Smart Money 

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com November 16 2008 12:00 AM ET

Has there ever
been a time we’ve needed Suze Orman more? With
marriage changing the financial equation for thousands
of gay couples and the world economy teetering on
collapse, the money guru’s sage counsel has
become required reading, viewing, and listening.

Orman also knows
that holding on to one’s money is a defensive tactic
for gay men and lesbians. Looking like Queen Elizabeth
rallying her troops, she unleashed a financial call to
arms at the Human Rights Campaign’s national
dinner in October in Washington, D.C.

“Money
speaks volumes, people,” roared the 57-year-old as
she accepted the group’s National Equality
Award. “It speaks louder than you have any
idea. And for you and me and all of us to truly change
what’s going on in this world you have got to
be financially powerful. You cannot be in debt; you
cannot have financial bondage if you want to set yourselves
free.”

Orman had the
crowd in the palm of her hand, keeping them at attention
for almost 20 minutes. Her main point -- the same message
she expresses on her CNBC show; in her column in O,
The Oprah Magazine
; and in her eight
best-selling books -- was that when people don’t grab
the reins of their financial destiny, they allow
themselves to become victims.

 Suze Orman x100 (getty) | Advocate.com

Since coming out
of the closet in a February 2007 New York Times Magazine
article, Orman has continued to put her money -- her net
worth is estimated at over $30 million -- where her
mouth is. Most recently, she’s been working
with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., filming public
service announcements assuring depositors that their money
will be protected if their bank fails. She used her
relationship with the institution to convince FDIC
chair Sheila Bair to change rules regarding insurance
for certain trust accounts, in order to eliminate
discrimination against same-sex partners. Now a same-sex
partner named as the account holder’s
beneficiary will receive the same coverage as a legal
spouse or any other beneficiary.

“Will I
forever continue to fight for us?” Orman asked the
HRC audience. “You betcha I will.” And
you can take that promise to the bank: Orman has
offered her will-and-trust kit free to Advocate readers. Go
to suzeorman.com, click on the "Will
& Trust Kit" link in the left-hand navigation bar,
click on the orange gift code button, and enter "Advocate"
as the password. From there, follow the online instructions
to redeem and activate the free kit.