|Suze at the Helm|
America's Top Financial Expert Suze Orman Invests in the Boating Lifestyle
For five long years, Suze Orman gazed longingly from her South Florida waterfront terrace as all the beautiful boats cruised by. Day after day, she keenly observed that all the people on those boats were happy and having fun. She determined that she wanted a piece of that action and all that the boating lifestyle had to offer.
Totally debt-free and raking in millions, Suze had the financial wherewithal to buy whatever boat her heart desired. As one of the nation's most celebrated financial experts, this Emmy Award-winning TV host, book author, magazine columnist, writer/producer and motivational speaker only had to snap her fingers, and any number of boat retailers or yacht brokers would have gladly jumped to her call. However, her journey to boat ownership was anything but fast or impulsive, in keeping with the type of advice she regularly dishes out to loyal viewers of CNBC's wildly popular, "The Suze Orman Show," and to the millions of readers of her multiple, best-selling books.
"I said to KT [KT Travis - Suze's partner], 'I want a boat'; and she said we're not going to get a boat until we rent boats and we decide you really love boats; so I said ok," recalled Suze.
And so the love affair with boating began.
For five years, Suze, KT, and "The Pod" - a term of endearment for six members of their extended family with whom Suze and KT regularly spend time - set off on many boating adventures on rented 21-foot or 23-foot runabouts. With KT's brother Tom, a boat captain, at the helm, they cruised offshore and dropped anchor, dove off the transom and enjoyed leisurely swims in warm waters. They puttered up and down the Intracoastal, looking at all the glitzy homes of the rich, mortgaged-to-the-hilt, and not necessarily famous. They pulled into cozy waterfront restaurants for relaxing meals. They took scenic trips to Palm Beach. Over time, that initial fascination with boating turned from a casual flirtation to a real passion.
"I kept saying, 'I love this boat, I love this boat,' and KT would say, 'Yeah, but how long are you going to love a boat for?' " said Suze. "Every year I kept saying, 'I want a boat; I want a boat.' "
But Suze had to live by and respect her own self-imposed rules.
"It's very easy when you have a lot of money to buy things that you don't use. Awhile ago we realized we could have a tendency to do that," she explained. "I saw many people do that - they would buy a Rolls Royce or a Bentley or a huge boat and then they would never use it. So we decided we would give ourselves a five-year cut-off. We decided if I still wanted something after five years, I could get it. Because then that is a true want, especially given that we could rent a boat anytime we wanted."
As she approached the five-year benchmark, Suze began researching boats on the Internet and pouring through boat catalogs. The long-awaited day finally came when she announced her intentions.
"After five years passed, I said to KT, 'I still want a boat. In fact, I want a boat now more than I've ever wanted a boat, because the more I was on the boat, the more I wanted a boat,' " she said with a chuckle. "Every day that I sat on my terrace, I would have a vision of me and KT on that boat on the ocean at 5 a.m. having coffee. I knew exactly what boat I wanted."
Suze and another gal pal who knew about boats visited their local dealership, where she discovered the boat of her dreams. Not the megayacht or fancy express cruiser some might have expected, Suze's beloved boat of choice was a single engine, 28-foot Sea Ray Sundecker.
"I liked the configuration of that boat; I loved everything about it," she said enthusiastically. "I had only been out on 23- and 21-footers before, because that is all they rent out, but I knew that would be too small for us."