My view and my motivation for the remarks regarding Suze Orman's advice
I expect that someone writing a Q&A column or taking calls on radio or TV has an obligation that is higher than the rigid "prudent man" standards that a lettered advisor should adhere to. Why? Well, the scale is much larger. An advisor seeing individual clients can only destroy so many portfolios (and destroy they can, with the wrong advice) but a public figure may have a readership in the millions or more. Suze had multiple best sellers, and the letters I've gotten say it's unfair for me to target specific questions and answers that I disagree with. I've never stated that she is not popular. Nor have I questioned how many books have hit the charts and stayed there. I do question how she responded to some individual questions and when I do, I cite both the question and answer with which I disagree. Matters of finance are not always black and white. There is a large grey area that needs to take into account ones comfort level with a particular investment, and with risk. To me the question regarding gold was simply answered incorrectly. The $2.5M couple's question falls into a grey area. Do you offer advice that adheres 100% to their question (i.e. "we want no risk to principal" therefore, not a penny goes into stocks?) or do you offer the advice that you claimed in a separate interview was a fundamental part of your investing philosophy, i.e. that stock beat everything else long term? Clearly, in the format of a column, Suze doesn't have the luxury of asking the series of questions sound financial planning would suggest. If the smallest portion of their money being in the stock market would disturb this couple, it wouldn't be wise to coerce them to do otherwise, and her advise becomes sound for their emotional, if not financial, circumstance. In their question they claim to need 2% yield to live on. Even setting aside 20 years worth of forecast needed money would allow a 40/60 mix of bonds and stock.
On other columnists;
I find the writers of many other financial columns to be so far off the mark that I don't even bother addressing them (because my intent for this site was not to be a forum for personal attacks), although in the future I may write specific columns which review their advice. And of course there are those whose writing is of such a general nature it doesn't attract my attention. So in the end my commentary on Suze's Q&A should be taken less as a personal attack, and more as the fact that I expect more from her. This isn't baseball where .400 is record setting, this is people's finances and their futures, I expect her to bat 1.000. JOE