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Suze Orman | Co-founder | SecureSave

Suze Orman: A Synonym of Excellence

Today, people who are known to be successful or extraordinary at some point in their past were merely seen as ordinary individuals. They might not even have been picked as ‘people who are likely to be successful’ in their high schools. Some might not even have had enough resources but still managed to climb the ladder of success.

From working as a waitress till the age of 30, making $400 a month, to becoming America’s most recognized expert on Personal Finance, Suze Orman has come a long way.

Suze has been recognized as “America’s Favorite Financial Advisor” by The New York Times and “a force in the world of personal finance” and a “one-woman financial advice powerhouse” by USA Today. Suze has written ten consecutive New York Times Bestselling books and today is best known as the host of the popular “Women & Money” podcast.

A two-time EMMY Award winner, Suze is the single most successful fundraiser in the history of Public Television, having raised over $ 200 million Dollars for PBS. Most recently, Suze has co-founded SecureSave, a revolutionary workplace benefit that helps employees build an emergency savings fund.

It was her passion for helping every household take control of its money that led her to team up with Devin Miller and Bassam Saliba in launching SecureSave. SecureSave automates emergency fund savings for employees who choose to sign up. A portion of each paycheck is automatically deposited in an FDIC-insured bank account. Participants also receive a matching contribution from their employer. Employees have instant access to their account through the SecureSave app.

Inspired by her vision for SecureSave, we at Insights Success had a conversation with Suze to learn more about how she is helping people feel and be secured and save for emergencies through SecureSave.

Below are the excerpts from the interview:

Suze, you have said that SecureSave is the most important thing you have ever done. Given all your accomplishments, that is saying a lot! Why are you so passionate about SecureSave?

So much of my work—books, podcasts, my television show—are me telling people what they should do to be secure. But this is different. It isn’t just advice; it is a system for doing exactly what I think is the foundation of financial security: building an emergency savings fund. SecureSave automates the intention everyone has to build emergency savings into action. I truly believe this can change the savings rate in the United States for all.

Why did you name it SecureSave?

I have always said, the goal of money is for you to be secure.

And the first step on the road to attaining true financial security is to have an emergency savings account. But most people do not have one. So what happens if they get sick and can’t work, lose their job, their car breaks down, or their refrigerator stops working? What are they going to do? The easiest way to be financially secure is for you to start to save. It’s that simple…hence the name SecureSave.

So how does it actually work for the employer and the employee?

We have created a highly automated program that is easy for employers to offer as a benefit (an HR dream) that runs on state-of-the-art technology. Once the employer launches SecureSave, there is very little management required from that point on.

We make saving as easy and as automatic as possible by running SecureSave through an employer’s payroll system. Employees who sign up tell us how much of each paycheck to save for them in an FDIC-insured account. That’s all they need to do. It is a set-it-and-forget-it benefit.

SecureSave also makes it easy for employers to launch the program. We will send an email to all employees on behalf of their employer explaining this new benefit, how it works and exactly how much their employer will be matching. That email will include an “invite” link. All an employee needs to do is click on that link that takes them to a page where they tell us how much they want to save each paycheck. That’s it!

The ease of use for everyone is one of the reasons I am so excited to work with SecureSave. This is one of the easiest benefits for any Human Resource Department to deploy and it’s why we consistently see over 50% adoption, often within just days of offering the benefit.

Can you walk us through how this is working with early adopters of SecureSave?

We have found that most employees sign up and decide to save $25-$50 a paycheck. Most employers choose a small per-paycheck match as a way to help encourage the employee to save. Some employers choose to also give a sign-up bonus when the employee enrolls. Our technology allows each employer to personalize this program to meet their needs. Most employers contribute around $8-10 per month for participants.

Most employer-sponsored plans, like a 401K, have strict guidelines making it difficult for an employee to easily access their money immediately. What happens when the employee wants to access their money from SecureSave?

All employees have instant access to their savings, with no penalties or taxes. They can access their money immediately through the SecureSave website, or a workplace app. I think this is a crucial reason why employees are so eager to participate.

What’s important for employees and employers to understand is that because this is a post-tax benefit, SecureSave is not held to the rules and regulations for many other workplace benefits, such as retirement accounts. So, the employee can access their money anytime they want without any penalties or additional taxes.

What happens if the employee leaves that employer?

They take the account with them, just that easy. All money, including all the matches from their employer, is theirs. They can continue to access their funds using their SecureSave account or their money can be deposited into their personal account at their bank or credit union.

You mentioned an impressive adoption rate, can you tell us more about that?

I am proud to say that, on average, we have an adoption rate of more than 50%. Most participants sign up within the first few weeks of employees being invited to save. This happens because we make it so simple. It takes an employee less than two minutes to set up their account and start saving.

We’re seeing that most participants check their balances a few times a week, but very few have withdrawn any money. That makes me so happy. They are committed to saving and want to watch their account grow, but they are also leaving the money there for emergencies.

In what way will the employer benefit from offering SecureSave?

The more financially secure an employee is, the better employee they are, it’s just that simple.

A strong benefits package makes an employer’s business more-competitive when it comes to attracting and keeping talent. But the one benefit that most employees need and want more than any other benefit is an Emergency Saving Account. And currently, for most corporations, it is the one benefit they are not offering. When you offer benefits that support your workers’ true needs, such as SecureSave, you are helping them remove one of the major financial stress points in their lives. And we all know that can make them a more engaged employees.

Do you think that employees will stop contributing to their employer’s retirement account if SecureSave is offered?

No, no, no. I think that over time we may see that SecureSave participants will even increase their rate of retirement saving. Once they see they have an emergency savings cushion they can tap easily (and cost-free) on an as-needed basis, I think it will make it easier for them to save more in a 401(k), knowing they won’t need that money for future emergencies.

What we know happens all too often is that people without emergency savings will often take out a loan on their 401(k) savings, or request a hardship withdrawal. Neither is a good choice as it impacts their retirement security.

SecureSave’s goal is to give employees a savings account they can access when they need money in an emergency, so that they can just leave their retirement money alone to grow until they retire.

What is your main goal for SecureSave?

SecureSave is a company whose sole intention is to help people save in the easiest and most cost-effective way possible. Our entire focus is emergency savings accounts. Our goal is to become the go-to company worldwide to help people save money for emergencies and the unexpected in life. We want every single person to be and feel secure, and the best way to do that financially is by having emergency savings.

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