In Praise of Suze Orman

Yale economist Robert Shiller, author of the recent The Subprime Solution: How Today’s Global Financial Crisis Happened and What to Do About It and the now immortal Irrational Exuberance, praises Suze Orman in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this morning. The relentlessly sunny Ms. Orman, like only a few other financial gurus, warned people of the current calamity should they not be careful about their property investments.

She was not the first to warn of the housing crisis. In fact, in her 2005 book, published at the height of the housing boom, she says “a home is flat-out the best big-ticket purchase you will ever make” and she gives no warning of the housing debacle we have since observed. But to give credit where it is due, she did warn in that book that adjustable rate mortgages “can become a nightmare soon after” when rates reset upwards. She warned readers not to accept lenders’ judgments about how much is OK to borrow. Moreover, she provided detailed advice about the total cost of owning a home with advice to “set your own budget.”

The Observer interviewed Mr. Shiller at length in January, when he warned that, yes, even mighty Manhattan wasn’t invulnerable to the housing housing crisis. He was right.