Suze Orman on her wife, her new show on OWN and financial advice for LGBT couples

Suze Orman has been a financial guru and television personality for more than a decade, but she’s only been out publicly since 2007. As a best selling author, TV host and friend of Oprah, Suze has managed to balance a successful career and personal life while staying out of tabloids or being known as what she refers to as “the money lesbian.”

On a conference call yesterday, Suze answered my question about whether we’ll ever see more of her private life, on OWN or in another venue.

Well, you know, the one reason that up until now that, you know, you haven’t seen a lot about my personal life is because I didn’t want anything to get in the trouble or in the way of money.

And I didn’t want people’s minds to be troubled by the fact that — you know, that I’m gay and I’ve been with [her wife] KT now for 11 years. So I always wanted to be known as the Money Lady, not, you know, the Money Lesbian.

But with that said, I’m always very open on my own show. When somebody asks a question I always talk about KT. And so I never try to hide any of it because, you know, look at my scrapbook on my web site. I always show off my girl because I love her so much.

But it’s, you know — I don’t make a habit of talking about it only because the truth of the matter is people whenever they get on the phone with me they don’t ask me about it. They ask me about money. But if they ask me about it I’d be more than open to talk about it. Tell Ellen to have me back on and let’s talk about that.

Suze’s new show on OWN, America’s Money Class, is a six-part series debuting Monday, January 9 at 9 p.m. ET. What makes it different from her long-running Suze Orman Show on CNBC is the audience participation, which Suze says brings more excitement to the topic of finances.

Good financial advice is good financial advice no matter what the forum is that you are giving out that advice in. The difference here is on my CNBC show which I love more than life itself as well, we’re going on 11 years with it, all you ever see is me staring into that camera and telling you what you need to hear. So in the viewer’s mind they don’t know what that person looks like most of the time. They don’t know — can they relate to that person because sometimes I think when people hear certain facts and figures about somebody they go, “Well, that’s not me — I’m not like that.”

So this is a show where because, again, it was impromptu. I was not scripted. I get to do exactly what I wanted to do which is, you know, the only way I know how to roll. You get to literally see these people in depth for the first time with me and I think that adds in this case anyway a dimension where people will be able to identify with these families and you get to see their responses.

And all of a sudden when you see their response going, oh my gosh, she just did what I did, then a whole new, you know, vulnerability level is unpeeled. And I think the information, you know, possibly could come in.

So this also shows a different side of me. At times we’re funny, at times we’re sad, at times I’m very stern, but you get to see more sides of me than just staring right into the camera.

Suze also said she’ll be appearing on The Rosie Show sometime in the near future and had some financial advice for LGBT couples who aren’t legally married.

…the thing is that you don’t have to be married or in a civil union to actually share money. You could just do it with anybody that you wanted to. The real question is is it a wise thing to totally share money. I will be forever a believer in that when you enter a relationship you are an autonomous human being and you should remain autonomous while you are in a relationship.

So in truth you should always have three accounts, one that is yours, one that is your life partner’s or your spouses or your boyfriend or girlfriend or however you want to designate them, and one where you put in equal percentages to the housing bill.

So for instance, let’s say it costs you $3,000 to live which are the expenses that are your joint expenses. Maybe it’s your rent, your food, or whatever it may be. You should not be each putting in $1,500 a month which would be 50/50. You want to put in according to what you are making. So let’s just say one of you was making $7,000 and let’s say the other one was making $3,000. Together that’s $10,000 that you are bringing home.

You would then divide the $3,000 or your joint expenses by $10,000 and that would give you 30%. So each of you should put 30% of your take home pay into that house account. So 30% of $3,000 would be essentially $900, 30% of $7,000 would be $2,100. So they’re equal percentages but not equal amounts of money and that’s really how it should be done.

Tune in to Suze Orman’s Money Class for more of Suze, her financial advice and her ever charming smackdowns.

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