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Big Spender Review

Big Spender is a reality show on A&E where personal finance expert Larry Winget tries to help people with financial issues. I recommend that you should never watch this show based on the episode I watched on Sunday. The episode that I watched had to deal with couple from Miami who are planning on getting married. Even though the couple was making about $8,500 a month, they were spending more than that each month, and had managed to max out the prospective groom's credit cards.

Mr. Winget reviewed the couple's finances and made a list of tasks and ultimatums that the couple was suppose to follow. I had two problems with the approach. The first problem is that I think the couple needed to work on the tasks before they adhered to a budget. The first task was for the couple to set up short term and long term financial goals, you need to understand and buy into what you want to accomplish financially before you are truly able to create and adhere to a financial plan. They were also asked to track their spending in a journal. I think that tracking your expenses in a journal should also be done before you create your financial plan. This way you can see what you are spending your money on and have a better understanding of what expenses you can actually cut. The third task was for the prospective groom to sit down with his fiancÚ and review the monthly expenses; this was a failure because the prospective groom had no desire to see the bills.

The second problem that I had with Mr. Winget's approach is that he had a couple with obvious spending issues and told them to stop most of their spending. While this plan made financial sense, the episode did not deal with helping the couple to understand why they were spending so much money, nor did Mr. Winget offer any other alternatives other than to stop spending money. The couple did not follow the spending plan and did a poor job at following the tasks.

I think that the episode was a failure because there was not an attempt to have the couple buy into the changes that they were making. The goal of this episode should have been to develop long term spending habits, and I think that the show did a terrible job in trying to help the couple develop these habits.

Submitted by:

John MacKenzie

John MacKenzie is the Assistant Director of ADDCLASSES.COM, he also writes a blog titled Adult ADD and Money




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