Big Dollar Dilemmas: Shawn and Christina
Dr. Phil checks in with the two families competing in the Ultimate Family Weight Loss Challenge."Seven years ago I became a millionaire, and now today I'm almost a million dollars in debt," says Shawn, an inventor who creates products and sells the patents. He has $34,000 in medical debt, $28,000 in tax debt, $24,000 credit card debt and $550,000 in
loans.

His fiancée of five years, Christina, is afraid. "I definitely want to marry Shawn, but the debt is a huge issue ... I think it's possible for us to be homeless next month," she says.
Shawn and Christina live and work in a warehouse-type building 24 hours a day. "I want a window to see the weather change, a yard to walk through. We can't have friends and family over here. It's an embarrassment," Christina says.

Because Christina was interested in golf, Shawn invented a Swing Machine to teach people their golf swing. He then handed over the responsibility to Christina. "He just put it in my lap and said, 'Here you go. Make some money for us,'" she says. "I was overwhelmed. I was afraid. I didn't know anything about business." When she had questions, she says Shawn would tell her to "figure it out."

Shawn admits that he has blamed Christina for his financial stresses. "I just don't feel like she's getting on board with me. I feel like she abandoned me," he explains.

Christina turns to Dr. Phil for help. "My greatest fear is not for me but for him, because it would devastate him to lose everything that he's worked so hard for," she says through tears. "I don't want to see that happen."
Dr. Phil asks Shawn if anything that Jamie or Virginia said resonated with him.

"The indulgence in buying things without really considering the cost," Shawn replies. "It's real easy to do that especially if you've
never had any money your entire life, and all of a sudden you have some money. It's real easy to spend it."

Dr. Phil informs Shawn that his debt is actually $750,000, and he is surprised to hear that. But there's also good news.

"You have assets that exceed your debt," Dr. Phil points out, noting that Shawn has three Corvettes, a Mustang, a stock car and an $8,500 Harley. Subtly pointing out the absurdity, Dr. Phil adds, "But you don't want to liquidate any of those things."

"I don't want to, but it sounds like I'm going to have to," Shawn resigns.Like Jamie and Virginia, Shawn and Christina have a hard time talking about their debt — so much so that Christina has
been holding back important information. Shawn was making $10,000 a month on royalties, and now Christina reveals, it's about $1,600.

"What? For the month? $1,600?" a shocked Shawn says.

"Don't you think that's something you kind of want to bring up sometime along the way?" Dr. Phil asks Christina.

"He tells me that he doesn't want to talk about the financial, the income," she justifies.

"Money problems don't come from a lack of money, and you don't fix money problems with money," Dr. Phil makes clear. "You fix money problems with communication, planning, maturity. You say, 'He doesn't want to hear it,' but if that's what it is, that's what it is. We can't live in this fantasy land. Reality, reality, reality. It is what it is." 

Dr. Phil explains that he grew up dirt poor, without credit cards or checks. "It was really easy for me to grow up understanding if you don't have the money, you don't get the stuff," he says. "Wouldn't you sleep better at night if you just got realistic about this?"

"Oh yeah," Christina replies.

"Either sell it off or shut it down," financial expert Elizabeth Warren tells Shawn, referring to his business. "If you really can't run this business, then quit. You're a smart guy, go do something where you can make some money." She refers back to her plan. "You can spend about 50 percent of your take-home pay, what it is you're making on a monthly basis, on your needs," she explains.


"You can't continue to spend like you've got $10,000 when what you've got is $1,600. That's just the reality," Dr. Phil tells

Shawn and Christina. He looks to Elizabeth and asks her what she means when she says, "If you can't afford some fun, then you can't afford the life you're living."

"You can't budget everything that's coming in and commit it to your must haves," she explains. "You need to have a budget that leaves some flexibility in it. That way you know that when you go to bed at night you can count on the fact that you can write those checks for the utilities and the rent, and wake up in the morning and have a little money left over to have some fun with." At the end of the show, Shawn shares his thoughts with Dr. Phil. "It's hard not to be impulsive," he says, referring to his buying habits. "I know it's wrong and I'm sure you didn't do it, but ..."

"What he's saying is, 'Work with me here,'" Dr. Phil jokes. "You've got those cars, sell them. I'd go home and sell everything that
wasn't nailed down."

"Wait a minute," Shawn interrupts.

"No, I am serious," Dr. Phil continues. "I would sell everything that wasn't nailed down until I could get where I said, 'You don't own me. I am back in control of my life.'"

"That sounds real good in theory, but I spent nine months on each
of those cars taking them apart and putting them back together," Shawn pleads.

Dr. Phil bends to eye level with Shawn and says, "Watch my lips. You're stone-cold broke buddy! Sell it."

"But there's these emotions that are involved when you're doing these things, and emotions and logic don't go together," Shawn pushes.

"But you get therapy at the shrink not at the bank," Dr. Phil says. "Get rid of the stuff."