Confessions of a Personal Finance Guru

Suze Orman set off quite a stir a few months ago in a New York Times interview. Although some folks were all atwitter to find out she was gay, what really had people in the personal finance world talking was the fact that the most successful personal finance writer in the country had the bulk of her $25 million portfolio in conservative municipal bonds, with only about $1 million invested in the stock market.

My buddy Chuck Jaffe, a MarketWatch columnist and not exactly a Suze fan, had a particularly good time that little factoid. Chuck has often criticized Suze's advice as too conservative, and her lack of personal exposure to the stock market confirmed his suspicions that she was out of touch with the needs of everyday people. "In short," he thundered, "the person being trusted as everyone's financial adviser has a portfolio that few people could live with."

I think Suze should be allowed to invest any way she wants to, but the whole kerfluffle points up an irony of personal finance columnizing: the more successful we pundits are, the less our lives resemble those of the majority of our readers.

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