Smart Money

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com November 05 2008 1:00 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.

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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.