Cost of Living: Mark, Margo

Fighting over Finances
Dr. Phil tells the couple that marriage struggles like finances can either drive a wedge between you or bind you together. “It sounds to me like this is a wedge driven between you,” he says.<br><br>“The money — it is what it is. We just have to tighten our belt straps here and there, but she could help out,” Mark says. <br><br>Dr. Phil tells them they are not in it together. “She says she has no idea what your financial situation is because you won’t tell her,” he says to Mark. <br><br>“She doesn’t ask,” Mark says, and Margo gasps. <br><br>“That is a recipe for disaster, because you know some realities that she doesn’t know, but yet you ask her to make informed decisions, like whether to work outside the home or not, or what to spend money on or whatever. If she doesn’t know what’s going on, she can’t partner with you in fixing this,” Dr. Phil says. <br><br>Dr. Phil brings up Margo’s fear that if she got a job, her money would just go to the babysitter. “I want to help fix the relationship end of this and impact the financial end of it as well. To do that, we’ve got to deal with reality, because this is math, not magic,” he says. He tells Margo she has to do the research to find out if working minus childcare would be helpful. <br><br>Mark says all the kids are in school, so childcare wouldn’t be a necessity. <br><br>Margo argues, “The kids get out of school on breaks, or they get sick. Who’s going to watch the children then?”<br><br>“What I’m saying is this isn’t an emotional decision; this is a reality. If all five are in school at least until 3:30, and then even if you had to cover a couple of hours or an afterschool program or whatever, you have to do the math and see how much you can contribute,” Dr. Phil explains. “Because if you could go out and make $10 an hour, and out of this you net $700 or $800 a month, what difference would that make?” he asks Mark. <br><br>“It would make a great difference,” he says. <br><br>[AD]“It’s not like I’m not trying,” she says. “I’ve applied at seven different places to get a job, and I haven’t even gotten any call backs.” She says Mark wants her to hound people for a job, but that’s not going to happen. <br><br>Dr. Phil offers Margo help to find a job, but agrees with Mark. “One of the first things you do is you start hounding people for a job,” he says. <br><br>Margo begins to argue that she still doesn’t see it as being a viable option, but Dr. Phil interrupts her. “You don’t get to express that opinion because you haven’t done the math. It may not work, but you’ve got to figure out if it will. And if it will, we will help you get a job,” he says.In a previous interview, Margo says, “When we were living in New York, Mark decided he wanted to start a hot dog business. He found a camper for $600. Six months later, we moved to North Carolina.”<br><br>“In the state that I’m in now, there are few and far between, so I’m thinking that it might be a lucrative business,” Mark says. “She’s never supported me in the idea.” <br><br>“The trailer ended up getting disposed for junk. It was basically $600 down the drain,” Margo says. <br><br>Back onstage, Dr. Phil tells Margo that the hot dog truck idea is a viable one, if they do their research. “It should be an option, but again, you guys aren’t together in your thinking about this,” he says.<br><br>Mark says he’s been thinking about it for 15 years. Margo admits they haven’t really researched it, and Dr. Phil tells her she doesn’t get an opinion until she does. <br><br>Margo begins to argue how unprepared her husband is, and Dr. Phil interrupts her. “It doesn’t matter. You guys, this is why people get in trouble. You have opinions and no basis for them whatsoever. You could be totally right — it could be the nuttiest idea in the history of nutty ideas,” he says to Margo. <br><br>“Yeah, because he wants to quit his job and go do a hot dog truck,” she says. “And that’s what’s paying for the household.” <br><br>[AD]“No, that’s not what I said. I want to set her up in it. Let her work the hours,” Mark says.<br><br>Dr. Phil laughs. “So, you’re 15-year dream is for <span style="font-style: italic;">her</span> to get into the hot dog business?” <br><br>“I want her to get it started for us, with the intention that if it does take off, then maybe I could leave my job, and I could do this full-time,” he says. <br><br>“That could work. You would never be hungry during the day,” he points out to Margo.<br>
Know the difference between a dream and a goal.


Dr. Phil goes over some strategies to help keep this family afloat. He says that when struggling to figure out what debtor to pay, most people pay the one who’s yelling the loudest, but that’s wrong. He says you should pay the bills you need to survive first: Rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, car, medical insurance and then car insurance. He recommends you downgrade your car to what you can afford.

He also says with coupons and store brands, estimates say you can save as much as $8,000 a year. “That’s $600 a month plus if you organize into couponing and store brands. You could increase your net by $600 a month starting today,” he says.

“Here’s my point: There are some actual strategies that you guys can embrace. You need to sit down and do the math. Because it’s painful, you don’t like to talk about it. And you need to do that,” Dr. Phil says. He tells Mark to allow his wife to be his partner in the finances. “That may work for you, but it doesn’t work for her, and that means the marriage is going to meltdown, and if you think you’ve got financial problems now, add child support for five kids and a second home and see how that works for you.” He urges the couple to come together as partners and work on it in harmony. “Don’t be ashamed that you’re having financial trouble. The world is having financial trouble,” he says.

[AD]Dr. Phil offers them help to figure out an action plan to get their financial situation back on track.  

At the end of the show, Dr. Phil surprises Mark and Margo with a gift card from JCPenney for $2,000 to help make their holiday a little brighter.