Financial guru Suze Orman revealed that she is a lesbian and has been with her partner, Kathy Travis, for seven years.
During the interview, which covered her latest book, Women and Money, due out at the end of this month, writer Deborah Solomon asked Orman if she is married, and Orman replied initially, “I’m in a relationship with life.”
Orman was born on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, in 1951 to Russian-Jewish immigrants Ann and Morry Orman. Orman came from a working class background and has said that she did not “grow up with money.” 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.
In 1998, Forbes magazine reported that Orman had misrepresented her credentials, and criticized some of her advice as simplistic. 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 had seven.
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. In her books, her advice, as well, has come under considerable fire for its simplistic and facile nature. For example, one of her money-making tips is “look for spare change in your clothes.”