.
January 23rd, 2009
08:00 PM ET

Suze's back, and taking your questions

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

Have questions about how the continued economic trouble and 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 • Finance • Suze Orman • T1
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Jan S

    We have lost approximately 1/3 of our 401K, investments, etc. We didn't have a lot to begin with.....$300,000......we do not need this money for at least 10 years, and can wait for it to rebound. Question is.......what do we do with the money we want to invest now? Do we just keep it in cash.......we pay our credit card in full every month, our home is paid for, we have rental property that is paid for. Where do we put our new savings? Yes, we have a rainy day savings of $15,000....should we add more to it, instead of investing? We are 62 and 59. Husband retired, wife working part-time. We have put the max in our roths the past 2 years, where should we put the next roth investments?

    January 23, 2009 at 9:58 pm |
  2. Essence

    Dear Suze,
    I'm 42 years old and have no credit card debt but I have $60K in student loan debt which is killing me. Unfortunately, I consolidated my student loan when I was in my early 20's and am locked in at 8%. I was wondering if I should roll it into my mortgage which is only $60k . Then I would have a mortgage of $120K and a HELOC of $40K.

    I don't have any kids or a hubsand and live in a small condo and make about $90K. How can I get from under my student loan? Please help me, I'm desperate.
    Thanks and love your show,
    Essence

    January 23, 2009 at 9:58 pm |
  3. Ken Galus

    It has been my understanding that bond value moves in opposite direction of stock value. If interest rates go down, bond values go up. At this time, advisors are urging people to get into bonds. However, with interest rates low, it seems the only way they can go is up, which would be bad news for bonds. So, how does one get into bonds at this time?

    January 23, 2009 at 9:58 pm |
  4. chris

    Hi Suze, I am in my late 30s and have lost so much value in my 401k. I am invested aggressively in stocks. Should I leave the money in the stocks and "ride it out"? Or, should I consider moving the money that is left around? A lot a analysts say that, in time, we will gain the value back – do you agree?

    January 23, 2009 at 9:57 pm |
  5. Juanita

    Is it time to refinance? If so, should I refinance at 5% (27 years) or keep my 6% for a remaining 12 years (Mortgage Balance of 79,000.00.)

    Reason : To lower my monthly payments

    January 23, 2009 at 9:56 pm |
  6. Kitty Singh

    Hi Suze,

    I have 2 questions.

    1. I am getting $1000 a month from my x husb for 3 years. How do I invest in the $1000. (i already have a 401, ira, money market and cd)

    2. My x husb and I still own a home together and I want my name off the house. The mtge co. will not refinance to remove my name. What do I have to do to remove my name. ( I dont want my credit ruined due to my x-husb bad money habits).

    I really need your help in these 2 areas.

    thank you

    Kitty

    January 23, 2009 at 9:53 pm |
  7. Marie

    If you have unsecured credit card debt and lose your job and are unable to make the payments what is the worst that is going to happen to you?

    January 23, 2009 at 9:52 pm |
  8. richie bohan

    hi suzie, i recently inherited 1000 shares in elan, they are currently worth 5.60 euros (im in ireland) they were worht 23 euro in aug. will they bounce back or should i sell

    January 23, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  9. CaseyJ - Palm Springs, CA!!

    Hey Suze!
    I have an inherited IRA which required mandatory withdrawals until this year. (I had planned on the withdrawal, so I took one anyway t his month.) Why the change and what else is up with IRAs that has changed in the past year? Are these permanent changes or is it just going to be a roller coaster of changes from here on out?

    January 23, 2009 at 9:33 pm |
  10. bert

    I am 50 years old and terminally ill. I have private student loans. I am not able to pay these loans. I was granted a 6 month forbearance. Is there anyway to discharge these private student loans. If so I need the name of a lawyer who can help me. No one i have talked to seems to have a answer. thank you

    January 23, 2009 at 8:42 pm |
  11. Vincent

    Hi Suze, thank you SO MUCH for your time. I am 29 years old. I only have $5k in my 401k. My company matches dollar for dollar up to 6%. I stopped contributing, however, because I have 24k in credit card debt, all on one card at a 3.5% fixed rate until I pay it off. I am currently making roughly $800 payments per month. I am doing this instead of saving money (I have no emergency fund) or contributing to my 401k because I am afraid with the economy I might lose my job in banking this year. Am I doing anything wrong?

    January 23, 2009 at 8:29 pm |
  12. Don Hamilton

    Banks get bailouts. Now Citibank and others are raising interest rates by 5 to 9% on people that have no late payments and have credit scores over 700. Why no news coverage? Any help available from anyone? No consumer rights for sure.

    January 23, 2009 at 8:10 pm |
  13. Denise Gonzales

    Hi Suze,

    I have read 3 of your books. I have one charge account open (2700) and started paying more than the monthly payment to close it. Do you think this is a good idea? The reason why I ask is because my credit score is low and I want to show timely payment to get my score higher. I changed my W4 to married and 2 just this year but with that extra money i get back,should I save for a down payment on house or just pay the remainder of my balance?

    Thank you for your help. I love your books and your show.

    Denise
    San Antonio, TX

    January 23, 2009 at 8:04 pm |
  14. Susanne

    How do you feel about debt settlement companies like Credit Solutions? My husband and I have great credit, own a home, pay bills on time, etc. But we have $16,000 in credit card debt that we pay at least $600 a month to and anything extra but the balance isn't going down. We want to open up retirement accounts but we are waiting for the credit card debt to go away. Its really holding us back. We are considering using a debt settlement company but we are afraid since we see a lot of mixed reviews.

    January 23, 2009 at 7:57 pm |
  15. gary murphy

    The government should give individual tax payers $300,000.00 as part of the stimulus package and less to individuals and banks. The premise for this is that people will immediately buy things such as cars, boats, computers build or remodel a house etc... This type of money in people's hands will immediately make an impact. Manufacturers will have to immediately hire people to make the products and retail stores will have to hire more people to sell the items.

    The government can give money to businesses and banks but if people do not have the money to spend this will do not good. This large individual stimulus will get people back working again and save businesses.

    Thank You,

    Gary Murphy
    Las Vegas, NV

    January 23, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  16. Nick

    My wife and I are in our mid twenties and are thinking of buying our first home. We are currently renting. The only debt we have is $4000 in student loans. We have about 5% for a down payment on an average home on Long Island. Should we buy now while interest rates are low, or wait another year or so to save for a larger down payment and pay off our student loans?

    January 23, 2009 at 7:53 pm |
  17. Darla

    Suze
    My mother is 70 years old and needs help protecting her assests. She has went to a few attorneys for help and each one has a different answer and are more concerned with charging her outrageous amounts of money and nothing is protected. Her house is paid for and she has some money in a cd. She wants to protect her assests from nursing homes, lawsuits etc. and then pass the assests to her adult children. please please help she is to the point of giving up.

    January 23, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  18. Romayne

    Hi Suze:
    I applied for a term life insurance through SelectQuote. I went through the enter process and was approved with ReliaStar Life Insurance Co. of NY (ING). They issued me a Renewable and Convertible Indeterminate Premium Term-Life Insurance Policy Non-Participating. The term of the insurance is for 20 years. I am now 40 years old. I have to pay $995 annually with an optional rider for both my children (8 yrs. and 12 yrs. old). I have held my payment because I am a bit nervous whether or not this is the right kind of insurance for me. I am not sure what the title " Renewable and Convertible Indeterminate Premium Term-Life Insurance Policy Non-Participating" means.

    I was told that after the 20 years I can renew at $45K on the 21st year of the policy and this premium increases each year thereafter.

    Is this a good deal? What fine print should I look for in this policy? Please advise.

    Thank you very much.

    January 23, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  19. G

    Hi Suze,
    I am a 50 year old single woman who will be aquiring a great deal of money (50mil) in the near future. Other than hiring my father's a financial adviser and an attorney, what steps would you take in keeping the money safe? Stock market, Treasury and Municipal Bonds, etc confuse the heck out of me. I'm thinking, putting the majority of it in Gold (London Good Delivery Bars and yes they would be in a vault in an establishment) and a portion of it in income property (Apartment buildings or homes near universities).
    What are your views?

    January 23, 2009 at 7:09 pm |
  20. Kim

    My question involves the TARP funds given to the various banking institutions. I am wondering whether banking institutions are subject to the guidelines under the Freedom of Information Act since they have received taxpayer dollars. While I know many FOI requests have been made to the Treasury Dept, I am wondering whether these same FOI requests could be submitted to those banks who received funds.

    Trying to figure out where all the money went is of course my reason for asking this question.

    Thanks.

    January 23, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  21. jesse holloway

    Suze

    I have saved a few thousand dollars and want to open a roth ira. Who can I open an account with and where should I put my money for a long term investment with low fees?

    January 23, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  22. Shirley

    Suze, I enjoy immensely your show every Saturday.
    Somehow, though I feel a little disconnected from everyone else who participate in your show. They have pursued their educational background and became employees and have saved all their lives.
    My life has not followed the regular route; meaning after graduation from college, I did not pursue what I studied. Instead, I pursued my inclination to be self-employed. I became an entrepreneur. I struggled through all the years. I actually still am struggling. Before the financial debacle, I started to reap the fruits of the many years of sacrifice. And now, I have to wait until things change.
    I am in the business of special events where people and companies celebrate. Everything is on hold.
    What do you think? When do you think things will turn around?
    I am so very glad that with the new and fresh outlook of people at the helm in the new administration, things are looking brighter, even if at least in spirit.

    January 23, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  23. Nan

    I am about to become the DPOA/fiduciary for my nearly 90 year old father, who is developing dementia, but is otherwise healthy. His portfolio lost approximately one fifth of its value in the year 2008. I am concerned that if I do not find a way to preserve the wealth he has remaining, he will outlive his resources. Would it be appropriate to liquidate some or all of his investment portfolio? What would be the safest thing to do with his money?

    January 23, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  24. Betty

    Dear Suze,

    I am a 70-year old widow. In March, 2008 I purchased a home in the State of Delaware for $224,000. I paid $40,000 down & got a mortgage for $181.000 at a rate of 6.64%. I am currently paying $1144.75 monthly for my mortgage. In October of 2008 I sold my house in Pennsylvania for $195.000. He paid me $100,000 in cash. I put that $100,000 on my mortgage bringing the amount owed down to around $93,000. I hold the gentlemen's mortgage for $95,000 and he is paying me $600 a month for principal & interest for 10 years with a balloon payment of $75,000 at the end of 10 years. I now want to look into refiancing. I get $13,000 from Social Security per mo., I have assets of approx. $85,000 and some stocks in the market (used to be worth around $40,000). I have a very low income and don't know whether or not I can even be refinanced. I have a credit rating of 790 and 2 credit cards I pay off monthly. Do you think refinancing is the way to go?

    Thanks for your advice

    January 23, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  25. Brenda Taylor

    I HAVE A STRUCTERED SETTLEMEN ANNUITY OF 3 MILLION DOLLARS TO BE PAID OVER MY LIFETIME.IT AMOUNTS TO 16,500 PER MONTH.I GET PAID BY TWO INSURANCE COMPANIES ALLSTATE & PRUDENTIAL. SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT RECIEVING MY PAYMENTS? ARE THESE COMPANIES STRONG? AND WHAT TYPE OF INSURANCE DO I HAVE SINCE THIS IS NOT COVERED BY FDIC?

    January 23, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  26. Beckie - Michigan

    Ms. Orman – Although I have alot of credit card debt, I am current with all payments. I have received notices from 4-5 credti card companies over the last 2-3 weeks stating they are increasing my interest rate because my accounts "are not profitable". I can't pay off the balances in full at this time. My question – SHOULD I OPT OUT OF THESE CARDS OR ACCEPT THE INTEREST RATE INCREASE? I'm concerned closing my accounts will affect my credit rating. I have a fairly decent score – 690.

    Thank you

    January 23, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  27. Jenny

    Would you please tell me the difference between a Roth IRA and a Roth 401(k). Which is the better option? I am at least 20 years away from retirement.

    January 23, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  28. Michael Mountford

    I am thinking of buying the Diamonds units as the Dow Jones is so low and the yield on the units is now 3.64%. I am counting on the market to recover (slowly) but when it does the index will reward me well. What do you think?

    Thanks.

    January 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  29. robin

    My husband and myself at one time had about 6 months worth
    of emergancy funds advailable. He lost his job for 20 manths and I was able to keep us afloat. He has been working now for 6 months
    with a reduce in salary and I am having trouble getting a saving built
    back-up, should I reduce my 401k deduction and place the extra money in saving?

    Thnak You

    January 23, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  30. Bernie

    Hi Suze,
    My husband and I took an home equity loan 2 years ago to have a home upgrade for rental. We took more than what we need so we can put a down payment on another investment property which did not pull through. The money is on CD. Should we use it to pay off our original mortgage balance of $80,000?I am greatly affected with the recession , I lost $23,000 from my diversified retirement annuity investment last year. I am only 61 years, and I am afraid nothing will be left for my retirement. My husband and I are still working and is planning to retire in 2 years. What is your advice? Thank you

    January 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  31. jef

    my mom has 2 residences-one in new jersey and one in florida- -she is going to leave the houses-1 to one daughter- the other to the other daughter–was told to have enhanced life estate deed to avoid probate-when we went to the attorneys office- we were told that there is a quit claim deed-and a warranty deed-which is better- and are they the same as an enchanced life estate /lady bird deed?

    January 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  32. Faith

    Dear Suze,

    My husband and I are about retirement age. We have a$60,000 CD coming due next week. What do we do with the money?

    January 23, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  33. William

    Hello Suze!

    My wife and I currently rent , but we dream of owning our own home. I know you always recommend paying off credit cards, Suze, but the highest interest rate we pay on our three cards is 3.9%-fixed for the life of the cards. With such low rates, it is better for us to pay down the cards (the balances are high due to student loans, not personal purchases) or just pay the minimum and put the extra money away toward a down payment. We are very disciplined savers so we would not touch the extra $$. Currently we have about 2 months worth of bills in an emergency fund, so the extra "stash" would serve two purposes.

    Whaddaya think???

    (If it matters, we were not citizens when we attended school here, so we were unable to qualify for standard student loans. The CC's were our only option).

    Thank you!

    January 23, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  34. colleen

    Hi Suzy and Anderson,

    I was wondering where you reccomend I sell my old gold and silver jewelry, what do you think about those places you send gold to on tv commercials and on the internet or do you reccomend going to a jeweler locally? Where will I get the most money? Its just old stuff I don't wear anymore from old boyfriends getting tarnished in my jewelry box, I'll use the money to support my Starbucks habit instead of my husbands hard earned money.

    Thanks and take care
    Colleen from Little Rock

    January 23, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  35. Peggy A. Yazvac

    Suze,
    Is 62 years of age to old to purchase a home?
    I make $50,683 a year in salary.
    I know I can afford a mortgage of $130 after putting $20 down.
    I appreciate your advice girl friend.
    Peggy

    January 23, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  36. Jeff Heidrick

    Suze,

    My wife and I love your show! Thank you for what you do! We want to take advantage of the low interest rates and upgrade to a nicer home. I have a good job with a good company (my wife stays at home with our children); we have no credit card debt, money in savings, and an excellent credit rating. I contribute 6.5% of my salary to my 401k to receive the full match. In these economic times and given our situation, what percentage of take home pay should go towards a mortgage? Thanks again.

    January 23, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  37. Donnie Wilsey

    hi Suze, im 20 years old and from Amsterdam, NY. First id like to say that i bought your book and it is very helpful, you may even say its a life saver. So heres my reason for this e- mail.. i worked at Wal Mart and had to leave my job in August, because they could not transfer me. i needed a transfer because im now in college. the college is probably 45 minutes to an hour away. Since September, ive been trying to find another job, but it is really difficult to do so right now, as you would imagine. I have filled out maybe 10 applications to various places around. I have some bills, but no major ones, its car insurance at $80 per month, a cc with a balance of $180, being paid off hopefully very soon, and a cell phone at $45 a month. I always pay more than the minimum due. the minimum is $20 and i always pay between $30 and $50 a month. i work at the schools work study program, but it only pays $6.55 an hour, which equals about $180 every 2 weeks. so what im trying to ask is, how would you recommend me trying to get a job? what should i do to try and convince enployers to give me a "really needed" job? what should i do to try and get employers to see what a good employee i would be? thanks for any advice you could give me and i look forward to your show on Saturday nights.

    January 23, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  38. Betty - Oklahoma

    i am in my late 40's and hope to retire at age 55. I have no debt and had a good savings in my 401K in diversified bonds/stocks. Unfortunately most of it went down in value approximately 40% in the last year. Should i continue adding to my 401k (with minimal matching) – if so – what should i invest in?

    January 23, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  39. Steve Hooser

    Do you think it would be a good idea if part of President Obama's stimulus package would be to give out stimulus gift cards which could only be used to buy products.

    Instead of giving out stimulus checks, which we have already learned do not create the desired stimulus effect because of the small percentage of the stimulus checks dollars that are actually used to buy products which is what is needed for stimulating the economy.

    Also, stimulus gift cards could offer the ability to track where the money is being spent.

    January 23, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  40. ivette santiago

    My husband had over $55,000 on his 401k plan, it lost almost 11,000 in 4 months. My question is should we leave the money in there and see if it recovers or should we take some money out and put it in a Money market account? Also we want to buy a house soon and were thinking about tapping the 401k for that. Please advice... Thanks so much...

    January 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  41. Angela

    I am 50 years old and have a great job. I am married, have no credit card debt, a small savings account at a bank, 9000.00 in an 401K which I do not want to touch at all. But I do want to open an Roth IRA for long-term investment. Which is the best possible fund I can buy at this point and how much a month should I contribute? Thanks. Suze.

    January 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  42. Bayla Greenspoon, Mt. Shasta, CA

    Suzi,
    I am 59 and have $150,000 in a 401K. You talk often about taking the 4 out if you need it in 3 years or leaving it in if you you don't need it for 10 years or more. I am in between that range so what do you recommend for those of us in between?

    Thanks so much!
    Bayla

    January 23, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  43. keri

    Suze, I left out of my previous post that I was trying to refinance to get a lower interest rate.

    January 23, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  44. keri

    Suze, I have a 30 yr fixed mortgage at 6.25%. I have a credit score of 780, own my car, one credit card which I pay in full each month, no debt at all except for my mortgage, 250K in investments which is available to use, over 350k in 401k. Salary of 40k per year.

    I was declined because they said I did not have enough assets. Is this the norm now?

    It almost seems the lenders are going to the extreme in caution.

    January 23, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  45. Warren K.

    Ms. Orman:

    Aloha from Hawaii.

    I’ve been heeding your advice to build up an eight-month emergency fund. Said fund is seeing great progress.

    After I’ve paid all bills and have contributed to my eight-month fund, there’s a bit of remaining cash each month. What choice among the following three would prove the most sound:

    a) place remaining cash into my eight-month emergency fund so as to reach my goal faster

    b) place more toward my credit card debt so as to pay off my debt faster or

    c) place more into my 401k plan to better my cost average during this down stock market?

    I should note that each month I pay double the minimum amount due on my credit card and my balance due (which isn’t substantial) is 20% of my credit limit.

    January 23, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  46. Suzanne Merriman

    Are fixed annuities with Lincoln National and AIG safe now? Are annuitized fixed annuities safe? If not, should I pull the money, pay the tax man, and open a CD? Thank you!

    January 23, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  47. Patsy Anne

    Husband is planning to divorce me in a couple of years. We have a long-term marriage (over 25 yrs.) I believe he is hiding money away to keep it from me in the settlement. Is there a place he can keep money from me (i.e., 529 college fund for our sons)?

    January 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  48. Heather N.

    My husband and I are in the process of buying our first house and will be closing in two weeks. And we have done this right – we got a 4.5% rate on the mortgage, and our monthly payment will only be about $70 more than we pay in rent now. Initially, part of our down payment was going to be coming from cashing in some mutual funds that I have, which last year, were worth $8000. They are now worth $4000 – surprise. We can get the entire down payment money for our new home elsewhere, but then we have nothing to fall back on, except for the amount in the mutual funds. Should we leave the mutual funds alone, hoping they will be worth a little more soon, or cash them in and use them toward the down payment of our home? We are in our late 30's, with a young child.

    January 23, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  49. joyce bristow

    Would I do better getting a home equity loan for $50.000 and paying off all my debts (credit cards) and making one monthly payment with a 5.9% interest rate or just plowing along making several monthly payment debts. This would leave me one bill left, a home mortage payment. I have 687 credit rating.
    Please advise.

    January 23, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  50. Lilibeth

    I told my friend about your advice to have an emergency fund that will cover 8-12 months of expenses, which I think is good advice. When she heard this, she couldn’t believe it. She said she has 2 kids, a mortgage and other bills to pay, and wanted to know how someone like her can save to have an emergency fund, especially in this economy.

    Thanks,
    Lilibeth
    Edmonds, Washington

    January 23, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
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