America’s straight-talking no nonsense personal-finance guru Suze Orman is that exception among financial advisers – she’s seriously rich, in the “tens of tens of millions of US dollars” bracket.
The host of the hit "The Suze Orman Show" on CNBC had some sage words for Hong Kong’s investors on a recent stopover to spread the financial gospel to Australia.
Asked for her three financial 'dos and don’ts', she replied: “Firstly, if you have any debt, just pay it down. If you have a home that you are going to stay in for the rest of your life, get rid of the mortgage as fast as you can.
“Secondly, investing isn’t just about what you do with your money. It’s about have you done the paperwork today to protect your tomorrows? Do you have a will, do you have a living revocable trust, do you have advance enduring power of attorney for health care - or whatever it’s called here?”
Thirdly, check your investments every single day.
“If you are going to invest in anything other than money markets or just keeping your money safe and sound, you have to be an active investor.”
When it comes to don’ts, never take financial advice from a friend, she says.
“Don’t trust somebody else more than you trust yourself. Just because someone else tells you to do something doesn’t mean that it’s right for you.”
She has stern warnings about mixed life insurance and investment products.
“I would never invest in a universal or variable life insurance policy as an investment. Buy insurance for insurance and investments for investment. Do not mix insurance and investments, people! How many of you here in Hong Kong are doing it? Absolutely crazy. That would be my biggest 'don’t' of all times. It’s a ridiculous investment.”
And she cautions, don’t go overboard on gold here.
“Just be a little bit careful with commodities. They had a really great run, and then pulled back. And now it doesn’t mean it’s going to be back at 2000 an ounce before you know it. Don’t stock it up like many Asians would tend to do.”
Read more sound advice from Suze Orman in Money Magazine on September 17, free with your South China Morning Post.
Abercrombie & Rich?
We’ve laughed at the hundred half – naked hunks posing on the steps to Central’s Pedder Building and the screaming mainland tourists who have clearly never seen chiselled chaps before.
We’ve been irritated by screaming busloads of the same boys, touring Central. We continue to be nauseated by the sickening pong of men’s cologne pumped from the Abercrombie and Fitch store into the street.
Now the acid test – will the flagship’s thick red carpeted and gloomy dark interior, throbbing with deafening music, prove to be a magnet for rich mainlanders? How many people are actually buying the pricey tee shirts, as opposed to just taking iphone happy snaps? With rent reported to be HK$7 million a month, we’re watching that too.