When I’m home on Saturday nights, I usually make a point to watch the Suze Orman Show. I don’t know why, but I really like it. I think it’s Suze’s approach to discussing peoples’ financial situations with them – she doesn’t mince words, and she calls people out when they’re misrepresenting something in their finances.
Anyway, there’s a new show on after Suze called Til Debt Do Us Part. It features married couples who are really deeply in debt and who are typically facing issues in their relationship due to financial issues. It’s hosted by a woman named Gail Vaz-Oxlade; I’m not sure what her background is, but I’m not a huge fan of her. I don’t think she delves deeply enough into each couple’s financial situation, and I don’t like that the couple has to complete her stupid “challenges” throughout the show, which are usually some kind of dumb, physical game. I know that this is meant to attract audiences who aren’t really “into” finances and want to see something entertaining, but I think it sends a bad message to viewers, namely that money issues aren’t serious and you just have to play some games to overcome whatever problems you have. Turning your financial situation around is hard and money problems aren’t something to laugh about – anything that gives people another impression is a little bit irresponsible, in my opinion.
Aside from disliking the host and the basic principles of the show, I still find it fascinating because of the situations some of these people have gotten themselves into. For example, the couple Saturday night (I can’t remember their names..) had a mortgage and had consolidated their other debts into a second mortgage….and then had run up their credit cards again. They were up to their ears in debt, and (understandably) it was starting to interfere with their relationship. On the one hand, I always look at these situations and think: how could you! How could you overextend yourself this way?! How could two people – after all, it isn’t just one person’s irresponsible actions in this circumstance – do this to themselves?! Couldn’t one of you have stopped it?!
And then on the other hand I think: this could have been me. As much as it disgusts me now, I so identify with the way these couples are dealing with money, trying to just ignore the problem and keep spending as they always had. I’m so glad I realized the path that I was on and am now taking steps to improve my finances before I get married so that I’m someday able to manage a family budget responsibly. I’ve never written about my “moment” before, the moment I realized that I was headed for financial disaster if I didn’t change my ways. Maybe I will in another post, but I do know this: it happened before I became one of these couples, and thank goodness it didn’t have to happen on national T.V. And for this I am very thankful.
In terms of other personal finance-related T.V. shows, I also really like The Bank of Mom and Dad. My only complaint about that show is that they never focus on young guys, it’s only young girls. I know a lot of guys who are screwing up their finances pretty badly…couldn’t they present a more balanced view?
Do you watch PF T.V? If so, which programs?
BTW – I took tomorrow off, so I am now officially on Thanksgiving break. Yahoo!