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suze orman success story

Suze Orman, a highly successful personal finance expert and advisor, is best known for her TV show, podcast, and numerous New York Times bestsellers. In the late 80’s, she founded the Suze Orman Financial Group. And she eventually ran a show on CNBC for 13 years where she shared helpful financial tips so people could learn how to manage their money better.

Time has named Orman one of the Top 100 most influential people on multiple occasions, and she has won numerous awards. Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about success and money, which is why we’ve decided to publish the Suze Orman Success Story in more detail.

“People First, Then Money, Then Things.”

– suze orman –

It is important to take a closer look at why some people are more successful than others. That way, we can learn from some of the mistakes that they made without having to make them ourselves, while also following in the footsteps of what made them successful. Indeed, just about every success story leaves a blueprint.

Having said that, this Suze Orman’s success story is not straightforward. However, by taking a closer look at her journey we can find some inspiration, and maybe even discover a few success clues along the way that can help us move our dreams forward.


Suze Orman Story of Success

Early Days: Speech Issues Make Life Hard

Suze Orman was born in Chicago, IL in 1951 to immigrant parents from eastern Europe. While growing she had a difficult time pronouncing letters such as R, S, and T. This meant that she had a hard time learning how to say certain words. For example, she had difficulty saying the word “beautiful,” and she had trouble saying words like “fair” and “shouldn’t” properly.[1]

Because she could not speak very well, she also could not read very well. She was consistently among the lowest-scoring students in the class in reading and writing, and she was often ostracized from the rest of her classmates because of her low test scores. 

Barely Scraping By: Going To College

Even though she scored poorly on tests, including the SAT, she decided to go to college anyway. Her family was having a difficult time with money. While some students had parents who could pay for their education, and other students were receiving scholarships because of their academic achievements, Suze Orman had neither.

Her parents were struggling to get by, and she knew she would have to pay for her college education herself. That meant that she had to put in the work to apply to all the state schools and community colleges.

To her surprise, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign accepted her.

When Suze Orman walked through the school doors for the first time, she met a guidance counselor who would guide her in her class choices. Her dream was to be a brain surgeon. However, the guidance counselor immediately thought that she did not have what it took.

So, Orman got to work doing some research. She realized that the easiest major was social work, as such, that’s what she signed up for.[2]

The Language Issues Resurface

She knew that she needed to make enough money to pay for her college education, so she got a job working in the dish room of her college dorm seven days per week just to make enough money to pay the bills. She even shared a one-bedroom apartment with two friends she had met in her dorm.

Even though her social life was looking up, her language skills would eventually come back to haunt her. Even though her expected graduation year was 1973, she could not graduate. She did not have her language requirement, and this time, it would be a foreign language.

Suze Orman knew that she was having a difficult time speaking the English language, so how on Earth would she learn a foreign language? So she decided not to put herself through the trauma, and essentially dropped out of college.

But all of her hopes and dream weren’t crushed. She still had a passion for travel and adventure. So she set off to travel across the country to see the Grand Canyon. 

She would have to make enough money to hitchhike across the country, so she worked some odd jobs as she explored everything the country had to offer. Eventually, she felt ashamed of not finishing her college degree, so she decided to take some Spanish classes at one of the local universities.

Finally, in 1976, three whole years after her scheduled graduation, she graduated and earned her degree from the University of Illinois. 

A Desire To Own Her Own Restaurant

One of the jobs that she worked while she explored the country was waitressing. While she enjoyed it, she wanted to own her own restaurant. Her parents did not have the money to finance her restaurant, and she did not know what she would do.

She talked to her brother, who gave her some money, along with numerous other generous people to help her make her dream come true. Orman eventually collected over $50K from friends and patrons who supported her dream.

One of her patron’s advised her to deposit the money into a money market account. However, a bad-seed at the brokerage where she went to deposit the money, advised her to instead invest the funds into a speculative and high-risk investment so she could earn more money from her invested money while she saved the rest to meet her savings goal.

Sadly, just three months after she put the money in the account, it was all gone. All of the money given to her by her patron Fred, and her other supporters had been drained through those speculative investments. She believed her dream was within reach, and then suddenly, she lost the money.

This prompted Suze Orman to decide that she did not want something like this to happen to anybody else, so she decided to become a financial advisor. Orman felt like there were not a lot of female role models from which to learn, so she decided to change that fact by getting into the financial advising industry.

Founding the Suze Orman Financial Group

So in short order, she decided to join Merrill Lynch, where she completed her training. After some time she moved overt to Prudential securities to become a vice-president, and then after she felt like she really knew her stuff, she resigned and founded her own financial group.[3]

After leading numerous customers and clients to financial success, demand grew for her services. In fact, demand for her services grew so fast, that her financial group became the go-to for financial advising.

Thus, in short order she became a household name, especially when she started writing books. Suze Orman has since written ten consecutive New York Times bestsellers about personal finance. She has also earned two Emmy Awards and eight Gracie Awards.

She’s also appeared as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live nearly 30 times. And she gained her greatest fame for her show on CNBC.

These days, Suze Orman still pops up on various shows or podcasts, offering her helpful insights to all who listen.

Related: Suze Orman Quotes

Final Thoughts

So, there it is. The Suze Orman story. No doubt, her journey is rife with lots of challenges and adventures, but it is also one filled with helpful advice on how everyone, including you, can navigate an eventful life where everything doesn’t goes as planned, to eventually coming out on top as a success, both financially and professionally.

That said, if if you’re looking to learn more about Suze Orman and her wonderful financial philosophy, her website is a good place to start.

Till you reach your aims,


PS – If you enjoyed this Suze Orman success story, then you’ll probably enjoy learning about the success journeys of fellow financial experts like Dave Ramsey or Robert Kiyosaki.

The STRIVE is on a mission to inspire and uplift 1 billion people by 2032. Our primary aim is to help as many people as possible believe in the uncommon thought, that they can be more than they are, do more than they've done, and achieve more prosperity than they've ever dreamed possible. Let's achieve the impossible together.