Suze Orman

“Many people are in the dark when it comes to money, and I’m going to turn on the lights.” ~Suze Orman

Although she does not exclusively speak to women, personal finance guru Suze Orman has built a career on self-help rivaling that of Richard Simmons or Tony Robinson.  After becoming a successful financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, Suze became a prolific author of financial advice books and went on to become an Oprah expert and eventually hosting her own show.  Today she is worth millions and came from the humblest of beginnings.

In Katie Couric’s book, The Best Advice I Ever Got, Suze Orman reveals her story.  When she was in her 20s, she was a café waitress. She loved her job but wanted to start her own bakery someday.  When she realized she would never have the money to start a business, she became sad and frustrated.  After sharing her feelings with a regular group of customers in the finance industry, the men got together and raised $50,000 on her behalf.  Stunned, she took the money to Merrill Lynch, where an advisor tricked her into putting it into a high risk investment fund.  The money was lost, and in a fury Orman demanded a job from the advisor’s boss.  Everyone thought she would fail, but in the end, she became the top-performing advisor in the office by making the best decisions for her client’s interests.

Today, Suze Orman hosts a television show on CNBC and writes regularly for the Huffington Post.  She is the author of ten books on personal finance and has produced PBS specials on seven of them.  Last year Orman became an outspoken supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  She also launched her own prepaid debit card that send text message warnings when users are spending too much.  Several websites have estimated her worth to be $35 million and she earns about $10 million a year.  But the real impact of Suze Orman lies with the thousands of men and women she has helped climb out of personal debt.