Trying To Live Like A Reality Star May Lead To Bankruptcy.

by Rachel Lynn Foley, Esq.

August 8, 2011

America has become addicted to reality shows but are these shows truly set in reality or are they helping to bankrupt our souls and bank accounts? The shows are fascinating from a psychological point but nothing more.

When growing up and speaking to anyone who watched wrestling the unspoken rule was that everyone knew that it was not real but you did not speak about it. Much like our favorite seasonal fictional characters that visit us throughout every holiday season. But reality shows have taken our society to a whole new low. Many of these families and individuals are not only spiritually bankrupt but they are financially bankrupt from not facing REALITY.

Every week I hear two quotes in my head. “Live like no one else so that you can live like no one else”, Dave Ramsey. The other is from one of my Chapter 7 Trustees. If anyone, absolutely anyone, comes before Gary Barnes with a negative budget, even if it is $1, his voice lowers and he will lean forward an ask; “folks you are here to get a FRESH START and you cannot obtain that fresh start if you keep spending more than you make.” When he follows up with the inquiry about what they are going to do to change the budget so that it is in the black instead of the red, he usually receives a blank stare from both the attorney and the debtor.

Why does Mr. Barnes ask this question? He wants to ensure that the debtor is set in reality and will tell them “that if you do not change you spending habits you will be back before me in the future.” Bankruptcy was designed to give people a fresh start when circumstances beyond one’s control caused their finances to spin out of control.

The new wave of reality shows was supposed to give us a picture of how others lived their lives. It is the evolution of shows such as Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But as with many things in the media what is being portrayed is not true reality. You need to look no further than the Real Housewives series.

At first glance these women appear to have the perfect life, home and family. Many viewers compare themselves to these women and set their own bar of success accordingly. The reality is that many of these are financially struggling, getting divorced, do not have healthy relationships with theirs kids, facing foreclosure and/or bankruptcy.

The reality is, if you spend more than you make you will go broke. The reality is,  if you lie to the bankruptcy court you can be charged with a federal crime. The reality is, most of us have to work to pay our bills. The reality is, that some cannot afford the luxuries that others can afford. The biggest reality is, that at the end of the day if you are always trying to keep up with Jones, Kardashians or the Housewives you are not living your own reality.

Remember that knowledge is power and the more knowledge you have about living within a budget the more power you will have to live within your personal reality.

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Former Bankruptcy Attorney to the Kansas City UAW: Ford and GM workers, now assisting the general public in Missouri and Kansas with regaining financial control using the Bankruptcy Code. 816-472-HELP (4357).

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Last modified: August 8, 2011