Many in the financial planning community loathe Suze Orman. SheĆ­s laughing all the way to the bank.

Scott Dauenhauer, an independent financial advisor in Laguna Hills, Calif., groaned. Across the table sat a wealthy middle-aged woman, a prospective client, bearing a copy of Suze Orman's The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom. "She grilled me on Orman's stuff, basically deciding whether to hire me based on how much I agreed with Suze," he says.

It wasn't too hard for Dauenhauer, who works strictly on an hourly basis, to convince the woman that he was not the kind of money-sucking financial advisor slammed by Orman in her books and on her radio and TV shows. He even pointed out his differences with the wildly successful best-selling author-and still got the job.

But he couldn't help feeling a little raked over the coals. "Actually, I do agree with a lot of what she says and I occasionally recommend her to clients, especially if they're having emotional issues around debt."

But other advisors aren't so sanguine. "She puts down other advisors, especially those who work on commission, as a way of inflating her own image and ego-and selling more books," says Kevin A. Lacassin, a financial advisor with New Orleans-based Planning Associates of Louisiana.

For her part, Orman, who recently spoke with Financial Advisor about how she is portrayed by planners, can't understand what all the fuss is about. In her opinion, the criticism is all a great big misunderstanding motivated by jealousy and defensiveness. Speaking directly to advisors, she says: "If you could only see that I am your ally, not your enemy, my dear fellow planners. I want you to be as successful as you ever dreamed possible-as long as you do it ethically. And I have always said that a good financial planner is worth his weight in gold."

Somehow that positive message has been lost on advisors-and more important, on consumers. On her TV show for CNBC, where she is now the personal finance editor, Orman routinely disparages other financial advisors as "crooks" and "sheep." On one show, she urged a female caller to "put that advisor on the back burner-and turn up the flame."

It's not surprising, then, that advisors have taken offense. And they're not alone. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has sent her threatening letters for allegedly violating its code of ethics by dissing other professionals, a charge she and her lawyers have fought. "So far I've been vindicated, but I'll probably lose my license one of these days," she sighs.

No matter. Orman knows what side her bread is buttered on. "The public loves me and they trust me," she says. "It's hard to argue with success."

She may have a point. Browse any bookstore in America, and you'll find her picture beaming wide-eyed from the covers of three New York Times best-selling books. Surf over to her Web site and buy her long-term care insurance. Flip on the tube and you're as likely to find her plugging PBS as touting her own books and tapes on QVC. She holds the shopping network's all-time sales record for having once unloaded 30,000 books in one hour.

And if you haven't gotten enough of Suze yet, you will. She's on her way to a town near you. This spring she'll be touring the military bases and strip malls of America in her very own rock-n-roll tour bus emblazoned with the name of her latest book, Laws of Money, Lessons of Life, due to hit bookstores in March. "An author of my stature doesn't have to do book tours to sell books," Orman points out with an unabashed sense of self-importance. "This is my way to keep in touch with the people who made me what I am."

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