The daughter of a working-class Chicago-area deli owner, Suze Orman developed an attitude of self-determinism at an early age, and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she earned her degree in social work. In the early '70s, Orman joined some friends, piled into a van and moved to Berkeley, CA, where she took a job as a waitress at the local Buttercup Bakery (and reportedly only made 400 dollars a month); when the restaurant blossomed under her, its growth inspired her to borrow 50,000 dollars from friends to start her own business, a combination spa and restaurant. Instead, she took the money, invested it with Merrill Lynch, and promptly lost it all -- but undaunted, decided to go to work for Lynch as an alternate option. A series of related financial planning jobs followed (including a much coveted VP post at Prudential Bache Securities) until Orman left to found her own financial planning firm and author a series of best-selling books on fiscal management beginning in 1997. She also extended her activities into home video, emceeing a series of instructional programs including Suze Orman: The Road to Wealth (2001) , Suze Orman: The Laws of Money, The Lessons of Life (2003) and Suze Orman: For the Young, Fabulous and Broke (2005).