When it comes to personal finance, Suze Orman has one mantra: "People first, then money, then things".
Simply put, she takes a no nonsense approach to personal finance and investing.
She has worn many hats; waitress, restaurant owner, financial advisor, Vice-President of Investments, author, motivational speaker, and most recently television host and producer.
She is a frequent guest host for PBS pledge drives, as well as The Oprah Winfrey Show.
For those who have never seen it, there was a segment called "Can I Afford It". Callers would ask if they could buy some luxury item that they had their hearts set on.
Suze then asks several personal finance questions, which almost always led to some sort of financial "skeleton in the closet" to be relieved.
And at that point, she would tell the caller that their request was DENIED, and they should absolutely NOT spend their money on whatever it is they wanted to buy.
Here was someone giving people the answers they needed to hear, in a straight-forward, no-room-for-interpretation way.
Some people might find her tone a bit too harsh. But when it comes to money, our minds are clouded by emotion, and sometimes, that is just what it takes.
Needless to say, I loved it.
She invested $50,000 using the advice of her stockbroker, and subsequently watched it disappear.
At this point, most of us would agree that we could have done a better job than our stockbroker. The difference is that she decided to put her money where her mouth was, and actually did it.
7 years later, after advancing to the position of Vice-President of Investments, she started her own financial planning firm.
But things weren't always great on her way to the top. Before she became the no nonsense financial advisor to the world, she fell on hard times and serious debt after a professional meltdown.
Suze ran up HUGE credit card debts, tapped her 401(k), had a leased BMW, and refinanced her mortgage...all in the pursuit of "things".
Like many other self-made financial success stories, coming out of the darkest days are the times when you learn the most. Once she got honest with herself, she was able to turn her life around.
28 years later, her net worth was believed to be greater than 20 million dollars.