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Summary of MTV True Life: I’m In Debt

Last night the wife and I sat down to watch MTV True Life: I’m in debt. This news documentary followed three twenty-somethings and their struggles with debt. MTV did a good job picking the least sympathetic people to follow. Be prepared for some snarky remarks.

First, we have Amy, a twenty-two year old who as accumulated $14,000 worth of credit card debt. She has been able to make payments and as a consequence she has creditors calling her all day, everyday. She works for an “up and coming” model agency/recording studio called Lifestyle. In reality it was three dudes working out of their house. She never got paid. Idiot. Her dad suggests getting a job with the city. Good pay, nice benefits, everything she needs to get her out of debt. No dice. According to Amy, a job with a city would “take too much time.” What? Can somebody smack this kid? There was this one scene where she was working on her resume with her mom, but then her friends came over. What did Amy do? She left and let her mom finish her resume for her. By the end of the show, Amy finally found a job after being unemployed for six months. She’s now working at a health club.

Next, we have twenty five year old Daniel. Out of the three girls, she seemed to have her head on her shoulders the most. Her problem was that she bought a condo when things were going well for her financially. But she lost her job and is now having trouble paying her mortgage. She works at a bar and makes decent money there. She has also taken to eating frugally. Her diet consists of Ramen and tuna fish. By the end of the show, she was making enough to pay mortgage on time.

Finally, we have twenty-one year old Ashley. Out of the three girls, she frustrated me the most. She accumulated over $20,000 in credit card debt and can’t make the payments because she’s only working part time. Instead of taking on a second job to help pay off her debts, what does Ashley decide to do? What any responsible American would do. File chapter 7 bankruptcy. What killed me is that she went to a credit counselor and developed a plan so she could consolidate her debt and still have money to live off of. However, for Ashley that was going to take too long and the money left over wasn’t enough for her. The girl was living with her parents, so didn’t have to worry about expenses. She just wanted more disposable income. I can’t believe she sacrificed her credit score for the next ten years, which could consequently effect her ability to get a job or rent an apartment, just so she could go tanning. Idiot.

I can’t believe how stupid people are with money, especially people from my generation. What’s the walk away lesson from the show?

  1. Limit your spending.
  2. Get a job or even a second.
  3. Get an education.
  4. Don’t incur more debt.

Nothing new here. You’d think this is basic financial advice, but for many young people it’s advanced quantum physics.

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