Ask Rene:
How Can We Recover From Money Trouble?

Help Rene,

Here’s my problem!

My husband, Thomas and I are in our early thirties, have been married for three years and have a really good relationship, except in one key area – money!

When we met we both had debts, which we amalgamated. Then we got married – paying for our wedding with credit cards. Next we bought a home that we could barely afford that is now worth less than what we paid for it. And further down the line we want to have kids.

Long story short we now owe about $60,000 on top of our mortgage (and we still have student loans). I’m completely freaked by the situation and am always worrying about our debt burden – but Thomas argues that everyone is in the same position these days and we should just learn to live with it.

We both work full time jobs in relatively secure industries – but I’m terrified of what might happen if one of us is made redundant.

So tell me Rene, how do we turn our finances around? And how can I get my husband to start taking our money situation more seriously.

Thanks GEM!

Paula, St Louis

Hi Paula:

Well let me first commend you for realizing this is not the way you want to live and that there are storm clouds on the horizon. But as someone who just last month had 70 dollars in overdraft charges, I’m probably not the best person to advise anyone on finances. Luckily my buddy Jean Chatzky, best selling author and financial editor for the Today show, has some answers.


You are SO not alone. Research studies have shown that we worry more when we have a lot of debt on our plates and that debt specifically, is one of those things that leads to major fights and unhappiness in marriages. Here’s what I want you to do for me. I want you on the DEBT DIET (I’ve put many couples on it and saved marriages!) . . .

1. Do A Real Assessment

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You and your husband need to know where your money is going. You both have to start tracking it. Write down every time you spend anything. You'll create a roadmap of where your money is going and you'll start to see where you can make changes and free up money to throw against your debts.