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Who is Suze Orman?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 23, 2024
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Suze Orman is a well known American financial expert, entrepreneur and media personality. She was born Susan Lynn Orman to Russian-Jewish parents on 5 June, 1951 in Chicago, Illinois. Suze has written many best-selling books on finance as well as hosted her own award-winning television show, The Suze Orman Show. She teaches Americans how to handle their finances, investments, credit and banking.

As a child, Suze had a speech impediment and this made speaking and reading difficult for her. Despite this, she went on to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign. However, Suze lacked one foreign language class need to finish her degree in social work. She moved to Berkeley, California in 1973 after traveling there in a van with friends from Chicago. Suze worked at the Buttercup Bakery while taking a Spanish class to finish her degree.

While at the Buttercup Bakery, Suze dreamed of starting her own restaurant business, and one of her bakery customers loaned her $50,000 US Dollars (USD). She invested the money with the financial firm Merrill Lynch. The broker handling her account lost all of her money. Suze then applied at Merrill Lynch for a job since her waitress work at the Buttercup Bakery didn't pay enough to allow her to pay her customer back for the lost money.

After convincing Merrill Lynch to hire her, Suze Orman studied the subject of finance and learned all she could. She sued Merrill Lynch for losing her money and won enough in a settlement to pay her customer back the $50,000 USD. Merrill Lynch was unable to fire her because of the lawsuit and Suze continued to work as a stock broker for the company.

In 1983, Suze Orman left Merrill Lynch and became Vice President of Investments at Prudential Bache Securities. In 1987, she resigned from that position and started the Suze Orman Financial Group. Suze spent ten years as Director of her company before beginning to write books and do public speaking on the subject of finance. Her books include The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom and The Courage to Be Rich.

Six of Orman's books became New York Times Best Sellers and she hosted television specials and appeared on talk shows before hosting The Suze Orman Show. In 2007, Business Week Magazine called Suze Orman America's top female motivational speaker. In May of 2008 Orman was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 World's Most Influential People.

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