If you watch the Suze Orman show, you've probably seen the new segment Can I Afford It, where somebody basically asks, given my financial situation, do you think I can afford this item? I've seen it several times now and I'm starting to see a pattern..
Basically, Suze doesn't think anybody can afford expensive TVs, watches, jewelry, cars, anything that you might classify as a luxury item. She doesn't approve much though - on the last show, she told a single mom she couldn't afford daycare for her twins. Well, what is this lady supposed to do then? Quit her job and not be able to afford anything? I saw two instances of her telling someone not to get a fancy TV - one was a college student for whom this would have essentially been two months of income, and that was reasonable, but the other was a 50 year old lady with over $550k in the bank whose TV was on its last legs. Seriously, if someone with half a million dollars can't afford a $2,000 TV, what hope is there for the rest of us? She did eventually OK the purchase of a TV for this lady, but asked her to spend as little as possible on it.
Overall it seems not to actually matter how much money you have, when it comes to a luxury item - Suze doesn't think you can ever afford it. Another caller I remember wanted to buy a thousand-dollar watch, for of course the wrong reasons (she thought it would help her look good compared to her wealthy bosses) but she could easily afford it. Suze said she wasn't allowed to buy it though - she is really blurring the line between what can these people afford, and whether it's a good idea to spend the money. She also told a woman with over a million that she couldn't afford a $4,000 purse.
Of course, then there are just some people with no clue. One woman called in asking if she could afford a 30 foot sailboat - she had the $30k for the boat in savings, but would have to pay $420 a month for the marina fees. But this lady only brought home $1600 a month! I think she definitely would regret paying a quarter of her money for this boat. And there was another woman who wanted to buy a Quizno's franchise - but didn't have enough in savings to do it, or any idea where the money to pay the employees or keep the lights on would come from. She also said she'd never worked in the food business, so she probably has no idea what kind of costs go into running one. Clearly this woman cannot afford it from a financial perspective, as she doesn't have the money to pay even the startup fees, but she also can't afford to try to run this business even if she got a loan because she'd run through all the money immediately and have no plan. Who knows where she got the idea to buy a Quizno's franchise - wouldn't be surprised if she did some research on the costs and decided on it because the upfront cost was lower or something - but clearly she thought that it would start raking in the bucks immediately and she wouldn't have to front anything.