Suze Orman was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 5, 1951. She received a B.A. in social work from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1976. Before starting her own financial planning firm, she was an account executive at Merrill Lynch and a vice-president of investments for Prudential-Bache Securities. She is a columnist for Self magazine, a contributing editor to O: The Oprah Magazine, and hosts The Suze Orman Show. She has written several financial books including The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom: Practical and Spiritual Steps So You Can Stop Worrying, You've Earned It, Don't Lose It: Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make When You Retire, Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan, and The Money Class: How to Stand in Your Truth and Create the Future You Deserve. She received the National Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign and the Amelia Earhart Award for her message of financial empowerment for women in 2008.