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Real Housewives of the Recession

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Danielle Hoston: I'll admit it. I watch "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." While I am constantly entertained, there is one aspect of the show that makes my skin crawl more than Kim's wigs ... it's the BLING!

The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Let's start with Nene. It was recently reported that Nene was evicted from the home that she rented with her husband. She has since found a new home and, in a recent episode, was shopping to redecorate her new home. Ummmm ... Newsflash! If you can't afford your rent, you clearly can't afford to redecorate ... especially when it's been reported that you owe $100,000 in back taxes. I shudder to think of what her credit report looks like.

Even Lisa Wu Hartwell -- the "Housewife" and purported real estate guru/businesswoman -- lost her home to a short sale. It's not a surprise. Her husband, Ed, no longer plays in the NFL, and Atlanta real estate sales are not exactly booming. It's probably time to downsize -- because I can't imagine that Bravo is covering a $2.9 million mortgage.

And then there is the biggest financial train wreck of them all: Sheree. Sheree was disappointed by her sub-7-figure divorce settlement, and that she lost her home to foreclosure during her divorce because "her ex-husband wasn't paying the mortgage." (Doh!) Like many members of the nouveau riche, Sheree obviously skipped seeking financial advice and decided to spend a big chunk of her alimony settlement in order to start a fashion line for which she apparently has no training, no education, no experience, and -- unfortunately -- no talent. She also reportedly owes a law firm $87,000. That divorce settlement looks like it's dwindling quickly ...

In one year, three out of the five "Housewives of Atlanta" have already faced eviction or lost their homes to the bank, but they are not alone. Lynne Curtin of "Real Housewives of Orange County" was also reportedly getting the boot from her home, due to an outstanding $12,000 that -- again -- "her husband owes."

Let me be clear ... I'm not here to pick on the "Housewives." Tight economies affect everybody -- and we're all in this boat together. The most important message I want to convey to those who view the "Housewives" shows (and other shows like it) is: THIS IS NOT WEALTH.

True wealth starts by spending less, making more, and living debt-free. True wealth grows with investments that not only appreciate, but yield passive income. Wealth might be projected in multiple luxury cars, expensive clothes, and mortgages (or rent!) you can't afford, but it won't last. We will all make financial missteps along the way. However, the difference between those who experience financial setbacks and those who are ultimately headed for financial devastation is the ability to learn a lesson before it costs them more. Let's hope they learn their lesson.

How do you define wealth? What signifies financial wealth to you? Will the "Housewives" ever learn their lesson?

next: Eight Percent of Women Using Birth Control Less to Save Money
23 comments so far | Post a comment now
ame i. September 25, 2009, 6:34 AM

I think wealth is owning your own home, vehicles, being able to not only pay for all expenses without worry, and still having enough to put into savings every month.
On paper, I could afford a home 5 times the size of my current home (2800 sq. ft.) but we don’t NEED a larger home. I like the fact that our mortgage payment is 1/6 of my husband’s monthly take-home pay.

calimommy September 25, 2009, 8:53 AM

Maybe they should all call Big Papa!

Dana September 25, 2009, 11:02 AM

I think it’s sad this is how TV and the entertainment industry chooses to portray the “real” housewives of Atlanta, or anywhere in the US. It’s people like these “real” housewives who make us feel like we are lacking because we don’t have their “bling” or stupidly extravagent toys, but in reality they are missing meaning in their lives and choose to try to fill their hearts with material objects rather than true relationships, purpose, and giving. I agree with Danielle, these women are BROKE AS A JOKE in their spirits and bank accounts!

East Coast Mike September 25, 2009, 11:23 AM

I love the real analysis. Straight Talk. No B.S. strip away the gliterry fake gold….and revealing the ugly financial truth…only way to real treasure. Per Usual, you are on point.

Jasmine W September 25, 2009, 11:52 AM

Well Written! I don’t watch the “Housewives of Atlanta” but I have seen clips of the show. I often wonder how they were paying for all of these extravagant parties/expensive business ventures and not be affected by what’s going on in the economy. I have never understood the mentality appearing to be rich or wealthy when you are broke. I have always survived have this in mind, “I’d rather have a cheap purse with lots of money in it!”

African American Mom September 25, 2009, 12:05 PM

Can I call Big Poppa!?!? LOL!

Tyler September 25, 2009, 2:26 PM

Great article Danielle, well said and welcome back!!
I don’t watch those awful, obnoxious women, I tried, I couldn’t take it. But I’m so glad you broke it down. Girl, you should teach a class!
And….. who is this big papa???

Anonymous September 25, 2009, 3:42 PM

get money

D. September 25, 2009, 7:00 PM

I don’t watch the show but have seen a few commercial blips. Even then I could tell that they were very trashy women, whether or not they had money. Their poor grammar, poor speech, lack of intelligence, and poor taste in the way they assembled their clothing reflected their nouveau riche background.
Money talks, bullshit walks.

Barbara  September 25, 2009, 7:32 PM

What I can’t believe is how these women act…None of them act like ladies..I’ve got more class in my little finger..

Selene September 26, 2009, 10:57 AM

I was thinking the same things Danisha. I know their credit card debt is through the roof. I’m happy in my apartment and with my car with no note and my $40 jeans. My credit is not good but I owe less than $9,000 and that is not difficult to pay off. I would cringe at the thought of having “good” credit but oweing 100’s of thousands of dollars. If I can’t pay cash I don’t need it!

Nene September 26, 2009, 1:39 PM

Big Papa I Love you!

Cindi September 26, 2009, 2:43 PM

This information is old and filled with inaccuracies. It’s also information snatched from other websites, newspapers, etc. You might be infringing on some copyright issues here yourself.

Tammy September 29, 2009, 9:21 AM

Cindi—so what!! Danisha thanks for posting this…I would not have known of this info otherwise…Cindi.

I-C-U September 29, 2009, 8:20 PM

I wonder which housewife “Cindi” is… LOL

lilikindsli September 30, 2009, 12:31 PM

g9zuL4 I want to say - thank you for this!

Globals October 2, 2009, 7:38 PM

all good things

Romase October 3, 2009, 6:04 PM

site best

KELLE DELANE October 11, 2009, 3:49 PM


“The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but must live with a character.” - Peter de Vries

angela October 20, 2009, 2:27 PM

These “women” are really something else. They portray themselves as the “Jones’” yet they’re being evicted from rental properties. Wealthy is when you own your own home, own your cars and not rent them to portray an image. Nene has had on that same weave for quite some time. Sheree is broke and has no money management skills. She is so stuck on dealing with other people who work for the “elite”. Wake up call Sheree, you are not elite. You were evicted and now living in a home that you’re renting. Lisa was living beyond her means with a husband who doesn’t work and a real estate market that is rough. Shortsale, honey please you were foreclosed on.

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