Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kudos to Suze Orman

Okay, I cracked. I said I would no longer be watching Suze Orman due to her tendency towards sexism towards men and belittling. But I did watch it a few times and I have to give credit where credit is due. I saw a recent show where she said that word had gotten around that she was not fair to men. She stated that this was not true--that she would give the same advice to men about relationships that she gave to women.

"Yeah, right," I thought because that was not what I had heard so far in her advice. For example, one week, she told a woman to quickly divorce her husband because he told her he would call the police if she went through his mail again. Ms. Orman does not know what led up to that encounter, for all we know, the woman was snooping through the guy's stuff and was a control freak. I doubt she would tell a man to divorce a woman that quickly. I have never heard it. If you have, let me know.

But in this week's show, I was surprised to see that she gave a fair shake to men on a couple of occasions. The first was when a husband called in to ask what he should do about a wife who ran up bills but would not work. "Do you like your wife?" Suze asked. The guy said "yes" but that she was just irresponsible about the finances. Ms. Orman then proceeded to tell him to stop the heavy burden of paying for everything and let his wife pick up the slack. "But my credit will be ruined" the caller moaned. "Then how much could you like your wife who would do that to you?" Ms. Orman asked and with that she ended the call. Great question and psychologically astute.

Another female caller asked how she could get her husband-to-be to put her name on his condo that he had paid for and was paying a mortgage on. The woman had a property that she sold and kept the money on to move in with this guy. "He is being stingy," the woman said. Ms. Orman set her straight. "No," she said, "he paid on this condo, built equity and now you want your name on it. He is not stingy, you are less than generous." Amen.

Kudos to Ms. Orman for at least trying to make an attempt to be fair. It is more than many media personalities will do.

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33 Comments:

Blogger Locomotive Breath said...

The first was when a husband called in to ask what he should do about a wife who ran up bills but would not work. "Do you like your wife?" Suze asked. The guy said "yes" but that she was just irresponsible about the finances. Ms. Orman then proceeded to tell him to stop the heavy burden of paying for everything and let his wife pick up the slack. "But my credit will be ruined" the caller moaned. "Then how much could you like your wife who would do that to you?" Ms. Orman asked and with that she ended the call.

Yeah, except if the man tried to divorce her to rid himself of the liability, the courts would make him assume all her debts and then give her alimony to maintain the unaffordable lifestyle because she had "given up her career prospects to be his stay-at-home wife" and could not earn a living.

1:40 PM, January 25, 2009  
Blogger John said...

I personally don't believe in divorce for any reason other than infidelity. But if guy #1 has truly made every attempt to diplomatically explain to his wife the ramifications of her overspending, and she will not listen, I think it's acceptable to simply take his name off the credit cards or cancel them, and have his pay deposited in an account to which she has no access. He could then treat her like the child she is by giving her an allowance. If she chooses to leave him over this (and she may), it might be the best thing for both of them.

1:41 PM, January 25, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...

John,

The problem is, a spouse is responsible for the credit card bills of their partner so she could always take out a card, charge it up and as long as she is married, her husband is responsible.

1:46 PM, January 25, 2009  
Blogger Peter G. Miller said...

HI --

I'm not so sure that the woman who wanted to be on the home title of her hubby-to-be is without reason. Here's why:

When I married my wife I owned a home in my name only. I placed her name on the title as quickly as possible so that if something happened to me she would have clear title to the house (a tenancy by the entireties in my state) . As well, if I was sued the home would be protected because it would be marital property rather than mine alone.

Divorce, as always, is a possibility, but my understanding (and I am not a lawyer) is that assets owned prior to marriage generally remain with the appropriate spouse.

This is an issue where the couple should discuss their thinking with each other -- and then consult with an attorney.

All the best,


Peter G. Miller
OurBroker.com

1:57 PM, January 25, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

John - what you are suggesting is called "economic abuse", and it is now considered to be a form of domestic violence / abuse in some circles.

2:08 PM, January 25, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

"Divorce, as always, is a possibility, but my understanding (and I am not a lawyer) is that assets owned prior to marriage generally remain with the appropriate spouse."

-----

That's the theory, and the practice looks a lot different.

If the man has assets before marriage but then uses them to buy the family house, for instance, and the woman contributes a penny towards the house, the house (and thus the assets before the marriage) become part of the marital property. In fact, if you cannot specifically trace back a chunk of money in a clear line to the person's assets before marriage, they are pretty much fair game.

Ask Steven Spielberg (in his divorce with Amy Irving - he even had a prenuptial agreement with her that was thrown out).

If a man has money, the wife is going to get a good chunk of it upon divorce, no matter where it came from. That's the reality.

2:12 PM, January 25, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

There is even a case I read about in which a man physically built a house with his own two hands (and the labor of his buddies).

He then married a woman and she filed for divorce. The house was awarded to her, because the judge ruled that the man built the house "in contemplation of marriage" and the house was therefore part of the marital assets.

Man works, woman sits on her butt, woman gets the stuff the man worked for. Sounds fair to me.

2:15 PM, January 25, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

And (last point): If anyone is going to chip in that this "works both ways", no it doesn't.

Women are much, much more likely to marry up, and even if they have equal assets they don't tend to get drilled like men in divorce court, certainly not by a chivalrous man.

And I realize that some statistics say that 20% of women earn more than their husbands.

Do you know what an example of that is? Heather Mills earned more money than Paul McCartney at one point (earnings from work). Remember that men are statistically older than women in marriages, and men may retire while the woman still works a part-time job, for instance. A nurse will earn more than her husband doing a residency in surgery. Don't go on the statistics - women marry up.

2:21 PM, January 25, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Footnote to the above: Because Paul McCartney earned ZERO from work, and Heather had a couple of modeling gigs.

2:22 PM, January 25, 2009  
Blogger Peter G. Miller said...

JG --

Alas, I have no great tales of either pre-nups nor divorce to share. My wife and I have been married for more than 25 years.

No doubt the divorce process is painful and filled with unfairness, good reasons to avoid it.


Peter G. Miller
OurBroker.com

2:43 PM, January 25, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Well, you'll obviously never get divorced, Peter G. Miller, but have some sympathy for men who do not have the foresight you have been blessed with.

Even lesser men deserve a bit of sympathy.

(By the way, I've never been divorced myself).

2:48 PM, January 25, 2009  
Blogger Peter G. Miller said...

JG --

I have sympathy for any human being who hurts. Like the old song says, there but for fortune go you or I.

All the best,

Peter

2:52 PM, January 25, 2009  
Blogger Mercurior said...

wonders how long it will last

4:07 PM, January 25, 2009  
Blogger John said...

Helen, you say: "a spouse is responsible for the credit card bills of their partner"

Certainly not! Responsibility for debt is absolutely not transferable, unless the person has physically signed for the debt. There is no implied obligation transferred through marriage or any other connection. One's signature is the sole guarantee. Absent that, you are innocent. Creditors sometimes lie and try to collect from spouses or children of debtors, but this is absolutely illegal and a violation of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Of course, you may be referring to a debtor spouse suing the innocent spouse to gain support for their debt. I'm sure this is done sometimes, but I hope it is rare. Is that what you mean?

8:15 PM, January 25, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...

John,

I have heard on radio and money shows that credit card debt accumulated during a marriage can be the responsibility of the spouse even if his or her name is not on the card. For example, on this website on debt, someone asked about whether their spouse was responsible for their defaulted credit card bill and the response was:

"Yes, marriage is like a partnership with each of you jointly liable for any debts incurred during the marriage. It doesn't matter if your spouse is or isn't listed on the card as a joint accountholder, he or she can still be sued, have his wages garnished, etc., just as if he incurred the debt."

http://www.bcsalliance.com/y_debtFAQ_olddebt.html

4:32 AM, January 26, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

There is a big difference between community property states (credit card debt incurred by one party may be considered part of the community if the stuff that is bought benefits the community) and other states (non-joint accounts are pretty much non-joint).

In fact, each individual state has its own specific provisions, and you have to distinguish between the divorce decree and what credit card companies can do despite that. Another issue is whether the debt was incurred pre or post-marriage.

But Helen just wants to find the black-and-white "answer", because she's not a lawyer and doesn't understand the issues. And the kicker is that the Important Doctor doesn't even know how much she doesn't know.

6:37 AM, January 26, 2009  
Blogger Peter G. Miller said...

Target says "but Helen just wants to find the black-and-white "answer", because she's not a lawyer and doesn't understand the issues. And the kicker is that the Important Doctor doesn't even know how much she doesn't know."

Not every human thought or idea must be parsed by attorneys. Helen's view was well expressed and entirely within the realm of reason and logic. If you notice, she doesn't limit comments on this blog to those with whom she agrees -- or to lawyers.

Peter G. Miller
OurBroker.com

6:48 AM, January 26, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

Peter G. Miller:

"Helen's view was well expressed and entirely within the realm of reason and logic."

-----

So it doesn't matter if it is right or wrong - or even misleading - it just matters whether she expressed it well and it sounds plausible?

O ... K ...

I can't argue with that.

6:52 AM, January 26, 2009  
Blogger Peter G. Miller said...

Target says "so it doesn't matter if it is right or wrong - or even misleading - it just matters whether she expressed it well and it sounds plausible?"

Rather than debating what wasn't said or wasn't intended, notice that the blog is entitled "Dr. Helen" and not "Helen, Esq." She was speaking from her perspective as a therapist rather than as someone offering legal advice.

Peter G. Miller
OurBroker.com

6:57 AM, January 26, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

Personally, I don't believe Suze has changed her stripes. I just think she is trying not to lose any of her male viewership.

9:30 AM, January 26, 2009  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Too late.

2:31 PM, January 26, 2009  
Blogger randian said...

(non-joint accounts are pretty much non-joint).

Non-joint accounts can be made joint by asset transfers in the divorce decree. Its a common means for one spouse (usually the wife) to make their debt in effect joint debt.

2:17 AM, January 27, 2009  
Blogger K-Man said...

John and Target, in my neck of the woods (and not a community property state) it is common during divorce for one spouse to be put on the hook for the other's debts incurred during the marriage. Of course, it's usually the ex-husband who gets to play walking wallet for the ex-wife's debts. It might have been "her" credit cards, but it's "their" debt. Just as "his" income becomes "their" income after the divorce...

10:05 AM, January 27, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

"And the kicker is that the Important Doctor doesn't even know how much she doesn't know."

____________

What is it about a Ph.D. in psychology? I see Dr. Phil (the lard-ass) wrote a book about how to lose weight, and I saw a book in a bookstore about how to have a happy marriage - from a guy who had been divorced four times.

Apparently, a Ph.D. takes a person of average intelligence in bestows him or her with an ego the size of a barn door. It doesn't seem to matter if they're hypocrites or wrong or even stupid-sounding, the gigantic ego keeps moving unabashed.

1:03 PM, January 27, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

Just like your brain has as much content as your profile page, tether.

6:31 PM, January 27, 2009  
Blogger Bruce said...

I studied this some years ago when I did legal research for a father's rights group, though I would not know if state laws have changed. Men were responsible for the necessities of their wives in non-community property states. Men were not responsible for luxury purchases by their wives, unless they shared credit cards or approved them.

One judge ruled a man had to pay for a very expensive piano his wife bought, because the judge decided it was a necessity for her.

It was the woman's movement which decided men and women should have separate property and debt rights, for the benefit of women.

Still today women, even educated women, believe men are instantly responsible for all debts incurred by their wives, which is perhaps only true in community property states.

What judges do in divorce has long been known to have no connection to the laws in their states.

Not long ago, I read a posting on an MRA URL by a man who had a very large amount of assets, such as rental property. He married a woman who soon enough showed it was a cash-out marriage.

He had meticulously kept all his transactions for that property separate from all personal and joint activities. Her attorneys went over his check books for all accounts for a very long time. If they had found one cent mingled, he would have lost half. They were really frustrated and she got nothing from his pre-marital assets.

8:52 PM, January 27, 2009  
Blogger Mercurior said...

a sort of whats mine is mine, and whats his is mine as well.

10:25 AM, January 28, 2009  
Blogger John said...

Helen,

That link you posted seems to be to a site selling debt counseling services. It would be in their best interest to spread alarmist information.

I listen to Dave Ramsey regularly, and he's pretty adamant that your signature is the only thing that can get you into debt.

www.daveramsey.com

Now, if you and your spouse own something jointly, like a house or car, that you BOTH signed for, and one spouse defaults on some personal debt, the creditor CAN take a lien against the joint asset. Also, I am sure that some spouses try to get debt payment as part of a divorce settlement. But a settlement decree wouldn't override contract law, and I imagine even a minimally competent lawyer could avoid that. kind of thing.

But in the end, I am still really pretty sure that marriage is not an implied business partnership.

10:35 AM, January 28, 2009  
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