Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Oprah: Wife stranded by abusive husband; Women & Money

Once again, Oprah presented a wrenching situation, where other family members had to step in. The link is here.
The story has a surprising twist in the middle.

It starts as a warning as to what can happen to wives who have become economically dependent on the husband’s “family wage” and how the old fashioned idea of patriarchal marriage gets abused. A woman with four kids (plus one adult child) finds that her husband has committed suicide as an act of spite, after having dominated her, kept his debt-ridden finances a secret, and then canceled a life insurance company. Suze Orman comes to intervene. Suze asks her to take off her makeup to face herself, and then they come to grips with the finances. The wife had actually wanted to ask for a divorce. But she had remained largely ignorant and dependent. The 5-bedroom house had to be sold with an estate sale, with much material owned on debt.

He have to shout from a “mountaintop” and ask for help from family and friends in various relationships. One relative offers to give $1000 a month. Another cosigns on the lease of a one bedroom apartment for her and four children. (Co-signature would be required by most corporate landlords in these circumstances, although once she has enough monthly income it would not be.) Indeed, the family is asked to make personal sacrifices because of someone else’s sins (the husbands). Suze essentially explained all of this help is a kind of good karma (she used different words). The wife is able to collect social security for her children (up to a family maximum) because the husband is deceased. At the end, the friends and family were able to help her get on her feet, and she was on her way back to work in the personal care business.

Suze Orman’s book “Women & Money: Owning Power to Control Your Own Destiny” is available for free download until 8 PM EST Feb 14, 2008,(link no longer available now) here. After that time, there is an excerpt available here. The Amazon link (for credit card purchase) is here. For the download copy, you just click on a link, and you need a recent version of Adobe Acrobat reader. It’s about 1.5 meg and the traffic on the site is quite heavy. At the end of the program Suze and Oprah discussed how married women can protect themselves and be ready to save themselves (and only then their kids). Here is a link to my review of Suze's book.

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