Whether she's onstage with Oprah or on the set of her own CNBC show, Suze Orman is a financial force to be reckoned with.
The no-nonsense money expert is constantly giving advice and helping others with their make sense of their savings, but what does Orman need help with?
We found out when we recently chatted with her and also got her to dish on everything from living within your means to Gay Pride, whether gays should move to states where they are legally allowed to be married, the crucial lesbian pop culture moment she missed out on and more.
The Huffington Post: If you could only give one piece of advice to someone, what would it be?
Suze Orman: Live below your means, but within your needs. With most people, the more money you make the more money you spend. From this day forward every time you are about to purchase something ask yourself “Is this a want or a need?” If it’s a want, don’t buy it. If it’s a need then you have to do it. If everything you spend money on this day forward is a need and not a want then you will have extra money, and if you can get as much enjoyment out of saving that you do as spending, then you will have more money.
Do young gay people ever ask for your advice?
Here's whats funny: More than the gay kids asking for advice, their parents talk to me. There are a lot of people in the media whose children happen to be gay, and they know I’m gay, and they really want to be supportive of their children, but their children haven’t told them yet, but the parents already know. “Suze, if i just connect you with my kid, could you talk with him, write with him, be with him, help them with this process of coming out?” More parents come to me than kids themselves.
Everyone looks to you for advice, what do you need help with? Is it cooking? Gardening?
I don’t care about the kitchen. KT [Kathy Travis, Orman's partner] loves to cook, I love to do dishes. That works perfectly. The one thing I do need help with is learning how to be a captain on a boat. Its really difficult to learn how to read the waters and how to go into foreign waters. I’m proud to say I am a self-sufficient woman. I am very, very self-sufficient in almost every single way, except I ask for help with my boat all the time.
Do you find that you have a large gay audience?
I think of myself as The Money Lady. Money crosses all races, all sexual preferences, all religions, tax brackets -- everything. So, I have a large audience of minorities, older people, 15 year olds, 20 year olds, gay people, but I have large audiences from every single sector. Being gay seems so natural to me, and so normal, it’s all I’ve ever been. I don’t see it as a big issue, I see it as my life.
You recently spoke about The Great Gay Migration, telling gay couples to move to and spend their money in states that recognized gay marriage. Do you still stand behind that?
KT is not for that, just so you know. I really think that it is really important that all of us support states that support us. I’m a Florida resident but I find it difficult to be a resident of a state that chances of it passing marriage equality is almost nil. The problem KT has with us leaving... It's the same reason when we lived in California, we really were California residents. You would be far better off taking your energy and rather than punishing the state of Florida, save the money you would save on state income tax from New York, and take the money, put it towards marriage equality in Florida. I think it's far better to change the laws than change your state. If DOMA is overturned, it will be a far easier change in states that are quite conservative, then if DOMA isn’t overturned. If DOMA isn’t overturned, then it doesn’t matter on any level -- it'll be such a loss. [Editor's Note: This interview was conducted before the recent Supreme Court rulings on DOMA.]
The clip of you on "The Piers Morgan Show," where you laid out why gay marriage is so important on a federal level, was a huge hit online. What were your thoughts about that show?
Well, the show started with someone from The Heritage Society and I didn’t know that it was going to start that way. I do think it’s equally bad for us to put those who don’t understand us down, as it is for them to put us down. I think change is built on mutual respect for one another and the ability to hear disagreements in an intelligent way and then coming to an informed opinion on how you think about something. It breaks my heart that as gay people we are expected to pay taxes, expected to be viable members of society, yet on the major important levels of life we are not recognized and in fact penalized. It feels great that the most listened to personal finance expert in the world today is gay and can go all over the world and talk about this.
Was there a moment you knew you were gay?
I knew I was gay when I had serious crushes on my girlfriends. We would all go out with boys. I went out with a boy who liked to double date and we would go out with a boy who liked to double date with a girl I had a crush on. What I really felt was the emotion and attraction to my girlfriends, it was effort when I had to go out with a guy.
Do you remember your first Pride event?
Obviously in San Francisco, back in the early '70s, the dykes on bikes and thinking, Wow! This is the greatest thing I’ve ever been to, and looking forward to that June 25th date or whatever it was every year and just loving it.
Have you ever been asked to be a grand marshall in a Pride parade?
I have been asked, not for a Pride parade, but I’ve been in the Chicago Thanksgiving parades and other events. If I was asked I would most certainly do it. I’m sure KT would love to do it with me. I love when gay people celebrate who they are. I don’t care if half of them are naked and the drag queens come out -- I think it’s fabulous. I think everyone should be able to be whoever they want to be and I just love every part of it. I love any expression of gayness. An expression of gayness is an expression of freedom and that is a God-given right. It’s a constitutional right to be free and say what you want to be.
As a public gay figure, what are your thoughts on gay celebrities and gay entertainment? Did you ever watch “The L Word?” What other gay celebrities do you love?
I've never seen “The L Word” once. Never even turned it on. I love watching Ellen. I get extreme pleasure watching her being Ellen every day. I always love watching the gay anchors on TV, when I know you’re gay, I love watching you do your thing because I know it took a little bit more for you to do what you’re doing than anybody else. I just love the fact that they did it.
Also on HuffPost:
Man Holds A 'We Are Your Children' Sign On Gay Freedom Day At The San Francisco Pride Parade - June 25, 1978
From The Back Of the Photograph - "That Infamous 'Drag' Quintette Photo (At A Fundrasier)." The People Are From Left To Right- Jim Kepner, Reverend Troy Perry, Morris Kight, Gerald Strickland And Dick Winters - 1971
Lesbian Clones At The Los Angeles Christopher Street West Pride Parade - 1982
Pat Rocco Outside His Cabin On Mount Baldy With A Friend - Undated
Food And Drug Administration Protest, Westwood - January 29, 1988
Block And J.J. Belanger Kissing In A Photo Booth. The Album Caption Reads - 'PGE Exhibition, Hastings Park.' - 1953
Two Women In Uniform Playing Softball, Kansas City - 1920-1935
Five Shirtless Men Pose At The Santa Monica Gymfest - September 1975
Gay Marriage Possibly Conducted By Edgar Sandifer - February 1983
Dikes On Bikes Leads The Procession At The Los Angeles Christopher Street West Pride Parade - 1978
Christine Jorgensen, The First Person In The World Widely Known To Have Gender Confirmation Surgery, Signs Her Biography After Speaking At ONE Incorporated - March 9, 1975
Carolyn Weathers And Denise Crippen Kissing On Driveway At Morton Avenue - October 1975
The Los Angeles Metro Queer Bus At The Los Angeles Christopher Street West Pride Parade - June 17, 2001
March On Washington, RuPaul - April 25, 1993
One Of The 'Fagots [sic] Stay Out' Signs That Instigated The Gay Liberation Front (GLF) Protests Against Barney's Beaner - 1969
Police Officers Holding Hands At The Los Angeles Christopher Street West Pride Parade - 1972
"Let Every Pansy Bloom!" Banner At The San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Pride Parade - June 25, 1978
Gay Couple, Possibly Students From The University Of Rochester, New York, Sip From The Same Drink While Holding Hands - June 1971
The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt Laid Out On The National Mall At The March On Washington For Lesbian, Gay, And Bi Equal Rights And Liberation - April 25, 1993
Harvey Milk Speaks At The Los Angeles Christopher Street West Pride Parade - 1978
Men Socialize By The Seashore In Cherry Grove - August 1952
Distributing Signs For The Human Rights Campaign Fund, 'End Discrimination - Lift The Military Ban' At The March On Washington - April 25, 1993
Dorothy Putnam With Unidentified Women, Possibly From The Beach House In Ocean Park - Undated
Man Holding A 'God Loves Fags' Sign At A Demonstration, Presumably At The March On Washington - 1993
Gay And Lesbian Couples Kissing At An Unknown Event - Undated
Families Marching In The Los Angeles Christopher Street West Pride Parade - 1982
Philadelphia Gay Wedding. This Photograph Was Part Of A Set That Was Deemed Inappropriate By A Photo Shop In Philadelphia And Never Returned To The Customer - 1957
Lesbians Kissing At The First Woman's Building - 1974
Crowd At The March On Washington - April 25, 1993
Lesbian Women Embrace At The Los Angeles Christopher Street West Pride Festival Gay Think Booth - June 1975
Line-Up At The Leather Sabbat Halloween Party - 1975
Two Shirtless Lovers Holding Hands Across A Table At The Gay Community Services Center (GCSC) Liberation House - 1971
Pat Rocco Relaxing On The Beach With A Friend - Undated
The Crowd Gathers On The National Mall For The First National March On Washington For Lesbian And Gay Rights - October 14, 1979
Gay Players Take Part In A Softball Game Between Los Angeles And San Francisco - 1982
Crowd Holds Hands At The Los Angeles Christopher Street West Pride Parade - 1971
Student Gay Liberation Front Members Give The Finger In Snow - February 1971
The King And Queen Of The Metropolitan Community Church's May Festival - 1971
Protesters Gather At The Stop Anita Demonstration At Hollywood High School - June 13, 1977
Crowd At The Pride Parade At The Civic Center In San Francisco - 1978
Ron Douglas (Left) And Jack Wilson Cut Their Wedding Cake At The Private Marriage Ceremony - 1970