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Confessions of a Shopaholic and Black Friday

I just watched the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic staring Isla Fisher and as the main charactor, Rebecca Bloomwood. It was a funny movie with some very applicable thoughts for the biggest shopping day of the year.

Rebecca Bloomwood has some crazy, comical and compulsive shopping habits. Mannequins in store windows come alive and urge her to buy more and better and instruct here on how much she needs the latest and most stylish designer accessory.

Through a serendipitous set of circumstances she ends up getting laid off from her job as a lawn and garden writer (which she hates anyways) and as in an effort to step up to her dream job as a job as a fashion writer she tricks and lies her way into a job as a writer for a financial publication and ends up becoming an instant celebrity with as fresh and good looking advice columnist. During this time she falls in love with her hot rich boss and is constantly being persued by a debt collector who ruins her TV debut and gets her fired and ruins her budding relationship with her hot rich boss. The movie has a great redemptive ending and you will come away with some good lessons.

This movie explores in it’s own comic dialogue a major “identity crisis” that Americans are experiencing. Americans have believed a lie that if we have more we will enjoy life more and we will be more as people. Yet we have found that even though we have more THINGS than ever before in history we have higher anxiety levels, less satisfaction with life and worse relationships than ever before.

Many of us have even mortgaged our lives and that of our children… working hard to maintain debt payments while not being able see as much of our families as we would like or even enjoy them when we do see them.

I happen to believe that many of us in our mad dash for things are trying to fill a God shaped hole in our heart but regardless of your explanation of why you might compulsively pursue things… as a nation my observation is that we are finding such persuite of things quite empty. (I gather this by the abundance of books on simplification… my favorite being The 4 Hour Work Week a recent New York Times Best Seller.)

At one segment in the story Rebecca buys a self help set that teaches people how to pay off debt and get on a budget. It is quite hilarios and was done by Ed Helms, the same guy who plays Andy Bernard in The Office. This helps build her resolve but not until she gets in a truly bad position and at the same time she is getting help from here shopaholics anonomous group is she able to finally take the steps necesary to triumph over the looming unpaid credit bills and her unstoppable compulsions to get a new shopping fix. I identify with her struggle although I have never had mannequins in a store asking me to buy a product. There is a guy by the name of Dave Rhamsey of who has company called Financial Peace University. I went through Dave Rhamsey’s cd course and I found his teaching was compelling in changing my thinking to assist me in moving towards creating healthy and accurate distinctions in my mind about what are true needs and what are actually wants masquerading as needs. With out a change in thinking even if you can get out of your current financial dilemma it (say by selling your Ohio home on a short sale with me) it will only be a matter of time before you get in bad situation again.

There are some things that need straightened out from the movie. In it the debt collector called her continually, called her boss, called her co workers, showed up at work, showed up at her home and discussed her situation with her room mate, and finally showed up at the TV show and on national TV told the world about her situation. Debt collectors are are very limited today in what they can do or say thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and other state laws. The debt collector practices in the movie not only violated long established privacy laws but specifically violated the FDCPA as debt collectors are not allowed to use public shame as a collection mechanism or collect in such a way as to publicly humiliate the debtor. They are also not allowed to talk to family members, neighbors, colleagues bosses or anyone else who is not the debtor about the debt or the delinquency.

In fact debtors are even extremely limited on how what an can be written on the outside of an envelope for a collection letter and they are not allowed to send a collection post card. In addition to this debtors can send a letter in writing requiring and or limiting any or all communication from debt collectors. Collectors who violate your request in writing can have consequences of paying actual damages to you plus up to $1000 in additional damages and violaters can be fined by the FTC or even shut down.

BTW: I kept on wanting to shout at Rebecca… “hey you know that 16,000 grand you owe??? You could probably settle that for somewhere between 1,200 to 4,000.” That being said the method she chose was honorable and good (as well as hilarious). However not all of us especially when facing the hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt that can be involved in a house default can simply find a way to just pay off our debt. Using debt settlement services (from me if your main debt is a a home- that is what a short sale is) you can pay off your debt for a fraction of what is owed.

It all ends happily. After she cures her self of her bad habits she comments on how she now has time to enjoy people and learn new skills and have fun. People often find this to be true when they realign their priorities to match what they actually value the most.

BTW: I do plan on getting up early and rasseling for the last of the must have steal deals I have my eye on. Hey at least one day of the year I have the right to feed my compulsive shopping tendencies… and I don’t care if that’s a rationalization.

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Andy Morris short sale santa.

Andy Morris Short Sale Santa.

Andy Morris is an Ohio real estate broker with an expertise in selling homes on a short sale. If your Ohio home is heading towards foreclosure or you owe more than your property is worth, please call Andy at 888-4-STOP-IT to see if you qualify for a short sale with your lender.

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