Money Lessons from “Til Debt Do Us Part”

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Debt Management Help for Couples

Debt Management Help for Couples

Ninety percent of marriages that end in divorce fail, at least in part, because of money problems. Now, there is a TV show on CNBC called “Til Debt Do Us Part” that helps couples in financial crisis get their financial lives in order.

“Til Debt Do Us Part” is hosted by Gail Vaz-Oxlade, an experienced financial planner who specializes in helping married couples get out of debt and secure their financial futures. The show explores the challenges faced by couples who are buried in debt and examines the underlying relationship issues that often lead to financial trouble.

For example, there’s the couple who has moved from house to house as the husband chased higher-paying jobs, only to end up with $80,000 of consumer debt. Or the young couple who doesn’t know how much money they make (the husband’s business has extremely poor record-keeping practices). Or even the couple that doesn’t know how to budget and is still living the lifestyle of a two-income family even though the wife has been staying home with the children for the past year – racking up thousands of dollars in debt along the way.

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Gail Vaz-Oxlade forces each couple to agree to a strict cash-only budget – no credit cards. The family is given a set of jars to hold their weekly cash amounts – for example, $150 a week for groceries, $37.50 a week for transportation, $20 a week for clothes and gifts. Gail motivates each couple to slash their discretionary spending – sometimes up to 70 to 80 percent – and get on a long-term plan to get out of debt and save for their future.

Here are a few debt management lessons from Til Debt Do Us Part, which any married couple might find useful:

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Communication is key

Many of the couples on the show are not doing a good job of communicating with each other about their financial lives. Often they have given up on each other; they might think their partners don’t care or don’t know how to manage money, so one partner starts to take over all the financial decisions, often with disastrous results.

Work as a team

Every relationship is like a joint business venture – when you share your finances, you’re in it together and you’re going to succeed or fail as a team.

Cash is king

Many of the couples on the show got in financial trouble because they were relying only on credit cards – and as a result, they had no real idea how much they were spending or where their money was going. By going on a cash-only budget (literally taking money out of a glass jar each week to pay for gas or groceries), the couples have to re-examine their priorities and discover the true costs of their lifestyles.

It’s not how much you earn, it’s how much you save that counts

Most of the couples on the show are not “poor,” per se; many of them earn $80,000 a year or more. Some of them live in really nice houses, drive fancy cars and get expensive hairstyles and manicures. But the reality is, they’re living lifestyles they can’t really afford. It doesn’t matter how much money you make; if you live beyond your means, you’re not going to be financially secure.The only reliable way to build wealth is to spend less than you earn.

You can catch “Til Death Do Us Part” on CNBC on Saturday at 10pm ET and 10:30pm ET, and on Sunday at 1am ET and 1:30am ET.

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Are you ready to get informed and take more control of your financial life? Get great debt management tools and advice at, including a Debt Payoff Planner that will show you exactly what you need to do to get out of debt faster and save potentially thousands in interest.

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