Suze Orman's Webcast Transcript
Suze: You don't feel like that big of a thief, huh?
Jamie: And then when I started seeing them jacking their rates up to 32 percent to all of my friends, that just seemed like—isn't that usury?
Suze: I used to think that was usury. It obviously isn't. They all have the legal authority to do it. So see, Jackie—(sic)—
Oprah: I'm stunned by 32 percent.
Suze:—across the board everybody's paying 32 percent. I don't know why, again, and why we're not stepping in to do something about that is beyond me. But there you go. It's okay, Jackie, (sic) don't feel like a thief. Just—here's the thing. Most people who claim bankruptcy once claim it twice.
Jamie: Oh, no.
Suze: So you have to learn from this. And if you didn't learn from it, that's the shame.
Jamie: Oh, no, I—I'm good. I own my house. My car is paid for. I have absolutely no debt. And I'm never going there again.
Suze: You've got it, girlfriend. Good. All right. Thank you.
Oprah: Thanks, Jamie. Thanks, Jamie. Erin is Skyping in from Beijing, China. Hi there.
Oprah: What's your question? You're good with numbers.
Suze:I am not good with names.
Oprah: You're good with numbers.
Suze: But wait now I have to tell you—oh.
Erin: My question is about saving for college.
Oprah: Okay, good.
Erin: I have four sons—my husband and I have four sons. He's in the military, and each of our sons has a savings account that we put money in, the grandparents put money in every year and they're building up, but as far as actual college savings funds, we don't have specific ones for each son. We have—we invest about 20 percent or more of our income every month and it's diverse investments, and we put the maximum into the military's TSP program, so we're investing a lot but we didn't create the individual accounts because our financial adviser over 10 years ago told us, "Don't do individual accounts specifically for college for the kids because what if one kid wants to go to private school and one kid doesn't want to go to college at all and you've already put this money aside specifically for college? Then you're having problems."
Suze: How old are the children now? How old are your kids now?
Erin: The oldest one is 10 and the youngest one is 1 year.
Suze: All right. One year. So here is what I would suggest. I am assuming you have no credit card debt. Correct?
Suze: I'm assuming this you have a savings and emergency fund for yourself. Correct?
Suze: For all of them, because especially the 1-year-old, I would look into 529 plans, if you were you. I would dollar cost average into 529 plans. The number one website in the United States for 529 plans is run by a wonderful man by the name of Joseph Hurley. He's the nation's expert on 529 plans. Illinois has a wonderful plan by the way here. I don't know where you're calling from. But truthfully, go on SavingsforCollege.com and read about 529 plans. Pick your 529 plan from there and start dollar cost averaging into it. Now everybody, I want you to listen to me. There has been a change for 2009. The reason why I have an action plan for 2009 is things are changing in 2009 that have never been true before. Prior to 2009, if you had a 529 plan, you could only make one change a year in your 529. So in 2008, you put all the money in the stock market. Now the stock market starts to go down and you're scared to death, you can't make another change. In 2009, however, you now can make a change twice a year, which makes a 529 plan that much more attractive. Remember, however, with your older one, be very careful. He's only six or seven years away from college. That's not very long. So—so—till you need that money. For that one, I would probably be keeping my money, if it were in a 529, in a stable fund that is not in the market. The 1-year-old, however, fabulous. Dollar cost average into the stock market for that kid. Got it?
Erin: Okay. But what happens if one of the kids decides he doesn't want to go to college?
Suze: Then you can change it to another—you can change the 529's beneficiary to another one of your children. You have four kids.
Suze: You're not doing a prepaid plan. You're doing a 529 saving plan. So you can change the beneficiary to any one of your children, and you'll be okay.
Oprah: Also cute boys. Cute boys. We see them in the pictures behind your head. Cute boys.
Erin: Thank you.
Oprah: Very nice.
Suze: You noticed the boys and I noticed the flag.
Oprah: I noticed the flag, too, earlier and then I noticed the boys. She's in Beijing.
Suze: Beijing. I love Beijing.
Oprah: It's already tomorrow. Thank you so much. Thanks so much, Erin.
Erin: Thank you.
Suze: Thank you for the service that you do to the country.
Oprah: Micki is on Skype from her home office near Salem, Oregon. What's your question?
Micki: My. My brother-in-law announced last week that they are planning to get married in Ireland, and I have two children and my husband and I'm wondering how do the four of us pay to get over there? We're pretty frugal and we live paycheck to paycheck, and luckily we don't have any credit card deb,t but I don't know how to come up with $500 a month to save to make that trip worth it or do I just look into going into credit card debt for the trip or do I somehow tell them these—"I'm sorry, but we can't afford it" and do that without making it seem that their wedding's not important to us.
Suze: And how much do you think, Micki, it's going to cost you?
Micki: I think for the four of us it will cost about $8,000 and it's in the summer of 2010, so that's why I came up with $500 a month.
Suze: All right. Now how much do you have? You have two children. How much do you have—
Suze: —in a savings account?