No. of Recommendations: 4
The richest woman in show business is now promoting good common fiscal sense for the great unwashed masses. A lot of the information is kind of glossed over, and her admonishions ring somewhat hollow coming from a multi-zillionaire, but it's a step in the right direction if people are willing to heed the call.

http://www2.oprah.com/money/debtdiet/money_debtdiet_main.jhtml
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No. of Recommendations: 14
it's a step in the right direction if people are willing to heed the call.

Hey, she got a whole lot of folks to start reading. Good for her for at least trying.

bigpix
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No. of Recommendations: 1
I saw the show (at home sick); one of her first sentences was something to the effect that many Americans are "living above their means". Ya think? The program showcased 3 couples with differing financial issues, but all 3 were massively in debt--it was appalling to watch, really. Many of the "fixes" for the debt these couples were facing are many of the things that we on this board do as a matter of fact--negotiating interest rate reduction on credit cards as an example. (One couple had FIVE cars--for two drivers!! I'm still in shock over that!)


isewquilts
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No. of Recommendations: 3
I always find these shows motivating. And geez we are not so bad off after all!

I enjoyed the show, even though I wanted to slap most of the guests.

Cheryl B.
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No. of Recommendations: 7
once she apologizes to the manager of the store she insisted be held open for her so she could buy a handbag that costs more than my car, she can talk to me about common sense, financial or otherwise
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Nonethless, its probably still significantly below her means. And she probably has enough money saved away to never work again. As long as she's being responsible by her (extreme) finances, can't really criticize.
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No. of Recommendations: 7
The good thing about Oprah is a lot of people listen to her. Her audience consists mostly of women who probably don't work or work part time. It is good to educate her large audience on financial matters, but it has to be more than one person in the relationship.

The bad thing about Oprah is a lot of people listen to her. Oprah is a rich woman, (the richest I believe?) and she can afford anything. Have you ever seen her favorite things show? She shows really nice, expensive stuff that she likes and then gives it away to her audience. Well the problem is that her audience may be getting it for free, but the consumers at home aren't. She is promoting high priced consumerism. Some stuff on her list may be within a reasonable range, but others are a bit excessive.

http://www2.oprah.com/presents/2005/holiday/gifts/gifts_oft.jhtml

Some highlights:
A diamond watch that doesn't even list its price
Burberry coat ($690) and burberry purse ($695)
Ugg boots ($180)
Gourmet popcorn ($117)
Ralph lauren sweater ($498)
Corduroy pants ($160-$170)
Cashmere-like Robe ($145)
Gourmet Croisants ($40)
8 oz jar of philosophy face cream ($105)
Gourmet oatmeal cookies ($50)

How about some favorite things that her average viewer can purchase without feeling they are digging themselves deeper into debt? That is really all I ask for.
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No. of Recommendations: 2
I am so sick of Oprah.
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She is promoting high priced consumerism. Some stuff on her list may be within a reasonable range, but others are a bit excessive.

Her magazine, which I otherwise think is pretty good, does the same thing. There are always these pages with "favorite things" which are just overpriced designer purses and such. Sure, she can afford that stuff, but her average reader is going to have to whip out a credit card to buy them. And isn't there more to life, anyway, than designer purses? It's a very materialistic thing she's got going, maybe because she grew up poor.

I did not see the debt diet show, but I think Oprah's got a long way to go before she'll convince me that she's an authority on getting out of debt.

bookaholic
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No. of Recommendations: 6
Can you imagine the impact on the credit card industry if all the people who listen to her started paying off their balances every month? (not likely, but who knows) Or started doing balance transfers to get the lowest rates? If people started saving maybe 5%, then 10%, of their income? The US, besides being addicted to oil, is addicted to credit.

When we lived in Spain in the 80s, it was impossible to buy a car unless you had cash. There was no such thing as charging at the grocery store or gas pump or department store. It was essentially a cash society. Friends of ours recently returned from there -- credit advertized everywhere, credit/debit cards at the pumps, brand new cars streaking down the autopiste.

Instant gratification has become a way of life for many (not for most of us LBYMers, right?) High mortgages that few can afford, depending on 2 incomes to pay for cars, kids that are greedy, etc. The list goes on.

Oprah has a HUGE audience. Even if a fraction of the debtors listen to her, there will be a big change in attitude on money. Some of the stuff on her "favorite things" are more than most of us can afford. They're HER favorite things, not MINE. Most things in Vogue, Martha Stewart, Glamour, and all the other ladies' mags are more than I can afford.

Gluttony is rampant in the US, whether it be oil, food, or credit. Those of us on this Board know that, and we are all making changes. It can only be better for all of us if more do the same.

Yay, Oprah!

jennie
(who also wanted to slap a couple of those women)
My rant is over, hehehehe!

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No. of Recommendations: 2
once she apologizes to the manager of the store she insisted be held open for her so she could buy a handbag that costs more than my car, she can talk to me about common sense, financial or otherwise

People seem to be forgetting she wasn't born a billionaire. Since she's confessed to a lot of personal issue on her show, if she had lived above her means when she was first starting out in her profession I think she would've admitted it by now.
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No. of Recommendations: 24
once she apologizes to the manager of the store she insisted be held open for her so she could buy a handbag that costs more than my car, she can talk to me about common sense, financial or otherwise

This is so absurd - because YOUR budget dictates not being able to buy a purse more than the cost of YOUR car - and her's does, she's not fiscally wise??

TYPICAL LBYM board attitude.
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No. of Recommendations: 6
I did not see the debt diet show, but I think Oprah's got a long way to go before she'll convince me that she's an authority on getting out of debt.

I do believe the fact that she lived WHILE IN POVERTY and while stepping out of poverty - WITHOUT going into debt - and thereby creating an empire - is enough proof of her fiscal ability.
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No. of Recommendations: 5
I have to agree cyberisme on this one. The point that everyone needs to understand is that we all can't have the same standard of living. The sooner we realize this, the better off we will be. I think that is the problem with society today is that we all think we are better off than we really are. That's why you see so many $50,000 cars driving around. There's no way that most people can "afford" a $50,000 car yet they still drive them. We live in a very materialistic society and people are caving to the pressure.

I welcome the Oprah series and hope it makes a difference. Finally, she's doing something that I can stand behind.

JLP

http://allthingsfinancialblog.com
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I always find these shows motivating. And geez we are not so bad off after all!

I enjoyed the show, even though I wanted to slap most of the guests.


The show was motivating. I think all three of her "experts" had a lot of common sense. I was also glad to see someone relatively new, Glinda Bridgforth (at least I had never heard of her before), as an expert.

The best that we can hope for is that people will take notice and start doing something about their problems.

JLP

http://allthingsfinancialblog.com
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<< problem with society today is that we all think we are better off than we really are.>>

I've been thinking the opposite: that we don't know how well off we really are and so to put it another way, we waste precious resources in pursuit of false gods, wrong board I know.

Nevertheless, back to Oprah. I thought the whole hoopla was less about what she could afford and more about the fact that she wasn't granted the usual celebrity privilege at the store and that threw her for a loop.

MP


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No. of Recommendations: 20
The point that everyone needs to understand is that we all can't have the same standard of living. The sooner we realize this, the better off we will be. I think that is the problem with society today is that we all think we are better off than we really are. That's why you see so many $50,000 cars driving around. There's no way that most people can "afford" a $50,000 car yet they still drive them. We live in a very materialistic society and people are caving to the pressure.


This is the one particular 'attitude' that I've always found funny on this board (as well as in real life).

Here's the attitude, applied in real life.

My father bought a 2003 H2. Last year, he bought a 2005 H2 and sold the 2003. He was at the gas station filling up recently. Another guy was driving a Toyota or a Honda or some other car. The guy was just shaking his head and laughing. Dad asked him what (cause the guy was looking at Dad). The guy said (and I quote) "I bet my car payment is less than yours". Dad just looked at him for a few seconds. Then he said, "You do? How much do you want to place on that bet, because I don't have a car payment". The guy just stared (pretty much jaw on ground).

My parents have ALWAYS lived below their means. They still do, but now, they have a lot of great, expensive 'toys' if you will. They are still living significantly below their means - but people don't want to accept that other people have more means than they do.

The superior affectation of people who ASSUME that others with more expensive possessions are living above their means or are in debt is the funniest thing in the world.

Many of my DH's colleagues just can't figure out why DH drives a 92 vehicle, why we live in the house we live in, etc. Everyone makes the same salary. People would say things like - oh, you can't afford a better house or better car because you spend so much money going into NYC to see broadway shows - or oh, you travel so much, you waste all of your money - or your wife buys expensive purses (yes we got that one once). DH tried to explain, but no one ever listens.

Then, when we suddenly 'up and adopted' internationally (which takes a CHUNK of money - and by suddenly, I mean, from the day we decided to adopt to the day we landed in America with the boys was LESS than 5 months) and didn't even PLAN on the adoption ahead of time - they were asking, how did you afford that - you must have taken out loans or borrowed from family??? DH says - "uh no...do you see the car I drive? The house I live in? We live BELOW our means, that's how."

The affectation that if you don't live at a level that people THINK you should be living at means you have debt or waste your money is really funny.
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The best that we can hope for is that people will take notice and start doing something about their problems.

I agree. I am so not an Oprah person - I mean, I'm neutral in regards to her - but I am aware that she has a strong influence - and the ability of the crowd that she influences the most is mainstream middle America WOMEN - the ones that are not so in touch with their spending and are a little clueless about how to get out and stay out of debt.
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"...and the ability of the crowd that she influences the most is mainstream middle America WOMEN - the ones that are not so in touch with their spending and are a little clueless about how to get out and stay out of debt.

I kinda resent this statement and other posters saying the same thing. I watch Oprah and Dr. Phil when I can, and I'd say I am pretty good with my debt (only mortgage and small school loan). Not every viewer is "clueless". I'd like to see where people are getting that from. Yes, she has said her main audience are the "soccer moms", but I didn't realize "soccer mom" and "clueless" were interchangeble.
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The superior affectation of people who ASSUME that others with more expensive possessions are living above their means or are in debt is the funniest thing in the world.

I've seen it on this board and have to say if one has to automatically assume someone's in debt if they're driving an expensive, brand new car, then IMO they themselves are still mentally playing "keeping up with the Joneses" if they have to think something negative about someone who has something nice to not feel bad themselves.
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The superior affectation of people who ASSUME that others with more expensive possessions are living above their means or are in debt is the funniest thing in the world.

I'm not ASSUMING anything. I don't care WHAT people drive. However, I would be willing to bet that if I were to look at the personal finances of MOST people who drive expensive cars, they would have more money in their cars than they would have in their retirement plan.

JLP

http://allthingsfinancialblog.com
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Yes, she has said her main audience are the "soccer moms", but I didn't realize "soccer mom" and "clueless" were interchangeble.

I thought this when I was listening to a talk show on NPR with Liz Perle, author of Money a Memoir. She was describing how "we women" have so many emotional issues tied up with money, and that's why are basically clueless, and I was thinking WHO are you talking about, lady? Most, if not all, of my female friends manage the finances in their families, and even the spendier ones are far from clueless. All of my female friends have very practical attitudes toward money (though not all of them manage it as conservatively as I do.) I don't have a single friend who isn't at least mostly in charge of the household budget and bill paying.

Anyway, there are certainly a lot of silly people out there when it comes to money, but I have NEVER seen any evidence that financial cluelessness is a sex-linked trait! Neither does it have anything to do with being a so-called soccer mom. You want to see frugal, take a look at most single-income family budgets--you'll see frugal, all right.

Furthermore, if women like this Perle creature, or some of the women on Oprah (I didn't see the show) want to blame their own cluelessness on being female, or some kind of cultural conditioning, then all I have to say is they definitely didn't grow up in the same culture I did.

Pfft!

bookaholic
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Furthermore, if women like this Perle creature, or some of the women on Oprah (I didn't see the show) want to blame their own cluelessness on being female, or some kind of cultural conditioning, then all I have to say is they definitely didn't grow up in the same culture I did.

I watched the Oprah show and I didn't get that impression at all. The impression I got is that debt just snuck up on these families or there was a major turning point (one couple tripled their house note when they built a new home). I wouldn't call them clueless, I think they just let things get away from them. Financial management or mismanagement is NOT a gender issue.

JLP

http://allthingsfinancialblog.com
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Nonethless, its probably still significantly below her means. And she probably has enough money saved away to never work again. As long as she's being responsible by her (extreme) finances, can't really criticize.

True, but it does cast her own admonishions to middle class America in a light that in my mind rings somewhat hollow. She buys every member of the audience a brand new car, and then tells them not to use credit cards! The very culture of "celebrity worship" and its values that her guests are saying lie at the root of our society's debt problems are the very things that she encourages in her other shows and promotes in her magazine.
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She is promoting high priced consumerism. Some stuff on her list may be within a reasonable range, but others are a bit excessive.

Though I credit her for at least *trying* to do the right thing by addressing a bona fide cultural problem in our nation, it's just a little too late in the game for the tiger to change its stripes. Oprah, of all people, promoting LBYM personal finance issues seems a lot like that chubby Dr. Phil and his Ultimate Weight Loss Solution. He's laughing all the way to the bank, and then directly to Spago's.
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The show was motivating. I think all three of her "experts" had a lot of common sense.

Personally, I felt that the show was a little short on details and actual techniques. They had three "experts" move in with these couples to help cut down on their expenses. Well, if Oprah would buy us all highly paid consultants to live with us, I suppose that solution might be a useful model. It reminds me of those Dr. Phil shows, where he always says "...and I'll tell you exactly how to solve this problem, right after this commercial break." And then after the commercial break, his "solution" is to say "and we're going to get you a counselor who will work with you to solve this problem," or "we're going to send you kid to XYZ camp, and they'll solve the problem." He doesn't tell you "exactly what you need to do!" He totally passes the buck!

Now I'm not saying that these problems are going to be totally solveable in the span of a one-hour TV show (actually only about forty minutes after all the commercials). But the advertisements for these shows do lend the impression that watching the show will be a life changing experience. But after all, if I had a serious problem that required counseling or sending my child to a behavior modification camp, I probably wouldn't need to watch television in order to do that.
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No. of Recommendations: 16
Dr. Phil doesn't look chubby at all IMO. And what's wrong with Spago's?

I don't understand for the life of me why you don't think a wealthy person like Oprah can or should "promote LBYM personal finance issues." She lives WAY below her means. If you look at her spending ratios, she probably spends much less of her net worth than you do.

Not to mention, that woman experienced more extreme poverty than probably any of us on this board. Not to mention serious abuse and racism. She's lived below her means AND been generous to friends and strangers alike, all the way to the top, where you seem to think she deserves your criticism.

"Too late in the game for the tiger to change its stripes?" What on earth can you be referring to? What stripes does she need to change?

You could stand to take a page from her book if you ask me.

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She buys every member of the audience a brand new car, and then tells them not to use credit cards!

===========

Actually, Oprah did not buy anyone a new car. Pontiac bought the new cars, and distributed them to members of Oprah's audience.
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No. of Recommendations: 5
I don't watch Oprah or read her magazine. But I do have a good deal of respect for a person who figured out how to use her talents to prosper on an enormous scale, and looks for ways to use her influence to nudge people in good directions when she can.

I expect that a lot of people are reading books, or better quality books because of her book promotions.

I think it takes a good deal of courage for her to promote LBYM ideas when her program is sponsored by advertizers who want people to spend beyond their means.

Seattle Pioneer

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I've seen it on this board and have to say if one has to automatically assume someone's in debt if they're driving an expensive, brand new car, then IMO they themselves are still mentally playing "keeping up with the Joneses" if they have to think something negative about someone who has something nice to not feel bad themselves.


It's called 'jealousy' plain and simple - despite protestations otherwise.
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Dr. Phil doesn't look chubby at all IMO.

We'll have to agree to disagree about that. He's not obese, but he's certainly not any ideal of athletic health.

And what's wrong with Spago's?

Nothing, if you can get a table.

I don't understand for the life of me why you don't think a wealthy person like Oprah can or should "promote LBYM personal finance issues." She lives WAY below her means. If you look at her spending ratios, she probably spends much less of her net worth than you do.

I will repeat that I understand all of that very well. From a factual standpoint, you are correct. But intuitively, it just rubs me the wrong way that somebody who got so rich primarily by promoting the very celebrity worship and consumerism that her guests are saying is at the root of the cultural problem is lecturing about eating out less.

You could stand to take a page from her book if you ask me.

Oh, I'm sure of that! We all could stand to take a page from her book, in many ways. I'm just not buying this particular chapter.
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http://www2.oprah.com/money/debtdiet/money_debtdiet_main.jhtml

Interesting reading about the families...even though I kept getting distracted by the Visa/Disneyland vacation ads right next the article on each darn page.
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"It's called 'jealousy' plain and simple - despite protestations otherwise."

For me, it has NOTHING to do with jealousy. If someone wants to buy a nice car or fancy house, that's their business. However, the people who do this but really can't afford to are the ones who will be griping the loudest when they are retired and their Social Security check isn't big enough to meet their lifestyle. The numbers are scary:

“Of workers fifty-five and older, only one in four has invested assets of more than $100,000; one in three has less than $50,000. One out of every two baby boomers will not have accumulated enough to match their current standard of living. Nearly one of two boomers say they are less than confident they will outlive their money.”

This was a quote from The Number by Lee Eisenberg.

JLP

http://allthingsfinancialblog.com




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http://www2.oprah.com/money/debtdiet/money_debtdiet_main.jhtml

I couldn't get past the first family on the page! Mrs. Bradley, I think it was. The spending a lot on her looks is silly, but probably normal for a lot of women.

But, she doesn't like to cook so they spend $100 a DAY on takeout???

She doesn't like to do dishes so they use disposables ALL THE TIME? No one in that house can even load the dishwasher??

She FORGED her husband's signature to buy a new truck???

I don't think spending is her problem. Sorriness is her problem, and it's rubbing off on the whole family. I hope Dr. Phil gets all over that woman.

bookaholic
still wondering what $100 a day in takeout food would look like--do they order takeout breakfast cereal?
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The more I thought about it the more I realized what I wanted to see on here. http://www2.oprah.com/money/debtdiet/money_debtdiet_main.jhtml

Ads for ING. For The Motley Fool -"The biggest Fool asset: our members. Get support, suggestions, humor, tough love and more on our LBYM/Budget/Credit Cards and Consumer Debt forums! Free for 1 month if you mention 'Oprah'" or something like that. Also ads for Emigrant, or Sharebuilder, 'Dummies Guide to Climbing Your Way Out of Debt' (I made the last one up, but you get the idea.)

She really could have made it good. With her following, we'd have a whole slew of new people to find the Foolish way of life. Any official TMF'er want to spring the idea to the Oprah people?

Don't forget my cut if it happens...:-)

dee
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But, she doesn't like to cook so they spend $100 a DAY on takeout???

She doesn't like to do dishes so they use disposables ALL THE TIME? No one in that house can even load the dishwasher??

She FORGED her husband's signature to buy a new truck???


And that's just it. They should have raked that woman over the coals! She was off the charts! But instead, Oprah defended her $3,000 annual hair bill as a "black woman thing!" And that goes to my point of Oprah not really having the moral authority about frugality issues or an adequate sense of boundaries herself to pull this off. Her advertising is all about consumerism, and she promotes celebrity worship. So the heck what if she is "technically LBYM?" And who cares (at least in this context) that she came from a difficult background? She didn't build her empire by being frugal and responsible with money. What she's saying lacks tooth because she has built her wealth on value systems that are at odds with the messages of personal fiscal responsibility and frugality.

Again, I'm really happy for her success, and appreciate her high standards in many areas. And perhaps some good will come of this Debt Diet thing. I just don't think that she's the right messenger for the message.
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But instead, Oprah defended her $3,000 annual hair bill as a "black woman thing!"

Three THOUSAND a year? Let's see, divided by 12, that's $250.00 per month.

You know what? That's not a black woman thing. That's a rich woman thing. And if you aren't filthy rich, it doesn't matter what color you are, you flat-out can't afford it.

bookaholic

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Three THOUSAND a year? Let's see, divided by 12, that's $250.00 per month.

You know what? That's not a black woman thing. That's a rich woman thing. And if you aren't filthy rich, it doesn't matter what color you are, you flat-out can't afford it.

bookaholic


There we go with generalizations and judgements again. You can be way less than filthy rich and have $3000/yr on haircare be below your means. As a black woman, I can easily see how someone could spend that much money on hair care. In fact, I'm sure I know several people who do just that. Some can afford it and some can't. While I only spend about half that, I'm sure there are many people who would think $1500/yr for haircare is outrageous but it's well beneath MY means so who cares?

-Steph
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If I were a billionaire earning a living in the public eye necessitating that I be aware of certain expectations of look and dress, I would have such things as haircare incorporated into my budget.

So, if Oprah earns $1 B a year, 30% of $1 B is represented by 0.30. And 3% of $1 B is represented by 0.03. But Oprah's $3,000 hair care is represented by only 0.000003 of an annual estimated $1 B income.

A necessary business expense.

I would estimate that I spend about .006 of my annual income on hair care.
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Assuming only a $1 M annual income, $3,000 would be only .003 -- still half of my own estimated expense.
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As a black woman, I can easily see how someone could spend that much money on hair care. In fact, I'm sure I know several people who do just that. Some can afford it and some can't. While I only spend about half that, I'm sure there are many people who would think $1500/yr for haircare is outrageous but it's well beneath MY means so who cares?

I have pencil-straight, baby-fine hair... and there's days I wank about it mightily.

And then I need a reminder... thanks for that, today.

I had a black roommate in college. I saw the machinations Davina went through. Yegods... her 'normal' hair-care routine was probably 2x longer than mine just to go to the gym! High-humidity days or being caught in a rainstorm were cause for great concern.

I think I told her several times that if I had to face what she did that I'd probably shave my head. :)
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I have pencil-straight, baby-fine hair... and there's days I wank about it mightily.

And then I need a reminder... thanks for that, today.

I had a black roommate in college. I saw the machinations Davina went through. Yegods... her 'normal' hair-care routine was probably 2x longer than mine just to go to the gym! High-humidity days or being caught in a rainstorm were cause for great concern.

I think I told her several times that if I had to face what she did that I'd probably shave my head. :)


Hahaha. I've been considering that as of late. Sometimes I wish I had "wash and wear" hair.

-Steph
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There we go with generalizations and judgements again. You can be way less than filthy rich and have $3000/yr on haircare be below your means. As a black woman, I can easily see how someone could spend that much money on hair care. In fact, I'm sure I know several people who do just that. Some can afford it and some can't. While I only spend about half that, I'm sure there are many people who would think $1500/yr for haircare is outrageous but it's well beneath MY means so who cares?

Let's keep to the original post...about the woman who is DEEP in debt and is spending this kind of $$ on her hair...Ethnic or not, it's way too much for HER. No generalizations or judgements needed, as it's pretty clear.
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Let's keep to the original post...about the woman who is DEEP in debt and is spending this kind of $$ on her hair...Ethnic or not, it's way too much for HER. No generalizations or judgements needed, as it's pretty clear.

You're right that it's too much for THAT particular woman. I was responding to the poster who said (bolded emphasis mine) -

Three THOUSAND a year? Let's see, divided by 12, that's $250.00 per month.

You know what? That's not a black woman thing. That's a rich woman thing. And if you aren't filthy rich, it doesn't matter what color you are, you flat-out can't afford it.

bookaholic


-Steph
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I think I told her several times that if I had to face what she did that I'd probably shave my head. :)

Well, I lived in an African country for a couple of years, where people are lucky to make $250 a YEAR, and lots of women there have nice, tidy Afros, maybe a half inch or an inch long. Sometimes, they put it into cornrows, or little kids might have a big, fuzzy topknot (very cute.) Maybe once the entire time I lived there, I saw a woman with hair extensions.

Anyway, there are plenty of black women in the world who spend almost nothing on their hair, and they look just great. Seriously. I might add that I thought their hair looked really good too, despite the fact they were so poor--maybe healthier because they don't do so much stuff to it?

It seems to me that spending a lot of money on African hair trying to get it do what European hair does makes about as much sense as my spending a ton of money trying to get my European hair into an Afro.

I don't even get into the "white woman thing" of highlighting and coloring. I have hair. It's dark blonde, on the bushy/wavy side, and I was born with it. I get it cut by a Vietnamese lady at the local barber shop about every six weeks for $17 plus tip. I wash it in the morning, sometimes put some mousse in it (about $3 per bottle) and let it air-dry. If I'm doing something where I don't want my hair in the way, I put it in a braid, a ponytail or a bun.

It looks OK, and probably about the same as my Irish and Scottish ancestors' hair looked for the last 10,000 years or so. It does what European hair does. It is no better or worse than any other kind of hair--it's just the hair that matches my particular DNA. Why fight heredity? Especially when it's so darn expensive?

bookaholic
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Well, I lived in an African country for a couple of years, where people are lucky to make $250 a YEAR, and lots of women there have nice, tidy Afros, maybe a half inch or an inch long. Sometimes, they put it into cornrows, or little kids might have a big, fuzzy topknot (very cute.) Maybe once the entire time I lived there, I saw a woman with hair extensions.

Anyway, there are plenty of black women in the world who spend almost nothing on their hair, and they look just great. Seriously. I might add that I thought their hair looked really good too, despite the fact they were so poor--maybe healthier because they don't do so much stuff to it?

It seems to me that spending a lot of money on African hair trying to get it do what European hair does makes about as much sense as my spending a ton of money trying to get my European hair into an Afro.


It's not necessarily about trying to get African hair to do what European hair does. I have friends who have locs and they still go to salon to get their locs maintained. It's not at all a "European" style but it does require maintenance.

Some people love nice, tidy afros. Personally I don't like that look for myself. The same goes for cornrows, fuzzy topknots and hair extensions. Even if I did have those styles, I would still have to get my hair trimmed or cornrowed. Don't think people with "natural" hair styles don't have any haircare expensese because they do. It may not be $3000/year but it isn't anywhere close to $0.

-Steph
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It may not be $3000/year but it isn't anywhere close to $0.

The Oprah article said the woman in question spent $7000 (not $3K) on haircare from going to the salon every week. No one's saying you shouldn't spend any money on haircare, but when you're $190K in debt, like the couple on the show, with 2 children to raise and a marriage on the brink of divorce, you really need to decide if getting your hair done weekly on that much money is a priority. And since people don't start spending the money they do on personal care right from birth, there must have been a time this woman wasn't spending $7K on haircare but still felt she could face the world, so it's really a mystery to other people if she can't downgrade at this point.
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Oprah, of all people, promoting LBYM personal finance issues seems a lot like that chubby Dr. Phil and his Ultimate Weight Loss Solution. He's laughing all the way to the bank, and then directly to Spago's.

My problem with Dr. Phil's Weight Loss Solution was not that he's chubby (and he is, a little), but that he was trying to tell people to deal with the psychological causes of their eating, and at the same time selling special snack bars and shakes. Bob Greene is doing it right; he keeps it simple, shelling out advice and workout tips instead of products.

As for Oprah, I think it's a good thing that she's trying to show people where a spending addiction can lead. If even 99.9% of her audience see this as entertainment, and only .1% see themselves heading in that direction, that's still several thousand households that take charge of their finances now rather than face a crisis later.

Hmm... does the Fool do TV spots?

--
LaughingRaven
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<The Oprah article said the woman in question spent $7000 (not $3K) on haircare from going to the salon every week.>


I saw the program and I too thought it was 7k per year she was spending. IIRC, the 3k figure was what the financial advisor was going to reduce her to.

It is not surprising that there are very divergent opinions about Oprah on this board. After all, there is so much disagreement about almost every other subject discussed here. Immense success can certainly alter how one perceives a person. Having reached the heights that she has, I think she has largely used her influence for the good.

I think her show is both useful and entertaining depending on the subject at hand. It has to be hard trying to find the right mix between the serious topics and the more lighthearted ones. Too much of either could chase some of the audience away. While some people would like her to stick to one style, she is neither a hard hitting news program nor another Entertainment Tonight program.

As for the topic at hand, I think it is really good for her to do a series of shows about this. It was said that 7 out of 10 Americans live paycheck to paycheck. The bulk of these people are not living in poverty. On the contrary they have good household incomes. Their problem is that their overhead constantly exceeds their incomes and they are living in total denial about it. The woman with the 7k annual hair expenses had a credit report that was 66 pages long. There were numerous entries for collections on it. Bills would come in to the house and she would just throw them away. There were constant calls from bill collectors. It was estimated that she spent one of every four waking minutes on her cell phone. They said that her husband was a "10", although I don't know how one can rate someone so high who allows such a situation to exist for as long as he did.

The other couples bothered me a lot too. The one dad was really upset that his daughters just expected everything to be handed to them and that they never did anything at all to help around the house. The one daughter said on camera that she had them completely wrapped around her finger. When the mother insisted that they were only going "looking" at the store, the daughter managed to turn it into another clothes buying spree. Again, if all of this upset the father so much, where was he for all of those years when he could have stopped all of that in it's tracks?

The third couple bought a house that they knew they could not afford at all, even with both of them working. Then one of them quit working for a time, but no changes in the expense side were ever made. They blew through the husbands 40k of 401k retirement money and then started maxing out the CCs.

All three couples had kids, which is something that really bothered me. Those kids have already learned more than they can ever unlearn from their parents. Kids are always looking to find out where the boundaries are. Some parents never provide any. Whether this happens out of ignorance, guilt or just plain stupidity, makes little difference. You are not doing your #1 job, which is giving your children the tools they will need to be able to stand on their own two feet when they become adults.

Anyway, I would expect this board to have problems with the choices these families have made over the years as it is so contrary to the reason this board exists. There are supposed to be followup shows with these families, so we will see what happens.


B
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It seems to me that spending a lot of money on African hair trying to get it do what European hair does makes about as much sense as my spending a ton of money trying to get my European hair into an Afro.

I did that once! My mother decided to take me to the beauty parlor and I came home with a "poodle clip." Basically, a white version of the Afro. It was impossible for me to maintain since the Afro pick hadn't yet been invented, and the curl soon wore off. I swore off beauty parlors and haven't been to one since I got out of my mother's clutches.

As near as I can tell, about half of all African-American women spend a lot of time and money on their hair. My problem is that they expect me to notice. I don't pay much attention to things like that. When my kids were little, I used to panic every time I lost sight of them in a public place. Not because I thought they had been kidnapped, but because I knew the police were going to ask me what they were wearing and I wasn't sure I'd be able to remember. I always appreciated the African-American moms who didn't care if I paid attention to their hair.

Vickifool
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It seems to me that spending a lot of money on African hair trying to get it do what European hair does makes about as much sense as my spending a ton of money trying to get my European hair into an Afro.

Bingo.

And of all the African American celebrities, Oprah ranks at the top of the list of women who try to get her hair to look more like Euro hair. And her example is pretty costly for the millions of woman who look up to her. Anyway it was beyond the pale for her to defend a level of expense on hair that is the equivalent of a car payment when the family is going bankrupt.
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Anyway it was beyond the pale for her to defend a level of expense on hair that is the equivalent of a car payment when the family is going bankrupt.

Oprah's also had hairstyling shows in the past where they showed African-American women different ways they can do their hair without going the relaxing/weave route -- which was actually one of the first times I saw women with that texture of hair in it's natural state in something other than an afro and I thought their hair looked beautiful.

Do I think $3K is still a lot to spend on hair when you've got money problems, yes, but I also think you sometimes need to get someone to start slowly -- just like someone else mentioned in the "Best LBYM" tips about slowly cutting down the # of times you buy coffee. I think a 50% reduction is a good start, get someone used to that, and then bring them back and see if you can get them to reduce a luxury expense by another 50%.

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This Oprah show was pretty awesome. Yes it was a little over the top in places (really!? a middle class woman should be allowed to spend $3000/year in hair care!? this guy that spends about $300-ish a year in haircare was shocked to learn that). Still, it was a start. And in no other medium than Oprah's show and website is this issue going to get more exposure. It will be interesting to see the episodes where they follow the families.

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"Do I think $3K is still a lot to spend on hair when you've got money problems, yes, but I also think you sometimes need to get someone to start slowly -- just like someone else mentioned in the "Best LBYM" tips about slowly cutting down the # of times you buy coffee. I think a 50% reduction is a good start, get someone used to that, and then bring them back and see if you can get them to reduce a luxury expense by another 50%."

You are exactly right. People who are used to living a certain lifestyle and then all the sudden drastically change that lifestyle tend to regress back to their old ways. It's kind of like real-life dieting. I know my wife would go on a diet and do really good for a week or two. Then she would mess up one day and that would blow the whole week. Before she knew it she was back to her old ways. That all changed when she joined WeightWatchers because they don't require drastic change.

Also, it is important to point out that all of these couples had places where they could cut costs so that they could pay down debt.

JLP

http://allthingsfinancialblog.com
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