Yesterday, my pal Paula Pant published a podcast interview with financial guru Suze Orman. Based on reader requests, Paula asked what Suze thought of the FIRE movement. (For those unfamiliar, FIRE is a a term used to talk about folks who have achieved financial independence or retired early.)
As it turns out, Suze Orman does not like the financial independence movement. In fact, she hates it. She hates it, she hates it, she hates it. Take a listen to this one-minute teaser:
In my little world — the world of financial bloggers — this interview has exploded like a bomb. While a lot of folks are focusing on the content of Suze's comments, what I find fascinating is what her comments represent.
“Why do you think Suze hates the FIRE movement?” somebody asked me last Thursday night. (A few of us knew this interview was coming, and we knew what was going to be said. We could guess what the audience reaction would be.)
“I think she feels threatened,” I said. “Suze represents not only the old financial media, but also the world of traditional financial advice. The FIRE movement is an organic thing, one that's being led by bloggers and podcasters and YouTubers. And a big part of our platform is that you can do this yourself, that you don't need help from the Suze Ormans of the world. You can invest your money, and you can do it without paying anyone for help.”
“Interesting,” one of my friends said. “Do you think anyone will hear this interview?”
“Are you kidding? Based on what I know, this interview is going to blow up. Not only will every FIRE blogger share it with their audience, but so will tons of regular money bloggers like me. I wouldn't be surprised if this interview doubled Paula's audience.”
I haven't listened to the interview yet — because, hilariously enough, I've been spending time with Paula here in Clearwater — but I'm dying to do so.
I'm willing to bet that Suze, who is a smart woman and actually has lots of great advice, makes some valid points in the interview. (Paula has been doing her best to defend her, I should add.) But man oh man, her attitude toward financial independence comes off as not only ignorant, but elitist. It's going to be very interesting to watch how this all plays out.