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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Who is Susan Lynn Orman?

Who is Susan Lynn Orman? The world knows her as Suze Orman, she is an American financial advisor, author, motivational speaker, and television host.[2]
She is the host of The Suze Orman Show on CNBC. She has written six consecutive New York Times Best Sellers; has written, co-produced, and hosted six PBS specials based on her books; and is the most successful fundraiser in the history of public television.[3] Similar programs that she hosts on QVC, the leading home shopping network, also place her as the top seller.[4] In 2004 and 2006, Orman won two daytime Emmy Awards in the category of Outstanding Service Show Host for her PBS specials. Over her television career, she has won five Gracie Awards, more than anyone in the 33-year history of the awards.[5] In 2008, she was selected by Time magazine as one of the most influential people in the world.

While she has proven herself a wealth of information about credit and very general financial issues, Orman's understanding of comprehensive financial planning is extremely lacking; commonly espousing increasingly popular, though ill-conceived, criticisms of tried-and-true conventional financial wisdom, such as the tremendous value of permanent life insurance products and annuities applied in appropriate situations. Most of her advice has either tended to coincide with fundamental concepts held by virtually all financial advisors, or has ranged somewhere in value between worthlessly generic to completely wrong.
Orman's publications and television program have been touted as invaluable sources of information on general financial concepts, but most experts agree that reliance upon them as personal advice without personally consulting an advisor is, at best, extremely hazardous.
Senior MarketWatch columnist Chuck Jaffe states that Orman "scores very high on the personality index, but very low on the knowledge and understanding of the complex issues that face a lot of her audience. She's giving generic, simple solutions to people's most difficult problems, and judging from her [own personal investment] portfolio she's taking them on a path she really hasn't traveled herself."

Orman was born June 5, 1951 on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, in 1951 to Russian-Jewish immigrants Ann and Morry Orman, who ran a deli in Hyde Park.[6][7] Orman came from a working class background and has said that she did not "grow up with money."[6][8] She was an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, from which she holds a B.A. in social work. In 1973, she moved with friends to Berkeley, California and lived for three months in a van on Hearst Avenue. She soon became a waitress at the Buttercup Bakery on College Avenue. In 1980, a longtime customer gave Orman a loan of $50,000 to help her fulfill her dream of opening her own restaurant. Orman invested the money at Merrill Lynch, but four months later was broke again, after she was swindled by her stockbroker.[9][10]

Knowing that she couldn't make the money back as a waitress, and having started learning more about finances and investing, Orman returned to Merrill Lynch and entered their training program to become an account executive. She discovered through her training that her stockbroker had committed an illegal act and she thus sued Merrill Lynch. Suze received the entire $50,000 back plus interest and was able to pay back her former customer. After she completed the training, she was hired by the firm and remained there until 1983 when she left to take a position as a vice president of investments at Prudential Bache Securities. In 1987, Orman resigned and opened her own financial planning firm, the Suze Orman Financial Group, in Emeryville, California. She acted as director of the firm until 1997, when she stepped down as her writing career took off with the publication of her second book.[9]

You've Earned It, Don't Lose It: Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make When You Retire (with Linda Mead) (1997)

The Courage to Be Rich (1998)

The Road to Wealth (2001)

The Laws of Money, the Lessons of Life... (2003)

The Money Book for the Young Fabulous and Broke (2005)

Women and Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny (2007)

Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan (2009)

Orman has a Q&A advice section in Oprah Winfrey's monthly magazine O, alongside Dr. Phil's advice section. She is the former author of a biweekly column entitled "Money Matters" on Yahoo!'s finance website. For many years, she has contributed on a monthly basis to Costco Connection, a magazine published by the membership wholesaler. She is also a contributor to several other magazines and publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer, Lowes MoneyWorks, and Your Business at Home Magazine.[11][12]

Orman is also creator of a number of non-book products, primarily CD-ROM-based services that purport to offer education and various financial services. These include:
Suze Ormans FICO Kit – First offered in 2002 in conjunction with Fair Isaac Corporation.
Suze Orman's Will & Trust Kit – Introduced in 2005 with her personal trust attorney.
Suze Orman's Insurance Kit – Introduced in 2007.
Suze Orman's Protection Portfolio – First introduced in 2002, in third version.
Suze Orman's Identity Theft Kit – First offered in 2008, in conjunction with TrustedID, Inc.

Orman hosts a weekend financial planning show on CNBC called The Suze Orman Show.[13] She hosts another TV program on QVC called Suze Orman's Financial Freedom. Orman recently celebrated her 5th year on The Suze Orman Show and her 11th anniversary on QVC.
She won two Daytime Emmy Awards in 2004 and 2006 for her PBS pledge drive specials, The Laws of Money, The Lessons of Life and The Money Show for the Young, Fabulous, & Broke. Her catch phrases are "Self-worth equals net worth", "People first, then money, then things", and "Truth creates money. Lies destroy it." She ends each episode of The Suze Orman Show with "People first, then money, then things".
In early 2007, Orman launched a segment on The Suze Orman Show called "Can I Afford It?" During the segment viewers call in to the show and tell Orman what they want to buy – such as an engagement ring, car, or HDTV – then tell her their amount of income, savings, retirement savings, credit card debt, home loans, and other debt. Orman then determines if the caller can or can't afford the item, and explains why.
In February 2008, Orman appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and announced that her most recent book, Women and Money, would be available for free on Oprah's website for 33 hours. Over 1 million people downloaded the book. She also appeared on the Wendy Williams.

In an April 2008 online interview with the The Young Turks, Orman stated that her net worth is more than $10 million. In an interview discussing her own investment portfolio, Orman shared the details of her personal strategy. It is highly conservative compared with traditional investment theory, which emphasizes asset diversification and a significant allocation to equities for long-term growth. Orman stated: "I have a million dollars in the stock market because if I lose a million dollars, I don't personally care. I buy zero-coupon municipal bonds, and all the bonds I buy are triple-A rated and insured so even if the city goes under, I get my money. I take a little lower interest rate to make sure my bonds are 100 percent safe and sound."[14]
In July 2008, CNBC began airing new weeknight editions of The Suze Orman Show. Orman has been featured on the Food Network's Paula's Party alongside RuPaul.

In 1998, Forbes magazine reported that Orman had misrepresented her credentials, and criticized some of her advice as simplistic.[15] For example, her book claimed that she had a current Commodity Trading Advisor license, when in fact it had lapsed, and some of her materials stated she had eighteen years of experience working with Wall Street institutions when she had seven.[15] The San Francisco Chronicle ran a follow-up article in which a representative of Orman stated that the book's publisher, Crown, used inaccurate information without Orman's knowledge.[16]

In February 2007, Orman told The New York Times Magazine that she is a lesbian.[17] Her partner of seven years is Kathy Travis, a co-producer on The Suze Orman Show.[17][18][19][20] In the interview, Orman said that she wishes she could marry her partner partly because it could save them both a lot of money. She says, "It's killing me that upon death, K.T. is going to lose 50 percent of everything I have to estate taxes. Or vice versa."[17]

According to the Federal Election Commission, Suze Orman has donated money to the Democratic National Committee and to the 2000 senate campaign of Hillary Clinton (D-NY).[21]
In 2008, Orman donated $28,000 to the Democratic National Committee.[22] She stated in an interview with Larry King in 2008 she believes the U.S Democratic Party does a better job of managing the economy and proposing civil rights issues. She also said she is a huge admirer of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.[23]


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