Big Dollar Dilemmas: Doug and Peg
Dr. Phil checks in with the two families competing in the Ultimate Family Weight Loss Challenge."What scares me about a future with Doug is his debt. I don't do well with debt. It bothers the heck out of me," says Peg, who has been dating Doug for four years and wants to marry him.

"I have credit card debt, personal debt. I have some back child support," admits Doug, but Peg doesn't know the extent of
it.

"I don't like to bring up the debt and the situation that he's in financially, because I don't want to hurt his feelings," she explains.

Doug and Peg have a nice lifestyle: eating out at restaurants, frequently buying each other gifts and traveling. Many times the money for these things comes out of Peg's wallet. "I'm about $10,000 in debt on credit cards. I have loaned Doug about $8,500," she explains. "When I see that he's struggling, that's when I tend to bring out my credit card and start spending on my card."

Doug says that Peg pays for things because she wants to and not because she has to. "She knows that if she didn't [pay] it's something that we probably would not be able to do," he explains.

"My greatest fear is being so burdened with debt that I can't pay the bills. I can't live that way. I won't live that way," Peg says turning to Dr. Phil. "Can you help Doug and I get out of our financial debt?"

Doug thought his debt totaled around $93,000, but Dr. Phil informs him that it is actually over $200,000.

"It's absolutely a shock," Doug responds.

Financial expert Elizabeth Warren notes that they've cut their income in half, but Doug is still making a healthy living. Now they need to

adjust their spending habits accordingly.


"I've been talking to the two couples that came before you about reality and about just disciplining yourself to say, 'I'm not going to cave in to immediate gratification. What I'm going to do is start making some realistic, hard decisions with maturity and reality about what has to happen,'" Dr. Phil tells them. "What's that mean to you guys?"

"We've been living the American dream and now it's kind of become the American nightmare," Peg replies.

"Am I the only person in America that finds it more refreshing to know the truth than to live in a fantasy?" Dr. Phil asks. "I don't want the dream if I can't afford it!"

"That's the very reason that we're here," Doug replies.

"But don't you have to tell yourself 'no' then? Just say, 'No, no, no, hell no. I'm not going to do it'? You've got to be realistic about it," Dr. Phil implores. He asks Elizabeth where they need to begin.

While Elizabeth usually suggests leaving room in a budget for some fun, Doug doesn't have that luxury. "I'm sorry, but you not only owe money, you owe money for back taxes. And I've got to tell you, the IRS has no sense of humor. They come after you, they seize your assets. There's chance those folks will put you in jail," Elizabeth tells Doug. "You've got to cut your basic expenses to the bone and you've got to take every penny and you've got to send it over to the tax man. There's no sleeping at night until that one's paid."

"There's nothing that's sacred," Dr. Phil tells Doug and Peg. If their house and car payments are too high, then they need to get rid of them. "You have to be willing to say, 'I will do whatever it takes to get myself back in control of my financial

life, and nothing short of doing that is going to turn the deal around' ... If you aren't willing to tell yourself 'no,' and you aren't willing to challenge every aspect of your life — housing, car, clothes, all of that — then you'll never get where you need to be."


"I'm to the point where there's not a thing I won't do legally and ethically. There's no stone that I won't leave unturned to get out of this," Doug commits.

"You didn't pay your taxes for four years, and you bought your son a car after that!" Elizabeth responds. "You've got to get real about this stuff. And saying you're real about it, that's not the point. You've got to spend and get rid of your debt. You've got to deal with the folks who are going to have you by the throat. This isn't a question of if you can put off reality any longer. Reality is bearing down on you at 120 miles per hour. It's coming and you'll either turn around and take it, or you're going to be the latest form of road kill."

Dr. Phil adds his thoughts. "You have to have the attitude that reality rules. It's not entitlement, deserve, want, wish for. It's, 'I'm going to make the hard decisions whatever they are,'" he says. "There's nothing that is not for sale. If you can't afford it, it's all for sale."