Sunday, April 15, 2007

Disappointed in the Women in Red

I have been a fan of the Women in Red Column by MP Dunleavy since it's inception 2 years ago. I was an original fan and poster on her first message board on MSN. I have avidly followed people's journey's to become debt free and leave the red to become black. I believe that it MP is one of the few financial writers out there in major financial trouble. And she is definitely the only one so honest about it. That is what drew me to the Women in Red (WIR). Her honesty, her openess to write about things she didn't know or understand, and how it applied to everyday people.

But this week she wrote and update on the WIR here. She says that it's been a pretty rough two years and not quite what she expected.

She starts with Carole, who has bought a home this Valentine's Day, but also has acquired $5k in CC debt. Yet even with this regression she has been allowed to graduate from WIR. I think she needs another 6 months to finish off her debt and then should be allowed to graduate.

Next up was Beth, another WIR member who increased her consumer debt and education debt. BUT the article says she wiped that out with a home equity loan. Which I'm not sure was the wisests move, and yet she is ready to graduate from the WIR as well.

The next member Stephanie has made great progress in her journey however. She has earned a major promotion and paid off $7k in debt while saving $10k at the same time. She too is graduating from the WIR, however this seems like a well deserved graduation.

The fourth member is Tricia, a single mother in debt. Another member who incresed her consumer debt from the last update, however that was mainly due to starting up a business which failed. However she has decided to not graduate from the group until possible the fall.

Unfortunately the next member Anna, though she does not have any consumer debt, some retirement savings, and home equity, because her husband is a stay at home spouse they have been tapping savings to make ends meet every month. This needs to stop before they spend their way into debt.

Lyndsey the next WIR is probably the worse of the bunch. She increased her salary by $25k over the past two years, and yet her CC debt has increased by $1k. This is very disappointing and instead of moving towards the black, she's moving more red.

However newer addition Bryce, has done amazing well. She has paid off about $9k in debt in 1 year and is quickly moving towards being a woman in black.

Finally the article wraps up with MP's own situation. She has decreased her debt by $2200 and incresed her savings by $5700. Not much terrible when you consider they had a baby this year. However it appears that her debt dipped in the fall of last year to nearly doubling this Spring. And that is very disappointing. She is nearly back to the same level of debt she had one year ago.

Typically I would be happy for the women in red as people trying to get their fiscal lives in order. But right now after reading this article, I wonder how much progress they've really made or will make. It seems like they are spinning their wheels more than gaining traction. So are they really making progress or are they falling further into debt?

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