I know I keep telling you that I don’t watch TV anymore. Well, I don’t. I won’t sit on the couch each evening and flip from channel to channel in order to check out whether there’s something decent on. However, there are a couple of shows I like to watch and I’ll watch those online after the show has aired.
I especially like shows that are about helping people to get out of debt. I watched the third episode of a Dutch show yesterday and I was dumbfounded about the couple’s attitude. I’ll explain the situation since a lot of readers don’t speak Dutch and can’t comprehend what’s going on in this episode.
So, there’s this couple with six kids living in a very nicely decorated house. She works two low-income jobs and he’s followed his passion: music. Now there’s music and there’s music. This guy is an “entrepreneur” and he rents out DJ gear for parties and festivities. However, the thing that he loves the most is renting out himself as a DJ, but then the keyboard version. He likes to sing (with a very bad English accent) all night long at these parties. That in and of itself wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was that he hadn’t made ANY profit for the past years!
Then, the team comes in and tries to make the couple face the facts with the numbers they extracted from their messed up administration. Turns out the couple are €55.000 in debt and owe different creditors! They had no clue. Then the monthly numbers. Turns out they spend €1.500 a month more than they earn. Ouch! Again, they had no idea (as is always the case with participants in this show).
After that reality check the hosts tried to find out what kind of debts they were in. They took out extra credit for a new kitchen, furniture and other embellishments for their house. (It’s sad that most of the participants in this show have such beautiful homes, you’d think they’d have their finances under control and live the dream life. If only people didn’t want to “keep up with the Joneses”) There were also some tickets that weren’t paid for and of course they spent lots of money on crap. The worst thing was that the day after their first meeting with the hosts they bought a kitten for their daughter. OMG! These people really don’t understand how much something costs.
Anyway, the hosts asked why they were in debt. The couple didn’t think they did anything wrong. They started blaming other people. They blamed their bank for having sold them this huge mortgage and extra credit. They blamed their former accountants for never giving them the right numbers. They blamed all the people that told them they would “help them” and it then turned out that they weren’t their saviors after all. They blamed the fact that the wife earned so little to the fact that she didn’t have a degree, so she was helpless about that. They also couldn’t do their own finances, because they just didn’t understand how to do that they said. I was flabbergasted while listening to their poor excuses. The fact is that they live beyond their means, buy stuff they don’t need, have multiple cars and still believe in the husband’s dream. The only ones to blame for their situation….well, you can sort of guess my thoughts on that?!
A plan of action was presented by the hosts. She needed to go out and work more in order to fetch more money or find a better paid job. After some whining and shedding some tears she went to her employer and asked for more hours. Great! They told the husband to go out and find a full-time job in order to get out of this debt situation. The husband simply refused this. He wanted to work a job for a couple of days a week, but not full-time. The hosts presented the couple with two different scenarios. In the first scenario the husband would work full-time (they even arranged a job for him!) and then they would have €500 a month left in order to get started on paying off their debts. In the second scenario the husband would work part-time and they would still be €500 short each month and thus risk losing everything.
Guess what they chose??? You’re right, option number two! The hosts were really pissed off (usually at the end of the show people will have grudgingly accepted the new frugal ideas and there’s hope) and walked away from the situation. I think they made the right choice, I would have done the same. They worked their butts off for these people.
I guess that a couple of months from now they’ll be evicted from their home, lose everything and will go through this three-year debt sanitation program we have here in The Netherlands. I just couldn’t understand the wife who just let her husband take that decision for the both of them.
Once more I can only conclude that getting out of debt and making sure you’re financially safe is about a mindset and an attitude. The greatest lessons to be learned here were:
You can’t blame anybody else for your financial situation. There’s no conspiracy against you having a debt-free life. It’s all about the choices you made, make and will make.
You need to stop whining and take action. Stop being a complainypants and take control of your life.
Nobody will take care of your money as well as you can. Personal finance is not rocket science. Anybody can do this. Again, this is a choice you need to make.
Hopefully next week there will be more hope at the end of the show.