George Lucas Educational Foundation
Professional Learning

Celebrity Q&A: Suze Orman on Financial Literacy and More

The “one-woman financial-advice powerhouse” says job number one for educators is to inspire.

October 8, 2008

In this era of economic insecurity, spiking inflation, and diminished -- if not evaporated -- personal savings, is it any wonder that the up-and-coming generation of young people are calling themselves "Generation Debt"? Researchers warn that credit card use, student loans, and minuscule savings are the familiar torpedoes that can sink a young life. The sooner youth learn the basic of successful financial management, the better. And that's a lesson author and financial guru Suze Orman has been bringing to as wide an audience as possible for nearly three decades. Named in 2008 as one of Time magazine's one hundred most influential people, Orman has written six consecutive New York Times best sellers and produced and hosted PBS and CNBC programs. She regularly contributes to Yahoo Personal Finance and O: The Oprah Magazine.

What is your idea of a perfect teacher?

It would have to be one who inspires you to be more than you ever dreamed you could be.

What was your most memorable school experience?

Becoming class president.

What was the low point of your school career?

When I got the lowest reading score in the class one year.

Did you go to public school, or private school?

A public, inner-city school.

Where did you fit in your school's social hierarchy?

I was always the one who wanted to be someone other than myself -- that's kind of how I felt about it. I always thought somebody else was better than I was, more popular than I was, and prettier. So I would have to admit that I was a wannabe.

What was your favorite subject?

Math, absolutely -- math.

If you could change one thing about education in America, what would it be?

Easy: the cost and quality.

What is impossible to learn in school?

It's impossible to learn your own self-worth.

What should they teach that they don't teach now?

The true purpose of money.

What did you learn today?

Oh, I learned something new today, actually. I learned that Einstein said, "You can't solve a problem from the same level of consciousness that created the problem."

What did you teach?

How to do what's right instead of what's easy.

What is in your dream lunch box?

A hot dog, watermelon, and caramels -- love that.

If you wrote a textbook, what would it be called?

One of my books could be called a textbook. The Road to Wealth is like the tome of finance. But if I were to write any textbook for school on anything, it would be How to Be as Happy in Your Sadness as You Are in Your Happiness.

If the prom were tomorrow, whom would you take?

K.T., my current life partner.

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