NBC’s Brian Williams has been my favorite evening news anchor for quite a while. He has a smart way of turning a phrase that brings a wry smile to the day’s events. To see all of the trouble he is in for perhaps fudging the truth on his telling of a helicopter ride more than a dozen years ago is painful to watch. You can’t have the audience’s trust if there is a hint of impropriety in the way you tell your own stories.
The same goes for financial self-help experts. Like many of you, I enjoy listening to many of the popular financial authorities that publish books, write articles & have radio shows (or podcasts). Suze Orman is one of the more successful ones, but not someone I have followed regularly. Her perspective often includes an emotional assessment of one’s financial situation and she seems to be focused much more on women than men. Not Mr. FireStation’s cup of tea, but certainly she seems to have been doing well with a show on cable TV and a lot of books sold. I’m sure she has revenues in the millions every year.
As a result, I was surprised to see this article by Eric Tyson that explores Suze Orman’s Background – Fact & Fiction. Tyson, who is the author of many of the “For Dummies” financial books overviews Orman’s career and offers a lot of links to other articles that examine claims she has made in more depth. When taken in context to Brian William’s current mess, Orman’s career & credibility seem to be a real question mark of fact and fiction. In fact, you could say her comments are exponentially outrageous compared to Brian Williams, despite receiving very little coverage in the past.
Take a look and tell me what you think. Isn’t the reputation of someone who offers financial advice to millions of people through books, television & online just as important as the evening news “talking head”? Is Suze Orman’s credibility every bit as important as the advice she gives?