Suze Orman: Why the Recession Is a Good Thing

Young people 'have it so great it's not even funny.'


Right now, they have it so great it's not even funny.

Really? What do you mean?

If the economy kept running the way it was, you guys would have been broke for the rest of your life. Real estate was going up and up. You would never have qualified for real estate, and companies were shipping jobs offshore. So where were you going to get a job? The price of tuition was so high [that graduates] owed $150,000 in student loans. The price of milk and other prices were so off the charts. What were you people going to do? The stock market was at 14,000, so every time you put money into your 401(k), you bought less and less shares.

So the financial crisis is a good thing.

This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to youth. It gave you a wake-up call that your parents were living infinancial la-la land. They were just trying to impress everybody with money they didn't have. Your parents and grandparents were trying to keep up with the Joneses without having a clue that the Joneses had $50,000 in credit card debt, and that's why they could afford a third home.

When will we recover from the current crisis?

I've gone on record that the year is 2015. What do I mean by that? We may come out of recession this year or next, but that doesn't mean we won't go right back into it a year or two later. We might see the stock market go up 30, 40 percent. That doesn't mean it won't go right back down. We may need help for longer than we think.

It will take a long time for the ship to turn around. When that boat finally turns around, the people in the back will have solutions to their problems. They can take care of their parents, they can take care of their kids, and they can take care of themselves. They are out of credit card debt and can afford a home and can get a job again when they want one.

It's not over when people simply say we're out of recession. Tell that to somebody who can't get a job and is underwater in their home. [The recession will be over] when there is hope for every class in America. Not just the upper and the middle but the lower class as well. Then Suze Orman will say this economy has turned around. The TV will spin it that it is turned around and hope that you will spend money. Do not listen when other people tell you your personal financial situation is OK. When normal human beings feel hope again, then Suze Orman will say this is complete. I don't think that happens until 2015.

Most of your money is in bonds, not the stock market. Is that a good strategy for everyone to follow?

I'm 58 years of age in June, girlfriend. I'm not looking for growth in my money. I just want my money to stay safe and sound. However, if you have 30, 35 years until retirement, then are you out of your mind? You should be dollar-cost averaging into those markets, assuming you have an emergency fund. What do you care if you had $50,000 in your 401(k) and now it's at $25,000? It's money you couldn't touch anyway. Thirty years from now, you will never remember that it went down 50 percent last year. You're not going to remember, and who cares? However, if you were one year away from retirement or if you needed that money in a few years, then you never belonged in the stock market to begin with.