Weekend Reading: Blocked By Suze Orman Edition

Weekend Reading: Blocked By Suze Orman Edition

No, I didn’t get blocked by Suze Orman. But respected journalist and consumer advocate Ellen Roseman did when she had the audacity to call out Suze on Twitter, saying, “giving advice made Suze Orman rich and famous, which makes it harder for her to offer advice to normal people anymore.”

Ellen tweeted in response to this article from A Wealth of Common Sense blogger Ben Carlson, who said Orman has lost touch with reality.

“Orman says she would never waste money on a daily coffee habit but she also owns a mansion on a private island in the Bahamas. And she claims to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to fly private each year.”

Orman clapped back immediately on Twitter, saying Ellen’s comment was, “the stupidest she’d ever read in her life.” Then Ellen got blocked by Suze Orman.

Indeed, taking advice from the rich and famous can be hazardous to your wealth. Whether that’s Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, Kevin O’Leary, Mark Cuban, etc., it’s easy to preach from a position of privilege. In the real world, people don’t have infinite dollars to buy a house, pay it off in five years, buy a car in cash, max out their retirement accounts, fill their emergency fund, and save for their kids’ education.

That’s because they’re busy trying to pay down student loans (or other debts), feed their growing families, fix their furnace or the transmission on their car, and pay for expensive childcare, all while trying to set aside a little bit for the future and still have a life in the present.

Orman is completely out of touch telling people that their daily coffee habit is like “peeing $1 million down the drain.” That’s one hell of a coffee addiction! She ridiculously estimates that a $100/month habit would turn into $1 million after 40 years, assuming a 12 percent annual return. That advice is stuck in the 90s along with the original Wealthy Barber and David Bach’s latte factor.

The advice is almost as bad as when an Australian real estate millionaire told Millennials to “stop buying avocado toast if they want to ever buy a house.”

A daily coffee is not going to ruin your retirement. Screwing up big decisions like buying too much home, having too long a commute to work, buying too much car, and not taking advantage of free matching dollars, and spending more than you earn will all hold you back more than any small indulgence.

Orman and company have dispensed a lot of good advice on budgeting and getting out of debt. But, as Carlson writes, “much of what they’re telling you now is more about entertainment than advice.”

This Week’s Recap:

On Thursday I wrote about how investors can control their urgency instinct. This is key to avoiding an emotional mistake when markets are falling or the world is seemingly in turmoil.

We continue to prepare for our vacation to Scotland and Ireland (less than two months away!) and one of the items on our checklist is to see if we can pause any subscriptions or services while we’re away for a month.

We were able to do that with my wife’s gym membership and also with our TELUS home internet and cable package. Pausing these services during our vacation will save us around $230 – not bad!

Next up we’re looking into phone and data plans. I’ve got a lead on a good mobile plan while travelling abroad, so once I investigate more and get it set up I’ll share what it’s all about.

Weekend Reading:

Blogger Alyssa Fischer is back to work after maternity leave and learning to fight the ‘mom guilt’.

Former deep-value investor Nelson Smith shares why he’s no longer trying to beat the market.

Disclosure rules have seemingly fixed the water heater rental business in Ontario. So why can’t the mutual fund industry do the same?

She quit her job and moved home to look after her ailing mother and father:

“I didn’t have parents anymore. I was the parent. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had. It’s also the best.”

Morgan Housel on why we’ll believe anything if the stakes are high enough.

My Own Advisor Mark Seed shares a reader story about Millennial housing struggles, saying it ain’t all avocado toast.

Rob Carrick on how raising the age for CPP and OAS to 67 would benefit the whole country.

90 percent of women will end up managing their own finances at some point. Here’s why women shouldn’t let a solo retirement catch them by surprise.

Nick Magguilli from Of Dollars And Data says investing is all about the will to survive. By avoiding the big mistakes that befall most investors, you can come out ahead in the long run.

CIBC economist Benjamin Tal says it’s time to rethink the mortgage stress test for homeowners. Why?

“Over the past two years, mortgage originations provided by [non-federally regulated] alternative lenders rose by a cumulative 27% while originations in the market as a whole fell by 11%,” estimates CIBC. That makes sub-prime the fastest growing segment of the mortgage market.

Finally, while a tragic fire ravaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, two billionaires stepped in to pledge €300 million for the restoration of the building. But does their generous and immediate response tell us something deeper about everyday tragedies around the world?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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  1. Dale Roberts on April 20, 2019 at 6:45 am

    That’s so funny. What a great headline. We certainly had some fun on Twitter with this, this week. And no one got hurt. Not even any feelings.

    Thanks, Robb

    Have a great weekend.

  2. Matt on April 20, 2019 at 7:23 am

    Looking forward to hearing if you found that great international data plan!

  3. DKH on April 20, 2019 at 7:46 am

    I keep seeing FIRE blogs recently ripping on the latte factor. I think the main point of the latte factor has been forgotten.
    Most people believe they cannot save money due to expenses and or what they deem as low income. The LF is an example of a place to start small with a daily/weekly/monthly bit of savings to be built on. Coffee was arbitrarily chosen. It could be the bagel factor, the beer factor, the iPhone payment factor, the National geographic subscription factor, or whatever. Suze is a moron and an incredible hypocrite, but the latte factor concept is relevant and helpful in shoring up leaky little daily to monthly spending.

    • Robb Engen on April 20, 2019 at 9:05 am

      No doubt the Latte Factor is about watching the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

      The issue is when you literally take aim at coffee, which is really a small indulgence that brings joy and is not destructive to your health or to your wallet. And then you extrapolate that daily habit into a far-fetched annual amount and multiply it by an unattainable investment return to paint a shocking picture of peeing $1 million down the drain.

      You’ll save far more by making wise decisions on the biggest ticket items in your life.

      A better target would be a truly ruinous habit like smoking, which is extremely expensive and harmful to your health.

      In summary, I’m all for plugging money leaks in your budget but you won’t find any coffee shaming in these blog pages.

  4. Kath Sudul on April 20, 2019 at 8:36 am

    She quit her job, not he quit his.
    Sonya is a woman : )

  5. Dave Dineen on April 20, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Robb – I suggest you go with a U.K. mobile service provider called giffgaff. My wife and I, my son and his wife all use it in Scotland and England. It uses the big, reliable O2 network, has no contracts, provides free SIM cards and has cheap plans from £6 a month, with phone calls to Canada at just 2 pence a minute (about 4 cents/minute). Free local calls throughout the U.K. & most of Europe. Check out giffgaff.com. Make sure you unlock your phone (free, if I’m not mistaken) before leaving Canada.

  6. Mike on April 20, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Happy holidays Rob. If you don’t plan on shutting off the power as you leave for your vacation because of the freezer, alarm etc, switch off your hot water at the panel. 50L tank maintained at 60C for a month is not good for your wallet or the environment!
    – I leave you to do the math.

  7. fbgcai on April 21, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    @ Robb – I used Tesco pre-paid service spring 2018 – worked great – 30 days, 10 Gb data, more minutes/texts than required – 15 euro – available at any Tesco store

  8. Alan on April 22, 2019 at 11:56 am

    For low cost mobile phone service in the European Union, we’ve used le French Mobile for several years. There are no roaming charges, you only pay for what you use, and your credit doesn’t expire. That we we keep our phone number from year to year. Since the UK will likely be in the EU for many more months, you should be okay!

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