Bank of Mom and Dad: Wasteful Wheels

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Each week on SOAPnet’s new original reality series Bank of Mom and Dad, a twenty-something woman who is drowning in debt must pay the ultimate price ... letting her parents move in! With the assistance of money coach Farnoosh Torabi (that's me), Mom and Dad will teach their daughter to rethink her spending habits and transform her relationship with money.

This week former NFL cheerleader Julie Tempest and her $35,000 debt load take the spotlight. Her car loan, by itself, is more than $20,000 and her credit card balances amount to more than $10,000. The 27-year-old part-time dental assistant from Jersey City, N.J., is so broke that she’s been leaning on her mom Denise and brother Chad to make basic ends — from rent to food — to meet.

Mom’s been dipping into her pension to pay Julie’s monthly bills and Chad has agreed to let Julie sleep on his couch, since she can’t afford her own place. But enough is enough. Her family is unable to keep up with their financial support. Meantime Julie shows no signs of slowing down her free-fall spending and addressing her debt. I spent the week with the Bank of Mom and Chad coaching Julie with the following advice:

Make More Money. Julie’s not working enough and her income shows it. Her part-time dental assistant position brings in an average $1,380 a month. To keep up with her bills, pay her monthly minimums on her credit cards and start saving for her own place, Julie will need to bring in at least an extra $300 a month — at least! To inspire her to make more money, Mom and Chad arranged to have Julie teach a couple of classes at a local cheerleading school for kids. The managers at the school thought Julie did a nice job and said they would consider hiring her for some shifts. The takeaway: When you need extra money consider a part-time job that lets you turn an existing skill into a revenue stream.

Sell Your Car. This is a recurring issue on Bank of Mom & Dad as some young women have car payments exceeding half their take-home pay. In Julie’s case, her fancy sport car is not really affordable unless she begins earning an extra $800 a month. This was the hardest reality for Julie to face, since she has a deep attachment to her car. When she’s in her car, she feels richer than she is. It’s an abusive relationship, I explained to her. The car is preventing her from addressing bigger financial problems and to get on with her life.

Don’t Wait for Prince Charming. Julie has admitted to being financially dependent on ex-boyfriends and that part of her hopes that her money woes will go away once she marries a rich man. She has seen many of her cheerleading friends leave the NFL and settle down with wealthy husbands and Julie sometimes hopes for the same, mainly so that she can be financially free. But what she doesn’t realize is that she is the only one who can save herself and that being in debt is not attractive. With the help of a dating and matchmaking expert, Mom and Chad were able to drive the point home and make Julie think long and hard about her dependency issues.

Catch a new episode of Bank of Mom and Dad Wednesdays at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. Central) on SOAPnet.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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