

    Hey Suze,

    I am planning to buy a new car. I heard there is some rebate offer in this new stimulas plan if you buy new car. is it true? is it worth waiting for it?

    Please throw some light on this issue.

    Thanks
    Appa Rao

    February 11, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  40. Barb

    My husband and myself are nearer to 60 and plan on working until we are 63-65. We inherited around 105,000 in cash, 238,000 in bonds and mutual funds we are also set to receive an Inherited IRA in a few months. My questions is in your opinion should this be cashed in all except the IRA, and put into a different type of investment.

    February 11, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  41. Polly

    I fear that these bail out packages are going to stimulate the poor behavior (instead of the economy) that got us here in the first place. Please explain how bailing out people, who chose to get into mortgages they could not afford, is going to improve the economy. We're giving money to people that have already proven that they cannot be financially prudent. My children (maybe even my children's children) will be paying for this. This seems to be a high price to pay to correct other peoples' poor decisions. I learned that to rob Peter to pay Paul was always a financial mistake. Isn't that what these bail outs are doing? I've never been in better financial shape (mortgage paid off, retirement is well funded, emergency fund, a job (for now), college fund for children) and I am really frightened. I didn't get a $7,500 break on my first mortgage, I got a 16% interest rate. Please Suze, provide some clarity about what these stimulus packages will do for this economy.

    February 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  42. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Suze,

    Please, and those working with 'unnecessary' (culture, art, entertainment, etc.). What they should do, if the citizens give it a while prioritizing other things?

    Thanks!

    February 11, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  43. Althea

    Hi Suze,

    In an episode of your show last year I believe you mentioned that a loan one may give (let's say between relatives) that is not paid back can be claimed as a loss on one's tax returns. You suggested getting a signed agreement from the borrower to pay back the money, along with their social security number. Could you please refresh my memory on what steps are needed in order to do this?

    Thanks in advance, and I LOVE your show!

    February 11, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  44. Jodi, Lynden WA.

    Hey Suze,

    I have heard you talk about rolling an IRA into a Roth in 2010 and pay nothing.....Would that be true for a 401K? Could I roll my 401k money over into my Roth 401K? It is throught the same company? Thank you for your time!

    February 11, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  45. Mitch - Mooresville, NC

    I switched my IRA from the stock market to an indexed annuity this
    December after losing about half the value. Was this an O K move?

    February 11, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  46. Syl

    Suze
    What is your opinion of Universal Life Insurance. You said in the past that it is a scam. How is it a scam?
    Regards

    February 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  47. Renee

    Suzie: When I purchased a home more than 20 years ago, I paid private mortgage insurance for about a year. Why isn't the PMI industry paying for all of the losses on the mortgages? Have you investigated PMI?

    February 11, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  48. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Suze,

    More questions, if you allow me:

    In the midst of a crisis, when a core product (basic) is on promotion, it is advantage to buy more than usual to enjoy the lowest price?

    February 11, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  49. Kimberly B. from San Marcos, California

    Suze,

    Thank you for all that you do to make finance and investing easily understood.

    We now live in an era where paying off your debt, maintaining a good salary, and investing in retirement does not guarantee economic prosperity or even stability.

    Will you explain in a brief overview (likely drawing from your new book -Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan) what the "average" American should plan to do with their finances, hold as is or change their investment strategy.

    Keep up the great work!

    Kimberly from San Marcos, California

    February 11, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  50. audrey fisher

    Suze,
    Will people like me on Social Security Disability receive the stimulus package? I do not file taxes on this income.

    When you are referring to the middle class, what income are you speaking about?

    Thank you so, you are true asset to all around the world. , Audrey

    February 11, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
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