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Encore: Elvis' 74th Birthday; Suze Orman on Money

Aired January 11, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, live from Graceland on Elvis's 74th birthday, Priscilla Presley. She reveals some of the King's private treasures never seen until now. Plus, her personal sorrow -- Priscilla grieves for her friends, the Travoltas, on the day young Jett is laid to rest.
Then, Suze Orman is here, as the president-elect tells it like it is -- we are in huge financial trouble.


BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: A bad situation could become dramatically worse.


KING: She'll break it all down and help you climb out of the mess. Suze Orman now on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: You're looking live at Graceland, home of Elvis Presley, on this, his 74th birthday.

Helping us celebrate is Priscilla Presley, who's invited us all inside for the occasion.

Hi, Priscilla.

It's great to see you and good to have you back with us again.

PRISCILLA PRESLEY: Larry, thank you.

It's my pleasure.

KING: What's happening at Graceland?

How are they celebrating this tonight?

PRESLEY: Well, they celebrated this afternoon with the cake cutting event, which we had many, many people here to -- to participate in that. And then we have some new exhibits that we're opening up. And they were touring to see that. So there's always something going on.

We've got, actually, a lot of exciting things to be shown now. So, you know, we're always doing things different. We always have a great surprise for people each year that we try to keep, you know, the interest and -- which we are -- the interest level up.

KING: Yes.

PRESLEY: And they're all here to visit that.

KING: We'll talk a lot more about that later and all the fantastic things you do in Memphis.

But it's also a very sad time for you and some good friends of yours with the loss of the Travolta family.

Have you spoken to them?

PRESLEY: No, I haven't, Larry. And I don't really think anyone really has. They -- everyone, I believe, is just allowing them their time together, which I think we all should, and supporting them and with all the love that we have. I mean, obviously, this is the hardest time for anyone who's lost a child and anyone who has a child.

So I think they're doing the right thing in the fact that they are together. And there's been a lot of support from family and friends. This is very difficult -- a very difficult time.

KING: The loving in that family that we've been seeing all week, that's very real, isn't it?

PRESLEY: Very real. I mean, I can't imagine -- John and Kelly have been the most doting parents. Twenty-four hours they've -- this child has really been nurtured and loved and cared for. And again, you know, my heart, along with all of us, you know, is with them this day. It's very difficult.

KING: Lots of talk about a blog that was posted by your daughter, Lisa Marie. She's heartbroken for the Travoltas. She's also angry at those she says who are using Jett's death as an opportunity to attack or blame Scientology.

What do you think about Lisa Marie's blog, because she really seems riled up?

Do you concur?

PRESLEY: I do. I absolutely do. Yes, I agree with her. She read it to me. And I said, I think it's fabulous. And I think that it's made an impact. And I feel that many people agree. From what I understand, she's getting a lot of support from that blog.

KING: You have suffered loss, obviously, in your life.

How did you cope?

PRESLEY: Well, I mean, Larry, when you lose someone, I mean really you should -- how do you cope?

I mean it's a loss. It's a great loss. I mean, I don't -- you know, I don't feel, first of all, that we should all, you know, let them -- let them be together. And let them, you know, be supported by their family and friends. That's how you cope.

I mean you -- you have to go through a period and it's a whole process.

You know, I think it's time -- time that will, you know, eventually heal. It does, thank God. But I don't think it ever goes away. I think that you -- you know, when you lose a loved one, it's -- you know, it's always a surprise and a shock and very difficult to get over.

But I think, you know, in John's case -- and Kelly's -- it is international and national.

KING: Yes, of course.

PRESLEY: It's everyone is on them and trying to get -- trying to get feedback when they should just be left alone and let them decide when they want to come out.

KING: Back to Elvis.

Is it hard to believe that he would have been 74?

PRESLEY: No. I mean, yes. I'm sorry. It's -- I can't what I mean no, is it's hard to believe that he's 74. It's hard to believe that -- it's hard to imagine that he is 74 in the fact that he always seemed so young in spirit. You know, he loved -- he loved life, he loved adventure. You know, he'd take us on his journeys with his adventures. And he, you know, it's hard to believe that he's -- the number 74 is just -- it doesn't seem to be attached to him.

KING: Isn't it weird, though, to celebrate a birthday, as we do every year, for someone no longer with us?

And they make a whole celebration of it at Graceland?

PRESLEY: Well, I think, you know, our part is -- is to keep that memory alive. And I think that all the fans have done a great job in supporting him.

You know, this is really a celebration -- you know, we try to look at it as a celebration of his life. And he gave us so much, you know, to use, to do, to expose and to bring people here. I mean he was a pretty incredible man, as you know. You were here. You visited. You went to the museum. You saw everything that's here.

KING: Yes. It's unbelievable.

PRESLEY: So it's really a celebration.

KING: Our guest is Priscilla Presley. By the way, she's in...

PRESLEY: You have to come.

KING: She's in the living room at Graceland.

We'll be continuing with Priscilla and a lot more, on this 74th birthday of Elvis Presley.

Priscilla's got two new granddaughters. We're going to ask her about them next.



KING: Well, there's a live shot of Graceland on this night of his 74th birthday in Memphis, Tennessee.

You were a gorgeous couple, by the way, Priscilla, if I might say that.

PRESLEY: Oh, thank you very much.

Did you see the lights at Graceland at night here?

KING: Unbelievable.

PRESLEY: Are you seeing that?

KING: We just showed them. Gorgeous.

PRESLEY: Beautiful.

KING: If Elvis was still with us...

PRESLEY: Yes, it is beautiful. That's how it was...

KING: If Elvis were still with us, he'd be celebrating Lisa Marie's twin daughters. She had them in October. Tell us about them.

What are your granddaughters like?

PRESLEY: They're absolutely beautiful. I mean, they're like little living dolls. One looks just like Lisa and the other looks just like Michael. And, boy, they're hard to keep away from, I have to tell you. They bring a tear to your eye. They're just beautiful. Absolutely.

And they're incredible parents -- doting parents. I don't think they leave these children alone for second. And if they do, they are right back with them again. And it's a wonderful addition to the family. And I'm sure there will be many great Christmas that we'll be able to celebrate with them, maybe even here at Graceland again.

I don't know. I don't know. You never know. It's just great times. I'm sure they'll be here riding the go-carts, just like the family does when they come. It will be great.

KING: Elvis had a twin.

The brother who was stillborn, right?

PRESLEY: Yes, he was. Yes. KING: So Lisa Marie might have picked up one of the genes to have twins?

PRESLEY: Yes, absolutely. And I have twin brothers, also. I have twin brothers in my family.

KING: All right, the last time you were with us...

PRESLEY: I bet you don't know that, did you?

KING: No, I did not know that.


PRESLEY: Yes. So...

KING: The last...


KING: The last time -- are they older or younger?

PRESLEY: They're younger. They're younger.

KING: The last time you were with us, since you were with us, in August of 2007, you competed on "Dancing with the Stars."

What was that like?

PRESLEY: Let's just say it's nice sitting here looking back at the experience instead of experiencing it.


PRESLEY: It was probably the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life. The challenge was incredible. I think just the mere fact that you know you're dancing in front of 23 million people and it's live -- and that I made it through without making a crucial mistake. That's satisfying right there.

But I met some great people. I really enjoyed the experience. Someone asked me the other day, would I do it again?

Maybe in a few years. Maybe -- maybe I could take Cloris Leachman's place at her age.


PRESLEY: I don't know. She did a pretty good job.

KING: What was it like to do a split?

PRESLEY: Oh, my goodness. Well, that was a -- that was a lot of rehearsing. That was about one day of five hours.

(LAUGHTER) PRESLEY: Actually, I had a great -- I had a great instructor and a partner, instructor, teacher, trainer -- everything. I mean he -- he was wonderful. And he trained me to do that. And it wasn't as difficult as I thought, because he actually prepared me and -- you know, for that. So it wasn't -- it wasn't that bad.

KING: Any accidents?

PRESLEY: I'm not that old yet.

KING: Any accidents?

PRESLEY: I had bruises all over me. No, bruises. Lots of bruises on my wrists from being held, from all the spins and the turns and the, you know, different steps that we would do. I had bruises all over my knees. I wore knee pads every day. It was quite an experience. It was fun.

You need to get on there, Larry.

You need to do that.

KING: Yes, yes. They asked me to do it...

PRESLEY: Have you thought about it?

KING: ...and I passed.

What do you think Elvis would have...

PRESLEY: They did ask you?

KING: Yes, they did.

What do you think Elvis would have thought of you doing it?

PRESLEY: Oh, my gosh. I mean, I'm sure he'd be very supportive and he'd watch. I think that he probably would have thought, you know, what am I, crazy?

I don't know. It was...


PRESLEY: It's -- you know, I've never done anything like that before -- ever. And it was the first time I've ever performed in front of a live audience. So it was very risky, very challenging. Yes, I think he'd...

KING: But worth it?

PRESLEY: ...he'd applaud me.

KING: I'm sure he would have.

PRESLEY: I understand how... KING: But we're going to take a break and be...

PRESLEY: I understand how he feels now.


KING: Feels about what?

PRESLEY: I understand much more now when an entertainer gets stage fright. I truly understand what that means, which I really didn't before. And now it all totally makes sense to me.

KING: Priscilla has an exclusive commentary on our blog about life with Elvis. It's a must read. And you can read it by going to and click on blog.

Back in 60 seconds with more on Graceland from inside.

Don't go away.




Welcome back.

Priscilla Presley is our guest tonight live from Graceland.

Let's celebrate the King's birthday by looking at some classic Elvis.



KING: After watching that, Priscilla, if we could take a step back, what was his attraction?


What was there not to be attracted to?

I mean he was the -- he was a package deal. He had everything. But I think, you know, Elvis -- I mean he was -- he just had everything. He was not only gorgeous, he was not only a wonderful entertainer, but he had -- he had a great heart. He had a great soul.

I mean he -- he was very humble and came from humble beginnings. And he appreciated, you know, so much in life. But he really seemed to always, you know, treat people wonderful, always had time for them. He was a great teacher, a great teacher in life and with people.

I don't really know where he -- you know, you had to -- from the humble beginnings he had to have learned and been around a lot of, I don't know, pain and just appreciation of family.

KING: Yes.

PRESLEY: He had -- he had a lot to give.

KING: Well put.

PRESLEY: He really did.

KING: Priscilla will show you some things you have never seen until now, next on LARRY KING LIVE from Graceland.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no room in this city for the vulgar performances of Elvis Presley.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I watched him gyrate his legs and swivel his hips.




Welcome back.

Priscilla Presley is our guest. But first, our own David Theall is at Graceland tonight, reading all of your comments on our blog -- David, what are people saying tonight?

DAVID THEALL, LARRY KING LIVE PRODUCER: Larry, we have taken the blog on the road. And we are blogging tonight from Graceland -- from the famous TV Room in the basement of Graceland.

You're talking to Priscilla Presley upstairs, right above us. We're in the -- in the famous TV Room. You'll remember, I know that you've spent some time in this room with us -- Elvis's three TVs. When he heard that President Johnson had three TVs, Elvis said he wanted to have three TVs. So that was placed there. This room was redecorated in the motif that you currently see in 1974.

Larry, we've also got something that we're going to be showing you tonight. One of the things is, of course, that Priscilla Presley was very kind to give us an exclusive -- a commentary exclusive for your blog tonight, in which she talks about life here at Graceland, about Elvis' -- what would have been Elvis's 74th birthday and about the two new additions to Graceland, which are two new horses that they have adopted from abusive conditions.

And Priscilla was very kind to take us through the barn and we spent some time with the horses today with our cameras. That video also will be online --, as is Priscilla's commentary -- exclusive commentary.

I have the gloves on, Larry, because we also have a blog special tonight. This -- 1970 was the year that you have to keep in mind for this watch. It was a gift to Elvis to find out what this watch -- why it was given to Elvis, the meaning behind it to Elvis Presley and to the Elvis archives, you have to go online, because the Elvis -- the Graceland archivist has been kind enough to give us the description --, click on the live blog link. You'll see Priscilla's exclusive and you'll find out the details of why this watch was so special to Elvis Presley -- Larry.

KING: Thanks, David.

That's called, in the business, a tease.

Standing now stop -- right by the stairway, as we return with Priscilla.

And we understand, Priscilla, you have some Elvis artifacts you want to share with us that we've not seen before.

What can you tell us?

PRESLEY: Well, I'm standing here at the stairs that go up to Elvis' room. We have three guitars here -- the first one being the oldest of the collection. It's a Gibson J200. And it's one that Elvis played all the time and loved very much, an acoustic guitar.

And then I'm going to come in here to the dining room. Actually, you -- you saw this the time you were here a year-and-a-half ago, when I told you about -- we were talking about dinner here at the table. And in our new exhibit, we have the actual deed to Graceland that we have now displayed.

Vernon kept -- Vernon Presley kept everything. So this is part of that collection.

We have the down payment to the house and actually $30,000 down payment to Graceland. That's pretty special. And the actual keys -- the very first keys to Graceland that Elvis used.

So we have, in this collection, an amazing assortment of memorabilia from the first time Elvis saw Graceland, where he stood upstairs, a picture of him where he stood in the master bedroom looking at it. And it's, of course, empty. And then thinking about what he wanted to do for drapes and how he wanted to decorate it. We have that actual picture.

We have so many things that are history, as far as Graceland is concerned, built in 1939 -- photos before and after, when he bought it and after he bought it. So I mean it's very new and I think never before seen.

KING: Great. PRESLEY: We also have a new exhibit for Elvis in Hollywood with memorabilia and an interactive exhibit where you can actually, as far as the time track when he was born, all the way to now and his influence, you know, on pop culture. It's pretty amazing.

So we always have, like I said earlier, new things.

And, also, remember the tree that I told you about?

Remember, the Christmas tree?

KING: Yes.

PRESLEY: I said that -- what the boys would do. This is what that Christmas tree looked like and this is the way it was decorated. And I told you the guys, when I asked them to come and decorate and they balled up tin foil and threw it at the tree. You'll notice a few of them are thrown here.

So, just to give you that look of what it looked like.

KING: Are you -- are you the curator?

PRESLEY: Am I the curator?

No, we have an incredible curator here. And Angie. And she's standing right over there looking and making sure everything is said right.

KING: Who...

PRESLEY: So, she's amazing.

KING: Who signed that check for the down payment on the house?

PRESLEY: Just Vernon Presley. So you'll be able to see all of that when we get into the -- get into that exhibit. You should come back and visit with us.

KING: Boy.

So there's lots of things in storage that you take out and then bring in?

PRESLEY: Absolutely. You know, Vernon actually signed this one and so did -- so did Elvis.

KING: What's that, the deed?

PRESLEY: So that's good, too. All -- that's the deed. Pretty simple back then.

Can you imagine how simple?

It's was only two pages. You buy a house now and it's like, what, a hundred? KING: One could only gather what that...


KING: ...what that would be worth, the deeds to Graceland signed by Elvis.

PRESLEY: Oh, and all the other things we have back there, too. It's -- we have a lot. It's really worth seeing. These are priceless, priceless things. I mean to have all of this and we have the prices, we have the statements and the bills of all the furniture that we have. This is all original furniture. This is, you know, nothing that was new here.

KING: Yes.

PRESLEY: And we have all the bills for it.

KING: And by the way...

PRESLEY: Everything -- the lamps, the couch...

KING: Graceland is the second most visited private residence in the United States.

What's the first?

PRESLEY: That's right.

You know what the first is?

KING: What?

PRESLEY: Do you know?

KING: The White House, I think.

PRESLEY: The White House.

KING: Yes, yes, yes, yes.


KING: But I'm -- I tell you what we've become as a society, it's close.


PRESLEY: It's close?

KING: When we come back, you'll meet the newest residents of Graceland. You'll want to see this.

Stay with us.


KING: We would like to say thank you, thanks very much to the following for some of the Elvis material used in tonight's show: Warner Home Video and Paramount Video for their special edition Elvis DVDs, Sony Music, for the great songs you've been hearing all night, and Elvis Presley Enterprises. We couldn't have done it without you.


KING: Welcome back. There's Graceland, live on this night. Hey, you know, we may have been wrong, which is unheard of, because we have almost never been wrong. But I would guess that Graceland is the number one private residence visited in America, because the White House is a government residence. It is loaned out to whoever the president is. But Graceland is a true private residence. So we declare Graceland number one.

PRESLEY: I can go for that.

KING: Go for it. It's got to be. What's with the two horses, Priscilla?

PRESLEY: Well, the two horses are rescue horses. Starting actually a year ago, when we heard about these horses that were a family back in Maine, and it came to my attention about -- you know, they needed help. They needed to be adopted. And I have became very good friends, actually, with the girl who took this family of horses in. Carol Terisebeen (ph). Hello, Carol.

And she and I started talking, and we wanted to take one of the horses and bring him here to Graceland, which we did. He was supposed to be introduced to the fans for Elvis' birthday last year. But on the 15-hour drive, he got sick and he stopped at the vet and had to stay there for a week.

So he's been here at Graceland for a year now. And since then, he's gained 300 pounds, believe it or not.

KING: Wow.

PRESLEY: He came to us basically very thin, very in need of love and nurture. And here at Graceland I think he's doing very, very well. Once you see him, he looks like an absolute show horse. And we're very proud of him. That's Max.

And then, just recently, we adopted a 10-month-old abused and neglected horse. He's a blue eyed quarter horse. And we are now introducing him to all the fans who have come by today to see the horses and to get familiar with them. So it's something -- we have Graceland here. Lisa absolutely said, my gosh, this would be great. We want to keep the tradition of Graceland to keep the horses, have the horses. This is something that Elvis loved, you know, having around.

He loved watching the animals. As you know, I told you the story last time I met with you that this was a part of his life. So we're keeping that tradition here and hopefully they'll be here forever.

KING: Thanks for a wonderful night, Priscilla. Happy birthday to Elvis and congratulations to all you do and to everybody at Graceland. Priscilla, thank you so much.

PRESLEY: Thank you, Larry. It's a pleasure.

KING: Priscilla Presley. Suze Orman is here next. We sure need her now. Job losses at a record high, companies, corporations are folding. And the president-elect puts American economic situation in dire terms today. Learn how to protect your money this new year. Suze is going to help you next.


KING: Our personal finance expert Suze Orman joins us, the Emmy winning host of "The Suze Orman Show." Her brand new book is "Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan." It debuts number one on the "New York Times" best seller list. Apparently ordinary folks are really getting interested.

We'll start with this, a major economic speech from Obama today. He wants the biggest tax-payer funded stimulus package ever, warns of dire consequences if it doesn't happen. Watch, Suze.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll invest in priorities like energy and education, health care and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century. That's why the overwhelming majority of the jobs created will be in the private sector, while our plan will save the public sector jobs of teachers, police officers, fire fighters, and others who provide vital services.


KING: Suze, he says that a bad situation could become dramatically worse. Do you agree?

SUZE ORMAN, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EXPERT: Well, he says it will become dramatically worse if the government doesn't step in to save everything, and the government is the only entity, according to the new president, that will be able to save everything that's happening. I think we have a very dire situation here. And I think we have all known that it's dire. And I think we have been on the brink many times of us going over the cliff.

But I have a feeling this time that the government is going to throw everything possible into this situation, and that eventually it will be OK. Will it be easy? It will not. Will it be OK? It absolutely will.

KING: You compare this to Roosevelt, the New Deal in 1932?

ORMAN: A little bit. It's a little bit different however, in that it's massive; it's worldwide. This is an economic crisis that has dramatic proportions that I don't think we even know what we're dealing with still. You know, so many of us are saying, well, give us some meat here, president, give it to us. Tell us what you're going to do. I think it's very difficult, Larry, to say what you're going to do when you don't really know how deep the problem is; what's really wrong? Where is everything going?

I think we're going to have to find our way through this one, because I have a feeling every time we solve one problem, another problem's going to pop-up. It's going to be up, down, up, down, up, down for quite a while to come.

KING: He's also pushing the multi-billions in tax cuts for businesses as well. What do you make of that?

ORMAN: I'm actually thrilled that he's coming off of his stance that we're going to raise taxes; we're going to do this. I wanted him to be president forever. But the one part of his presidency that I wasn't loving was that we're just going to raise taxes. And now he's come off of that, so I have to tell you I'm loving that he's going more for tax cuts across the board. And I'm supporting him with that 100 percent.

KING: The "Washington Post" had an Obama TV cabinet, people it picked who work in television to be in the cabinet. And it picked you to run the Office of Management and Budget. What would you do with that job?

ORMAN: What would I do with that job? I kind of feel I have that job in my own way on some level. I would keep saying what I'm saying every day. You have got to learn how to manage your money, not just on a governmental level, but individuals. The reason why we got into this trouble is why we all over-spend. We all were given credit lines that we used and we never should have been able to do so.

And we spent money that was never there. So we didn't know how to manage our budget. So I would be saying what I always have did, get out of debt and stay out of debt, people.

KING: You were on Oprah earlier today and you delivered some really stunning information about her audience. Watch.


ORMAN: Do you know, Oprah, how much debt is in this room for credit card debt?

OPRAH WINFREY, "OPRAH": 1.25 million dollars.

ORMAN: We have approximately 2.3 million dollars of credit card debt in this room. Yes.

WINFREY: And that is why our country is in a deficit.

ORMAN: And that is why we need an action plan.



KING: And what's the action plan?

ORMAN: The action plan is -- what I did in November is I wrote a book called use "Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan," which gives you situation, action, situation, action, for credit card debt, for real estate, for your retirement accounts, if you have lost your job, if you have to pay for your student's college education; but what happened, you have lost all the money in the stock market.

People don't know what actions to take today, Larry. They're totally confused. Should I continue to invest in the stock market? Or should I pull all my money out? This is the year that you cannot afford to make anymore mistakes. So you have to know how you do certain things, when you do certain things, and when you don't do certain things. So we gave them an entire set of actions and actually one week from today, if you go on to, we're actually doing a webinar, where we'll be taking you through the actions, Oprah and myself, so that the entire United States can be safe and sound.

KING: We'll take a break and look forward to that. We'll be back with Suze Orman. We'll take some calls too. That's ahead on LARRY KING LIVE.


ORMAN: Have you lost your mind? have you lost your mind? let's just cut to the chase. Don't panic, girlfriend, this is the time to keep at it. That's really bad. Bad, bad, bad.


KING: Let's take a call for Suze Orman. Matrona Heights, Pennsylvania, hello.

CALLER: My question is as a new small business owner, how long do we stay in business, hang in there, before we throw in the towel? How long can we continue to hang in there before we say we can't lose anymore?

ORMAN: So, are you currently operating a business where you're compiling debt on your credit cards just to keep this business afloat?

CALLER: No, we are making a point to pay everything with cash. Luckily all our vendors expect cash. And --

KING: What is your worry?

ORMAN: I'm going to tell you -- yes, go on.

CALLER: The worry is when something breaks down or a piece of equipment has to be replaced or repaired, and at that point, I may need to borrow money or say to pay the rent or -- how long do you hang in there? ORMAN: If you have to borrow money to pay the rent, if you don't have working capital set aside to pay for maintenance, for rent, for electricity, for your employees, whatever it may be, you did not sufficiently capitalize this business to begin with. It sounds like the United States of America right now. What will happen is it will all come tumbling in on you.

If you find yourself borrowing money just to stay afloat, I have to tell you, in this type of economy, I would close it sooner than later.

KING: Straight talk from Suze Orman. We'll be back with more. The stock market is still real shaky, down 27 points today, not bad. Should some people not be in it? Suze will tell us, next.



KING: Now back to Suze. Should people not be in the stock market?

ORMAN: People who need their money within one, two or three years should not be in the stock market at this point in time. Remember, the stock market and the economy are very different entities. Just because the economy is doing one thing doesn't mean the stock market is going to go up and down. They're very separate things.

So if you have -- and this has always been my rule of thumb -- ten years or longer, preferably longer, until you need this money. I think the best thing you all should be doing right now is taking little amounts of money every month and dollar cost average into these markets. I have been telling you for a while now, look to buy high yielding safe, dividend paying stocks, exchange traded funds or mutual funds. You can get four, five, six, seven, eight percent right now in certain entities where the dividend is not going to be cut. Those are the types of investments I would be buying, if I were you, little by little. But you need time for them to come to fruition for you.

KING: Taking another call. Columbia, Maryland, hello.

CALLER: Hi, how are you. My name's Carol. I'm just calling to see how I need to budget out my money in my checking, so I don't over draft into my savings.

ORMAN: Carol, you don't need to call in to ask somebody like me that. Honest to god, all you have to do is look at your checkbook, make sure that what you have going out, you have money in there to cover it and that you're responsible with your money. You know, it's not really that hard of a thing to do, truthfully. Just don't spend money you don't have. It's that easy.

KING: How much are people goaded into spending by the credit card companies. Pay now, don't pay till next June. ORMAN: I got news, they used to be big time. They used to say here little boy, here little girl. They used to go on to college campuses, you know, and go and say, here's credit cards, spend money, even though you don't even have a job.

Now the credit card companies have a 360, a turn around, because they are scared to death, Larry, that the consumer isn't going to be able to pay the bills that they've charged. And so now what the credit card companies are doing, rather than expanding your credit limits, they're contracting your credit limits. They're revoking your credit cards. They're increasing your interest rates from eight percent, nine percent, to 32 percent. And they're increasing the minimum payment due from two percent to five percent. The credit card companies are scared to death right now.

KING: Chicago, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry. This is Lauren. How are you this evening?

KING: Fine.

CALLER: Suze, I've been recently laid off from my position in the bank. And I'm sitting well financially. But I'm having hard a time, of course, getting another position any time in the near future with another bank. I'm leaning on possibly going back to get my real estate license. What do you think the time frame would be for the housing market to possibly turn back around to make it worthwhile for me to spend the money to reinstate my real estate license again and board dues, et cetera?

ORMAN: I think we're still a good year away or longer until the real estate market turns around. Obviously, with interest rates coming down here -- currently the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is at five percent, the lowest ever been in the history since we started to track mortgages. I think it could go down as low as 4.5 percent. That will spur, obviously, a lot of people who will want to buy. Maybe it will spur refinancing more than actual purchases.

But I think we still have a year or so to go. But I don't think that's going to solve your problem. I think you need to find a job where you have money coming in right now, even if it is not in your area. So what if it's not in the banking area? What if you have to go back to work at anything? Have money come in so you do not deplete your savings. And if you want, in your extra time, go back and get your license so that you know in a year or two, you can start to do that again. But do not count on that income, being a real estate agent, to save you, not here, not now.

KING: We'll be back with more of Suze Orman. If you don't have an emergency stash or cash, you better get one. Suze's got the truth and consequences about that after this. Stick around.


KING: OK, Suze, how much emergency cash some someone have, eight months? What's an amount to have?

ORMAN: I've been saying eight months forever, and now I think I need to go to one year. And the reason that I've wanted people to have so much of an emergency cash to pay your bills is that here we are; we're entering a period of high unemployment. And you need to be able to have money to live, to eat, to do all of these things. And it could very easily be six months, eight months, one year before you get another job.

So to that end, I was on this campaign to put as much money as you can away and nobody wanted to save money, Larry. So I don't know if you remember about two years ago, I started this thing called the save yourself account, where I actually joined forces with TD- Ameritrade, and we were paying people to save. We reinstated that. You put 100 dollars a month every month into a savings account, TD- Ameritrade will give you 100 dollars at the end. You put in 1,200 dollars, you got 1,300 dollars. That's like a 15 percent return on your money.

You go to and you start being paid to save right now, people, because you need a savings account.

KING: Wow. Stockton, California, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Suze, for the first time in my career, I have had to make several early withdrawals from my 401(k) in the year 2008. I'm wondering if you have heard anything whatsoever as far as the stimulus package omitting, eliminating the 10 percent penalty for early withdrawals?

ORMAN: Are you currently working?

CALLER: I am currently working, but at a much lower salary than I previously had been in my career.

ORMAN: I see. And are you working at the place that your 401(k) is located?


ORMAN: So this is an old employer's 401(k), yes?

CALLER: That I transferred into a mutual fund account.

ORMAN: All right. So I have not heard anything yet as part of the stimulus package where they're going to let people simply withdraw money from a 401(k) without any, you know -- any penalties at all. And I have to tell you, I don't think it's a good idea if they did do that, because I know you feel like you need this money and I know that it's your last resort. But I've got news for you, you're going to need this money has much when you're older than you do now.

So when you're relatively still young, you can still make money; you've got to go out to earn money. And don't count on the money in your 401(k) plan until you absolutely can't work or generate one penny of income for yourself. KING: Suze, CNN's Ali Velshi says the worst thing people can do in this crisis is nothing. Do you agree?

ORMAN: I do agree, which is why I wrote the "2009 Action Plan." You have got to know what actions to take. And actions such as taking a loan from a 401(k) or withdrawing money from a 401(k) or doing things that you think are good, that in the end are going to backfire, is only going to hurt you in the end. You have to know what actions to take. You have to have a plan.

And you can do things in 2009, Larry, that you won't be able to do in other years. There are special things that have come in just for 2009 that people have to be aware of. So that's what the book is about. That's what we're doing. And that's what I'm going to spend this year making sure all of you know.

KING: Are you optimistic?

ORMAN: I'm optimistic because I have tremendous faith in the new president. When I watched him speak today, I believed him. And even though there wasn't a lot of details in what he was talking about, I had a sense that this was a man who knew exactly what he was going to have to do, the severity of the situation, and he was going to do whatever it took to change what's happened in America.

KING: So Suze forges forth. Are you surprised that your book -- by the way, we only got 30 seconds -- opened at number one?

ORMAN: Yes, because it was on sale for three days and there was absolutely no publicity on the book at all, because it was supposed to premiere today on Oprah. And last night, we looked at the list and it was number one on the "New York Times" best seller list. I'm very honored, thank you very much.

KING: They love you, Suze.

ORMAN: And I love them back. I love you.

KING: Suze Orman, I love you too. "Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan," keeping your money safe and sound. It's number one paperback on "New York Times" this Sunday. Available everywhere books are sold.

We send our sincerest condolences to the Travoltas tonight. There was a private memorial service for their 16 year old son Jett today. John and Kelly, we're thinking of you. And Ella, please know we're among millions of people who wish nothing but the best for you.

Go to Download our podcast, ring tones, check out our guest list. Tell us how we're doing. And don't forget, Priscilla Presley's exclusive commentary on life with Elvis. Now, Anderson Cooper and "AC 360."