September 30th, 2008
06:12 PM ET

Suze Orman Takes your questions

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Program Note: Suze Orman will be on AC360° tonight at 10pm ET to discuss how to keep your money safe.


Have questions about how the breaking news will change the market; affect your stocks, mutual funds, 401(k)... your job?

Submit your financial questions here for Suze Orman and watch AC 360’ tonight 10p ET to get them answered.

Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Suze Orman • T1
soundoff (221 Responses)
  1. Brooke

    If this would have happened two months from now, how do you think each of the two Presidential candidates would handle it?

    September 30, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  2. Diane N.

    How dare you say last night that people on disability that they have to learn to take care of themselves! Those people paid into the system their whole working life and then become injured that is their money! What is wrong with you? Should you become disabled Suzi 'miss high life' you'll eat your words.

    September 30, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  3. Jane

    Dear Suze,
    I am 58, retired, and have my IRA in an annuity with Midland National.
    Currently I have $900K invested and earning only 3.15% . In light of
    what is happening with this mess of the economy and Wall Street, are
    my holdings at risk? Believe me, right now 3.15% is okay!
    I'm allowed to take out 10% of my assets and rollover to another
    IRA every year. Should I take 10% of my assets and put into cd's that
    are paying more? Thanks, Suze

    September 30, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  4. George K. DeFelice Sr.

    Hi Suze

    On last nights show you were stating the reasons why most people don't want the bail out package is they don't understand it.. Not so. This ecnomic mess has effected me in some verry bad ways. First I have been working for the City of N.Y., for almost 20 years and was getting ready to retire, I need to sell my home first. Before this mess started my property was worth $800,000. to $850,000. . Now I can't even get a buyer for $695,000. . I can't retire till I sell my home so I can move down south. I worry about how much I will clear on my home as I was going to use the proceeds to buy a new home. But thats O.K. I am glade the house rejected the bill, I would rather whate and see a bill that will help everyone then a rush job. Bush is good for that. A bill that states in plane english that CEO's will not get on penny of tax payers money and a bill that does not give a lame duck Pres. $100B to use at his decression.. To put in his .. Or how he put it "His power base'es pockets.". I would rather see a Bill that will help all Americans and American Companys with an oversight commity. Not a rush job..
    Thank You for you time

    September 30, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  5. Kim, Hiram, Ohio


    With the credit market in crisis, I was wondering what will happen to student loans in coming years? I am currently a junior in college and my loans are secured for the coming year, but I worry about being able to secure federal loans, much less personal loans to complete my final year of school. What can students do to help ensure that they can get loans in the coming years?

    Thank You.

    September 30, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  6. Dorothy

    Hi Suze!

    Thank you for being such an inspiration to so many women out there. You really encourage us to not just settle for what someone may tell us but really KNOW what's happening with our money. I have just turned 30, am single, own a townhouse with my sister, a cabin with 2 sisters, (both with mortgages) have roughly 10,000+ in RRSPs, and no real debt (maybe $200? on a credit card). I really would like to pay off our townhouse as soon as possible (I think we have 15? years left) but my financial planner tells me it's better to put any extra money into some kind of mutual fund (or other savings) because the interest is higher than the interest I'm paying on my house. Does this really work out in the long run as they say any extra payment on a mortgage makes a HUGE difference down the road, but is my financial planner just telling me to invest with him cuz it's his job and makes him money? I want to be making forward steps financially not sitting stagnent and I'm not sure who else will give me a straight answer on what my next financial steps should be. Thanks!!

    Dorothy, from Canada 🙂

    September 30, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  7. Dr. Joseph graziani

    Dear Suze
    I have very large sum $ in annuity at AIG through Bank of the West. I was told by the broker that this is insured by the government up to 2 million in annuity.

    Also I have $ in Treasury COD Certificate in community bank. Am I insured, if so up to how much in principal amount? I was told that it is up to 1/2 million is insured in treasury bonds

    Your answer ASAP is truly appreciated.

    September 30, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  8. marilyn hurst

    Suze, If the economy crashes will there be inflation, lack of goods to purchase, or both ? Will cash have any value if we return to The Great Depression Part II ?

    September 30, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  9. Judy in South Carolina

    Suze, I don't see where anyone has asked a question such as this. We have a $100,000 life insurance policy with ING (ReliaStar Insurance Company) which now has a cash value of $33,219 on my husband who is 62 years old. We are continuing to pay $179/month on this policy. With insurance companies also failing at a fast rate should we take the cash value out of this policy now?

    Thank you for your advise.

    September 30, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  10. Susan


    I think you are the real straight talker in this political season!

    I am 46 and single, I have a 401k plan with employer annual contribution and a safe harbor amount (two annual contributions). It is diversified, managed by a local bank and I have percentages invested in growth, small cap, money market and government bonds. I invest about 3 percent and have about $20K accumulated. Should I stop contributions to save for a home? Is it ever wise to borrow from the 401K to buy a home, especially now? I have completely paid off credit cards and have no debt. My credit rating is low due to youthful indisretions, but had received preapproval for a mortgage. I have very little savings/cash on hand. Thanks for the advice.


    September 30, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  11. Denise Smith

    My money (savings, CD's, IRA's) is in a credit union insured by ASI. Is it safe?

    September 30, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  12. lilia lecca

    I have some Uro dollars that I am reluctant to change, should I wait or keep the money?

    thanks for your help

    September 30, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  13. marilyn hurst

    i'm a 59 year old woman who is late to the workforce with little savings. $6500 in credit card debt @ 0% interest for the next year. car & house payments are affordable. I have been investing 20% of salary into my 401K. Should I stop paying into 401K ? and if so, where should I put it? I have $6K in bank savings - should I withdraw cash from the bank to keep it safe? My fear is there will be a run on the banks..I have no confidence in government at this point...I fear even FDIC will collapse or reveal they cannot cover our deposits. I have approximately$16K in a Roth account that i suspect has tanked in the past week. Also $5K in a retirement account from a prior employer. Is there anything else you would advise me to do ? Thanks, Suze!

    September 30, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  14. Mike

    I have a 401k with Fidelity with about $200,000. Is it FDIC insured? If not what are my options? I am 50 years old and would like to retire in 10 years. I make $100,000 a year (gross) and have been putting 25% into Fidelity. I own my home, no other bills. Thanks.
    Mike Virginia Beach

    September 30, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  15. Deborah

    Hi Suze, Im 54 and want to invest 5 thousand dollars.Should that go into my Roth Account or a CGM Focus Fund account..thanks

    September 30, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  16. Chris

    I have a 2007 BMW X5 that I owe 69,500k. It's probably worth 57,000k. This leaves me upside down 12,500k.

    My question is, I want to sell the BMW and buy a Toyota Prius (for financial and environmental reasons) and need to know if now is a good time to make this purchase. A new Prius is approximately 29,000k, which I would finance along with the underage of 12,500k. (41,500k)

    By making this move, aren't I lowering my debt by 28,000k and saving the planet?

    September 30, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  17. Officer Bob

    Suze, my police retirement 457(b) plan does not allow me to move it into a US Treasury Money Market Fund as you have suggested. What problems would I face if I roll it over to another company such as Vanguard?

    September 30, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  18. Sandy

    I've heard statements that many of these failed mortgages are 2nd mortgages - people who were trying to profit by buying a 2nd house, holding on to it for 6 months, then sell for a quick profit. What percentage of the mortgages are those? How many "regular" people with one mortgage are caught up in this bad mortgage issue?

    September 30, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  19. James Denton

    I've got about $10K accumulated in my "rainy day" account, sitting safely in a saving account. Expecting the market to eventually rise back up, would this be a good time to hop into the stock market... and maybe make a lot of money in a short time? If so, any specific suggestions for mutual funds?

    September 30, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  20. Chris

    I have roughly 50,000k in my 401k that my company matches. I have approximately 55,000k in credit card debt at 14.99%.

    Should I withdraw from my 401k to pay the debt or transfer the debt to another card at 0% for the next year (and then at a 6.99%)?


    September 30, 2008 at 4:09 pm |

    hi, suse,
    since as taxpayers we are going to bail out wallstreet, what if we take some of the 700billion dollars and pay off all the mortgages made from 2001 to the present and write off these mortgages. Not only would the mortgages be paid off by the government, and some of the Bad mortgages paid off but also the mortgagees that have never been late or foreclosed on. Since we have to pay this 700 billion why can't we benefit from this as well. Just a thought thanks. bruce

    September 30, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  22. Jason

    Isn't this whole crisis because of variable interest rate loans being underwritten incorrectly?

    I was an underwriter and we always used 8% for underwriting purposes even if the variable rate on a real estate loan was 4%.

    Why doesn't the government just cover the spread on a the real estate loans that have gone bad? Wouldn't that be cheaper?

    September 30, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  23. Ann,Texas

    Hi Suze,

    We are newly married couple we will be closing our first home in November.We are in our late 20's. We still have some credit card debt. My husband's company matches his 401K contributions though. Im just working part time.

    How will the current decision to buy a house affect us? Is it a good investment? Would the rates go up? Is it safe to save the money in the bank as such or invest it? What would be a good time to withdraw the money saved in 401K and invest in which market?


    September 30, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  24. Rosanne in Ohio

    The Federal Govt intends to buys $700B of toxic loans, at a discount, and then says the taxpayers will get the money back possibly even make a profit when they sell the loans. Who is going to buy those toxic loans? I don't see how the gov't expects to get paid back.

    Secondly, the people who have now lost their homes, millions maybe, who are probably renting again. What's in this for them? Are they the ultimate losers in this money shuffle?


    September 30, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  25. Al Kissock

    Maybe you can give me some advice in relationship to my 401K – I have around $200K in the plan with over 99% in the income fund that has been paying around 6% each year. The plan is run by Fidelity and I am not sure if I should take the money out and put it in CD's? The only problem is that I would have to pay the 20% or more if I take the money out – at this time I do not need the money but also I do not want to lose it in the 401K. Age 63 & I retired toay – bad timing or what.

    Thanks in advance for any guidance you could give.

    September 30, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  26. John

    Last evening (Monday), I think I heard you recommend putting only enough pre-tax dollars into a 401(k) that will still qualify you for a matching employer contribution, but no more (I could be mistaken but I think that's what you said). I'm in my early 40s, have maxed my contribution (15 percent) for 15 years, still have some 20 years before retirement and the value of my 401(k) has lost approximately $40,000 this year ($12,000 since last week Friday). Would I be better off keeping my contribution at max, accumulating as much as possible now ("buying low") so that when the markets (hopefully) corrects itself, I'll have more shares? Or, should I use the "100 minus age" and put only that much into 401(k) and the rest in far less risky bonds (or similar)?

    Thanks so much for your help!
    -Confused in the Midwest

    September 30, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  27. Joseph

    Hello Sue,

    I'm 45, married with two kids 5 and 8. I'm currently the sole breadwinner in the family (my wife will go back to work in 2-3 years), We live in California, the Bay area. Over the last 4 years, i have fortunately been able to contribute the maximum into my 401k, along with the maximum company match under IRS rules. I'm invested in a number of Fidelity funds that are about 75% stock, 20% bond and the rest other. About 20% of this is International, with most of that invested in Western European companies. The overall risk of my portfolio is slightly left of moderate on the scale. I plan to retire in 15-20 years. We don't carry any credit card debt, we have a mortgage balance of $210K, are drawn $11K on a $29K credit line, and an auto loan balance of $9K, payments are all current. My house has depreciated about 40% in the last two years, but fortunately i'm not upside down. We would like a bigger house, but will put that thought off until my wife goes back to work. Should i loose my job, we do have about 4-5 mths of savings to fall back on. Is there any advice that you can offer in the short term and long term?

    Thanking you in advance, love your show!

    September 30, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  28. Cathy Green

    Can you give the exact age that I should shift my 401k funds to more a more conservative portfolio. I am 50 and want to retire at 62.

    September 30, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  29. Heidi

    The powers that be keep insisting that "bailout" is a misnomer and taxpayers will eventually be repaid most, if not all of the money...maybe even make a profit! How likely is that and how long do you think it would take before taxpayers start to see repayment?

    September 30, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  30. skip, mississippi

    Hello Suzie, Both my wife are retired and receiving Social Security and a pension from my last job plus monthly amounts for my IRA's and Annuities. My question is why are my IRA and Annuities are so tied to Wall Street performance. I took about a $9,000 hit monday and would to hear you advice. Thanks

    September 30, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  31. Recent Grad Student


    I've recently completed grad. school and am now entering the workforce; I'm in my late twenties. I'd like to begin planning for my retirement. Given the current economic climate, what is the best way for me to begin investing - ie: what investment vehicles should I explore? Also, I have a sizeable amt of school loans that need to be repaid. 1) should I focus on repaying the loans off first and then save for retirement?; 2) Can I generate monies from stocks/mutual funds and use that revenue to repay loans while saving for retirement?

    The only debt I own are my school loans. No credit card debt.


    September 30, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  32. Anne

    Instead of bailing out Wall Street, why not bail out Main Street? Instead of giving 700 Billion to the banks, give 1million to each family. It would be a lot less expensive. Let WE THE PEOPLE jump start the economy instead of the guy's in suits. They've squandered away EVERYTHING and now we're supposed to give THEM ANOTHER CHANCE?

    One Angry American

    September 30, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  33. Melanie

    My in laws are retired. They are collecting social security. They have a tremendous amount of money in stock mutual funds. They lost a ton of money yesterday. I have been telling my father n law for yrs that at his age he should not have his money in high rick investments. Am i right? Should he have moved it into Annuities,Bonds.TBills etc? Is there anything they can do now..or is it just the waiting game?
    Thank you

    September 30, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  34. Susan Simmons

    My husband and I live in Florida ( above water so far ) . Our house and cars are paid for, and we have no credit card balance. My husband is getting s/s, started at 62, I will get s/s next year. We also had money in two funds (mostly bonds as suggested for our age group) that we were taking money out of to go with the monthly s/s check. With the turmoil in the market, we have lost about 70,000 since this time last year. My husband finally parked one account in a US Treasury bond fund, (very little interest but supposed to be the safest). Do you think this was a wise move, and should we also park the other account. Or do you think we should stay in the bond and stock mkt. We have a couple CD's and some cash to hold us for awhile. We are both retired. Thanks Susan S.

    September 30, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  35. Renee Rico

    Why not go with a "Sweden" option of nationalizing these financial institutions, then sell them off once they get fixed?

    September 30, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  36. Tammy, Chicago

    Hi Suze,

    I am currently in school and depend on student loans each year. I have about 3 semesters left and I keep hearing about the possibility of not being able to get student loans. Does this mean private loans or governement loans? I have worked so hard for almost three years working full time and going to school at least half time that I am in shock I may not be able to finish because of all this.

    I also keep hearing that if the bill passes, Americans may end up with a profit in the end. What does this mean? Does it mean they will give us some kind of rebate check or does it mean it will just be applied to this administration's hefty deficit?

    I am so confused as to what all this means.

    Thanks 🙂

    September 30, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  37. Matt Tasset

    As a college student, you can figure that I'm pretty concerned about what I can expect to see in the next couple years. Should I have to worry about the student loans which I'm recieving every semester? And are there any steps or measures I should be taking to secure those loans.

    September 30, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  38. Deborah

    For the last ten years, virtually all my disposable income has gone to paying for health care costs for my very ill husband. Which means at age 50, I have only accummulated $24,000 in my 401K, plus about 10,000 in other savings. My husband passed away a month ago, and soon I will be receiving approximately $70,000 in life insurance benefits after I pay off all our debts (credit cards, doctors, hospitals, etc.) except our mortgage. With all the instability in the market, what should I do with that money to give myself the strongest safety net possible?

    September 30, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  39. Karen

    I am an insurance agent selling AIG as one of my homeowners markets. They tell us the insurance part of the company is sound since they are regulated by the state, and must keep adequate surplus to pay their claims. Should I feel okay about selling their policies still?

    September 30, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  40. Dave, Honolulu Hawaii

    Hello Suzie,

    Why are there no billionaires stepping forward to offer money for the bailout? If 700 stepped up to the plate and gave $1 billion each, Wall Street wouldn't have to beg the taxpayers to "bail them out". Or 350 each giving $2 billion.

    What's the deal? They seem to want it all...

    Honolulu, Hawaii

    September 30, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  41. Karen

    My IRA has dropped by $8000 with all the market problems – should I keep it where it is, and ride it out, or do I need to do something else with my money to keep from losing more?


    September 30, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  42. Richard

    Why can't the same $700 billion be divided up equally among all the tax payers instead of bailing out Wall St?

    September 30, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  43. yvonne powell

    Hi Suze,
    I am 50 years old and am contributing the max to my 403b. Do you think it is wise to decrease my contribution, and try to put more in savings or apply it to my mortgage?

    September 30, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  44. Lisa

    Suze, I watched you on Oprah and thought FINALLY someone is talking tough to these people who want to continue spending money that they don't HAVE. Don't ease up on them now...they NEED to be chastised until they "get" it!

    My question: My new financial advisor keeps trying to put my 401k rollovers in annuities and the first batch I rolled over lost 15% in the first month. He knows I am risk-averse and am OK with slow steady growth. Should I wait it out? I put the second batch in treasuries...

    September 30, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  45. Nick

    Hi Suze,

    I graduated from college in May of 2007 and immediately started working a full time job. I earn a fair salary for someone just starting out, but with the cost of living continuing to rise and the current financial fiasco this country is in, which I'm sure we'll be paying for a very long time, how can young individuals save money just starting out? I'm just making ends meet and I feel like I'll never be able to afford buying a home of my own! Besides hiding under a rock, whact can I do to avoid getting myself into more debt?

    Boston, MA

    September 30, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  46. matt

    why cant the government give us tax payers the bailout money spread evenly to those who pay taxes? Wouldn't the majority of us use this money to pay down our mortgages and wouldn't it stimulate the economy? All I know is that I would feel a whole lot better if I got a check in the mail then if the government just gave the money to the crooks on wall street.

    September 30, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  47. Dee, New York

    Our home, cars, + college, everything is paid off on time, years ahead of time. We use two credit cards and pay off the balance in full each month. Our credit history is impeccable. I am hearing that our credit card companies may reduce our lines of credit thus lowering our FICO score. Is this true and why would the companies do this?

    September 30, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  48. Alkinoos

    Hello Suze,

    I would like to see the Congress discuss about saving main street while letting the Banks stew in the bad loans they have made. As I understand the problem is credit freeze. I believe the government should find method of channeling loans to the main street, bypassing the banks.

    What do you think?

    September 30, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  49. Chelsea

    Hi Anderson & Suze,

    I know it is probably very hard to predict, but how do you think the Economic Troubles right now will affect the ability to get college loans and scholarships in the future? I am 14, and I graduate High School in 2012. What can I do right now to ensure I can get a loan, and will organizations and Colleges become stingier with scholarships? What can I do right now to help make a good financial future for myself?

    Thank you lots.

    September 30, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  50. Lilibeth

    (Possible Duplicate)

    Hi Suze, my question is:

    I have 20+ years before retirement. My portfolio is 65% stocks, 35% bonds. You said that you can’t time the market, and with 20+ years before retirement, I should be able to ride out the turmoil in the markets. However, I’m still concerned. I’m thinking about changing my allocations of future contributions to 50% money market funds and 50% index funds. Then be more aggressive later on when the market starts to pick up again. (I wish I can invest in municipal bonds like you have advised, but my current 401K plan doesn’t offer it). I will not touch the allocations in what’s currently in the plan now.

    What do you think?


    Edmonds, Washington

    September 30, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
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