Susan Lynn "Suze" Orman

portrait of Suze Orman
At "Time 100 Gala", photo by David Shankbone (3 May 2010)
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Born: 5 June 1951, Chicago, Illinois

Orman grew up in a middle-class Jewish family on the South Side of Chicago and earned a B.A. in social work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1976. She moved to Berkeley, California and worked as a waitress, at thirty she was still earning only $400 a month at the Buttercup Bakery. She must have been doing a good job, her customers loaned her $52,000 to start her own restaurant. While planning that, she invested the nest egg with Merrill Lynch; the broker chose to trade options with it and lost the entire amount. Orman then trained as an account executive at Merrill and learned that those trades had been clearly unsuited to her situation and sued the company. She couldn't legally be fired just for suing her employer, and Merrill settled. She also became very good at the job, in 1983 she was hired as vice president of investments at Prudential Bache. Four years later she started her own firm, wrote the first of a dozen books (she gave away a lot of them) and became a celebrity and motivational speaker. Some would ague that her advice is more spiritual than financial or that her work lacks sophistication, but for many people her accessible and understandable philosophy and her inspirational story are exactly what they need.

Biography from Wikipedia and Suze's Story from her website (PDF)

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