Debt reduction has become reality TV. I have no idea if this is a new show or one that has been around for awhile (remember, I’ve been in Japan), but I came across a reality TV show called “Big Spender” on the cable channel A&E (Sunday Nights, 5:30pm EST)
Now this is not a show that is helpful for the average person trying to get their finances in order as it focuses on people who are extremes. For example, here is the information for the July 16 ans 23 episodes:
Sunday, July 16 @ 5:30pm/4:30C: Lourdes and James’ financial reality is a far cry from the image they maintain. They’re fancy furnishings, elaborate wedding and brand-name clothing habit have them over $400,000 in debt and on the path to bankruptcy. Have they gone too far or can our personal money expert Larry Winget save them from themselves before they hit rock bottom?
Sunday, July 23 @ 5:30pm/4:30C: Every single day Jessica shops. Every single day she puts her family more in debt. Her shopping problem is so severe, that she has racked up over 50 credit cards and almost $94,000 worth of debt. The birth of her twins last year has done little to slow down her spending. But, it has begun to affect her relationship with her partner Denise. Our personal money management expert Larry Winget comes in to rescue these two from the financial crisis that’s threatening their future and their family.
While entertaining in the fact it’s hard to believe that people live so beyond their means, it’s unfortunate that it doesn’t help the average person trying to get their finances in order. While it might make most people feel good knowing that there are people far worse off than them, it doesn’t give the viewer the tools to take information away and apply it to their less extreme situation (at least the episode I saw).
It seems that TV has decided that it is only extreme cases which have entertainment value rather than providing solid information. When someone is spending $1000 a month on designer clothes which they can’t afford, giving advice to stop buying those clothes is correct, but it doesn’t apply to 99% of those watching the show and isn’t helpful in any way to them…