“The New York Times” spends some time with Suze Orman

As someone who has been a tad financially messy over the years, Suze Orman used to intimidate me quite a bit. While I love making excuses for my money troubles (“My college was overpriced!” “I’m a writer, dammit.”) Orman doesn’t care about excuses, and — finally — people are taking her advice seriously. It only took a recession.

This weekend, the New York Times ran a feature about Orman in their magazine titled “Suze Orman Is Having a Moment” — isn’t that the truth?

While The Suze Orman Show has been a hit on CNBC for awhile now, Orman is appearing on talk shows, selling books and generally being sought after more than ever. She isn’t afraid to tell people they are being stupid with their cash and her South Side of Chicago (holler!) attitude shines through in her no-nonsense responses to callers.

“Orman has been propelled to fame not by her financial success, or because of any revolutionary insight about, say, index funds. Rather, she has figured out a way to channel an innate charisma and a televangelist’s intensity into an otherwise bland message of fiscal responsibility,” Susan Dominus writes.

The article discusses Orman’s rise to financial maven status, along with her relationships along the way. Apparently, dating can even make Suze Orman lose her head financially:

She dipped into her 401(k), an action she currently deems a financial cardinal sin, to pay for a $7,500 Cartier Panther watch, which she wore to impress a wealthy woman she was dating at the time.

Romance still seems to bring out the spender in Orman. She told the magazine another story about wooing her longtime and current partner Kathy Travis.

Eight years ago, when she first sensed that Travis was the right woman, Orman had her longtime driver meet Travis at the airport in a car filled with gardenias, Travis’ favorite flower,” Dominus writes. “Not long after Travis arrived home, the doorbell rang: a deliveryman with an armful of Casablanca lilies wanted to know where the rest of the flowers in his truck should go. It turned out that Orman had purchased the entire contents of a flower shop.

While the article focuses a lot on Orman’s relationship with money, her sexuality comes into play quite a bit and she has no problem openly discussing it.

Her former coworkers once proposed that she work on a book with a Mormon motivational writer, but she told them up front that the partnership would not work out:

You wouldn’t want to do a deal with me. Trust me. My lifestyle goes against what he practices every day. They got it.

Orman is successful, smart, gay and fabulous, but one of the best things about her is her down-to-earth attitude. She came from humble roots (the story she tells about losing her father is heartbreaking) and worked hard for what she has. She isn’t some privileged princess preaching to those she is out-of-touch with.

I was considering checking out some of Suze’s books before reading the piece and am now certain they are a worthwhile investment. I don’t think she would argue with me too much about that — but she may have something to say about the L Word DVDs I just ordered.