Saturday, March 26, 2011

Where There's A Will...

We've been watching, and following, Suze Orman for five or six years now. I get a big kick out of her "Suze Smackdowns" -- when she basically bitches out a person, or a couple, who is in lala land regarding their financial situation ("Are you KIDDING ME?!?!" she says a lot... love it). I know a certain couple who could use a Suze Smackdown... but that's another story.

Three years ago, when my husband's mother passed away, we used the inheritance to pay off all our outstanding debts - cars, student loans, credit cards, and (most importantly) the house, and opened the "emergency fund" Suze recommends (she says 8 months of living expenses; we had more than that). We've been debt-free ever since.

Anyway, besides the "Can I Afford It" segment (seriously, if you watch Suze's show, you should be able to figure out for yourself if you can afford it or not), my favorite is near the end: "How Am I Doing?" She goes over what debt you have (house, car, credit cards, student loans, etc) and what assets you have, then asks about Estate Planning, Retirement, etc, and figures out if you can retire early, take that anniversary trip, etc... whatever it is you're wanting long-term.

We had everything she recommends except the estate/family planning... and that bugged me. So, I have been pressuring Ace to go take care of this for the last year or so. We finally asked around, and took the suggestion of his attorney (my attorney's boss, also a friend of my mother's), and went to see a Will/Trust attorney, Leanne.

She was perfect -- professional with a hint of personalism -- and very thorough. We felt very comfortable going over all of our financials with her; figuring out how much the kids get (and how it's to be paid out), who gets custody (not as simple as you'd think, considering my & Princess's wishes are not what is the typical arrangement for split families), and our medical wants/wishes. She also told us (since, although we share finances, we don't share bank accounts) to open a joint, easy-access account, and she took care of all the paperwork to get my house changed over to our house.

Two meetings (and a chunk of change, so to speak) is all it took, but we're happy with the results. I know that if I were to call in to Suze's show and ask "Suze, How Am I Doing?", we'd definitely get an "A+"!


  1. Ok, I like Suze, but the one thing she did the other day pissed me the hell off - someone was asking if they could afford a $1000 purebred dog and she DIDN'T ADVISE THEM TO GO TO A SHELTER. Bad Suze.

    Yay for being debt free! I can't even imagine! Glad you gound a good planner. :)

  2. She did... at the end. Reminded people that it's "Can I Afford It?" not "Suze, Should I...?", but that if they had asked her for advice, she definitely would have told them to RESCUE!! :)