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Maxed Out 2009-03-16 04:30:55

Maxed Out: Financial Dependency Prevents Marriage


This episode of Maxed Out is about Lisa and AJ, a couple living together in a lopsided financial relationship. AJ covers most of their shared bills because Lisa can't pay her half — she has more than $52,000 in debt and a bad shopping habit, while AJ has no debt to his name. He says Lisa needs to get her debt down to a manageable place before they can consider marriage, and this makes Lisa upset. AJ longs to go back to school, but Lisa's debt is standing in the way; he can't save for tuition because he's paying twice his share in bills. Find out more about their financial situation when you read more.

Lisa is a waitress making $1,100 a month, and she spends the $600 she makes in tips without ever depositing the money into her account. She's only paying $89 a month to her debt, and financial guru Allison Griffiths determines that at the rate Lisa is going her debt will grow to $100,000 in five years time. That's nearly twice as much, and AJ is visibly overwhelmed with the news.

Allison instructs the couple to each take out $50 a week and track how they are spending the cash. She tells Lisa to put her tip money in the bank, sell some of her 40 pairs of shoes to a consignment store, and gives her three weeks to earn more money so she can contribute 50 percent of the bills and pay down more debt. Allison instructs AJ to open a separate savings account to make monthly deposits toward going back to school.

At the end of the episode, Lisa has quit her job as a waitress for a higher paying job at a salon, and AJ is earning more money because of a promotion and more overtime hours. Lisa is making much larger payments toward her debt, and their goals of marriage, a mortgage, and education seem more in reach.

What's your take on the situation and resolution at the end of the episode? Do you think they have taken the proper steps to make their relationship work and work themselves out of debt?

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