- Suze Orman is a faux financial analyst who was pushed on the public by major media entities.
- We cover the similarity between Suze Orman and how bad ideas are brought to enterprise software information consumers.
This article covers the financial advisor Suze Orman. Orman is one of the most popular public givers of financial advice in the US. This article shows the parallels between Suze Orman and the prominent voices in the enterprise software space. Most people reading this article are interested in enterprise software, not Suze Orman. However, Suze Orman creates an important parallel for how false information is presented to people that work in IT.
Our References for This Article
If you want to see our references for this article and related Brightwork articles, see this link.
The Documentary into Suze Orman
Large media entities have pushed Suze Orman onto the US public for several decades. However, none of them have performed an expose on Suze Orman’s long history of deception. I found this documentary, and while I know Suze Orman was not a legitimate source of financial advice, and always found her banal, and I really barely thought of her at all. However, I was not aware of most of the things presented in this documentary.
Here are my observations from this video — and they are shocking.
Suze Orman’s Claim Creating a Credit History with a Debit Card?
How do you create credit with a debit card?
It is a debit.
There is no credit, thus no credit history. She also had no agreement from TransUnion that her debit card would create a credit score. So she introduced the card under the idea that TransUnion would look at it as a possibility.
I would love to have been a fly on the wall after they got off the phone with TransUnion. Then in the final letter to consumers, they finally admit that debit cards do not create credit. Then Suze shuts down the card and keeps some of the money. Amazing.
Supporting the Unregulated Tyranny of the FICO Credit Score?
She states that credit scores are used for employment determination. Ok. So then will the credit bureaus submit to government regulation? We have this corporate-controlled opaque scoring system that metastasized beyond its initial purpose and profoundly affected people’s lives. However, it has no government oversight, no defense against errors, and reports to no one.
Who voted that this scoring was going to be used this way?
As for the partnership with the FDIC, did the government not research Suze Orman before partnering? She needs to be prosecuted by the government, not partners with the government. And why do I need a private website to tell me the nature of depository insurance?
Isn’t that on the FDIC website?
The FDIC is a federally funded depository insurance program. Why do people need to pay again to “find out information” about the federally funded program?
Are you interested in knowing how FDIC insurance works and how you are protected if you have a US bank account? The FDIC Director showed in the video did not know that this information is published on their website’s home page. I was able to find this because of my immense research skills.
Giving Away the Secrets to my Research Magic
I will let you in on my secret. I typed in “FDIC insurance” into Google and then clicked the first link that came up.
This is, of course, the problem with naming political appointees to run agencies. They often don’t know what is on the agency’s website.
Incompetent Media Entities
Look who is endorsing her…Oprah, Tavis Smiley, Arianna Huffington. These are all influential individuals with large followings.
And that is the tip of the iceberg in terms of media entities that promoted her. She was a fixture on nearly all of the major news networks and countless print outlets. The media outlets that critiqued her Approved Debit Card should be given credit for telling their readers that the card was a terrible value.
These people don’t bother researching before presenting scam artists to their audience. And why is Elizabeth Warren (US Senator and ex-US presidential candidate) sharing a stage with her? How can you say you are about consumer financial protection, and then share the stage with a scammer — who doubles back within 10 seconds of saying she did not teach a course at the University of Phoenix, (This is a university which is notorious for lying its students to large student loans) then saying you did teach there or offer a course there but under certain circumstances.
Walk off the stage Elizabeth.
How Difficult Would It Have Been to Validate Suze Ormon’s Domain Expertise?
It would not have been difficult to validate Suze Orman’s history.
- Education or Professional Training: She has no credentials or education in finance or even business. Why would a woman interested in advising others in finance have no history of studying finance of any kind?
- Predictive Accuracy: She has a long history of making predictions that do not come true.
- Honesty and Financial Bias: She has financial conflicts all over the place.
- Consistency: It is easy to find contradictory statements in her various video interviews and articles as they are all public.
Why didn’t any of these easily findable items prompt media entities to think twice before presenting her before large audiences?
Similarities to Enterprise Software
This is a video from SAPPHIRE NOW, which was a SAPs online conference due to Coronavirus.
This video is filled with lies, and the presenters are entirely unconcerned with accuracy. As a consultant with two decades of experience on SAP projects and as a researcher who is in contact with many SAP projects globally — I can attest that none of the things said about SAP’s software in this video are true. Secondly, like Suze Orman, most of these people are not qualified to be making these statements. As just one example, Christian Klein, the CEO of SAP, is an ex-controller who has zero technology background and has never been on an SAP project in his life. Why would anyone listen to an accountant about technology?
Stoking the Hype Train
Virtually any senior employee who works for SAP or Oracle, or other major IT entities, receives uncritical coverage on the IT media part. This is a similar issue with the coverage of the general media of Suze Orman. Suze Orman developed several highly troublesome financial conflicts as her fame grew (with FICO, Elizabeth Warren, the FDIC).
In every case, her treatment of the entity she had the conflict with and their treatment reflected that financial conflict. However, I did not find out about these conflicts from a major media entity — instead, I found them from smaller sources.
Exposing One’s Own Lack of Quality Control?
Would any of these major media entities that have been pushing Suze Orman onto their audience for several decades do an expose on Suze Orman?
Will Oprah do this expose and expose their lack of quality control?
Oprah called Suze Orman a trusted source of billions. Is that true? I think most of her appeal is limited to the US. However, Oprah and her team did not analyze Suze Orman’s background or advice with all of that trust. And it was not only Oprah. I found other media entities presenting Suze Orman as the “world’s leading finance expert.”
Leading is a problematic term. It can’t really be validated — and it essentially roughly translates into the most popular. Is Suze Orman the world’s most knowledgable financial expert? Clearly not. Is she the most popular? Perhaps. But The Rock is the world’s most popular actor. Is he the best actor?
Setting Unrealistic Expectations For Major Media?
I am fully aware that Oprah and news anchors cannot perform research. However, CNN or Oprah, or Forbes, are supposed to hire behind-the-scenes researchers to check things before they are put on the air. Now it appears they were not interested in doing that work. And this is not a problem only for source verification of people like Suze Orman. Major US news outlets do not appear capable of doing any numerical analysis at all.
The pattern seems to go like this.
- Anecdotal claims are made.
- A person is brought on to explain the anecdote without any disclosure about that person’s connections or things that might bias them.
- The outlet with enormous financial resources does not bother to place the anecdote within a larger numerical or statistical context.
- The short segment length works against providing additional context.
- The viewer is left thinking that the anecdote is far more representative than it is in reality.
Forbes loves Suze Orman. Forbes rates her at #61 in something. At what. I don’t know. It does not say. The Forbes website is now so filled with pop-up ads that insult the intelligence that it slows my browser and me to get off the site as quickly as possible. If I want to read articles that authors have paid Forbes to run, I check what PR corporations want to be published.
Media Outlets as Promotional Outlets for Corporations
The vast majority of media entities do not challenge and are not analyzing what they are being told. They instead seem willing to promote virtually any huckster and do not contradict these people, particularly if they are prominent. For example, Brightwork was the only information outlet to cover the fact that Hasso Plattner of SAP had an honorary Ph.D. that he was passing off as an academic or “real” Ph.D. I cover this topic in the article Does SAP’s Hasso Plattner Have a Ph.D.? Hasso Plattner has a multi-decade history of lying about virtually every subject on which he wrote or spoke. I would put him in the same category as Suze Orman in terms of his ethics and accuracy, yet no other information source covering enterprise software seemed to notice.
Hasso was relentlessly promoted in the IT media. Yet if you checked what Hasso said versus the reality of SAP projects, none of it was true. And IT media could not have cared less.
And like Hasso Plattner, Suze Orman also claimed degrees that she did not have to bolster her credibility. A person who lies about their academic credentials will lie about anything. Because this is an entirely black and white issue, and it is also an easily checked assertion. However, I was told lying about credentials is not a problem at all by one SAP resource It’s Official, If You Work for SAP, It’s Ok to Lie About Having a Ph.D. So apparently, I am off base on this issue. This caused me to briefly add both a Ph.D. and two Nobel Prizes (one for Chemistry and one for Astrophysics) to my LinkedIn profile — for a day, and to prove a point.
Speaking of honorary doctorates, the University of Illinois demonstrated its “integrity” by conferring an honorary doctorate on Suze Orman. It seems the honorary doctorate is now an indicator of who not to listen to. Oprah has four of them.
If media entities don’t care about who they present to readers and viewers. They use a person’s wealth or position in a company to determine if they are a reliable source, rather than putting the work in and having the domain expertise to themselves verify statements, then “Suze Orman’s” and “Hasso Plattner’s” will continue infinitely into the future.
The Importance of Building Up the All-Powerful Central Figure
Setting up scams often involves an exaggerated central figure. With SAP, it was Hasso Plattner. Hasso Plattner can barely write a coherent sentence and has few technical qualifications (the technical brains behind SAP were his cofounders, not Hasso). Still, he was built up into a demigod by SAP’s marketing and PR combined with countless SAP consulting firms’ marketing and PR.
In this case of extreme fraud, the central figure is Dr. Henry Jones. Did he have a Ph.D.? I will let you guess that on your own.
This central figure is standard has several fake things made up about him. There are a series of “repeaters” or heralds who promote the central figure. Scams work off of this, as do cults. The central figure is always said to have “special powers.” This was done to both Suze Orman and Hasso Plattner.
Notice the earlier claims that..
Billions rely on her advice
and she is..
The World’s Leading Financial Expert
My Personal Experience with How Individuals are Presented to Me
I have witnessed this same type of thing when being introduced to different individuals. I am told they graduated from Harvard or are very wealthy or have a Ph.D. These statements seem to be designed to get me not critically to analyze the individual’s statements. People who intend to scamming try to associate themselves with such an overwhelming reference that the person’s natural questioning power (which differs from person to person) is subdued.
Comments on Suze Orman from the Good Financials Article
I just watched Suze on a QVC program. She said, “The less you have, the more you need a revocable trust.” (In other words, you need to buy her estate planning kit.) What? If you don’t have much, can’t you use TOD (Transfer on Death), POD (Payable on Death), and beneficiary designations for life and retirement accounts? She also said “If you have a $200,000 home and it’s not in a trust it will cost you $200,000 in probate fees in California to settle the estate.” Really? That’s sounds awfully expensive to me. – Rick Mayhew
And this one.
Suze is a successful lesbian performer, who is primarily a song-and-dance man. Her advice is the Reader’s Digest equivalent of a real college textbook, made for the masses, much like Dr. Phil, and the pandering, walking infomercial of pseudo-information, Dr. Oz. These people attract foolish, mindless suckers and social misfits like flies to manure. They use the mass medium of television to spread out their nonsense across the landscape to their adoring fans, whose wallets get lighter by the minute. These hucksters are little different than the TV preachers who scream and cry, and beg for you to send your money to them for your eternal salvation. We’ll be right back after this message. – Paul Preston
When a husband mentioned that he is helping his wife pay off her student loans, Suze is thrilled and happy. But, when a wife mentioned that she is helping her husband pay off his student loans, Suze’s response is, “Don’t you dare help him pay his student loans!”
In addition, whenever a woman calls and complains about her husband, Suze first inclination is to bombast the husband by responding as follows:
– Divorce the bum.
– If you could go back, would you have married him? If you say yes, then you are lying to yourself.
– What? Your husband said he won’t help you pay off your credit cards? Is this the kind of man you want to be married to?