How To Recession-Proof Your Family

11/08/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011
  • CNN

So what can you do to protect yourself? "People, stop living the financial lies that you have been living," Suze says. "If you don't have the money to pay for something, can you just not buy it? Can you wait? Can we start looking at keeping our cars for 10 years rather than getting a new one every three?"

Tammy and Tim are a couple who asked for help cleaning their financial house. Like many Americans, they say they have no health insurance and owe more on their home than what it's worth.

The couple also says they have no life insurance to provide for their two children should tragedy strike. Since Tim was laid off from his job last spring, the couple has been living largely off credit cards -- and owe more than $90,000 across 29 different cards.

Tammy says the bills added up before they knew it. "We are taking every bit of money that we do make and putting it toward our credit card payments. We're very proud people and never have been late in 20 years on our payments," she says. "We tend to take our cash, pay our credit cards and then use our credit cards to pay our mortgage and put gas in our car and feed our kids."

Tim says he and Tammy have no idea what to do once their credit is maxed out. "Right now is where we really need the most help," he says. "We're open for any advice that we can get."

Suze has some tough love for this struggling couple. After looking at Tammy and Tim's finances, Suze says the couple falls $2,000 short each month. With property taxes, utilities and the mortgage payment together, Suze estimates it costs at least $3,000 a month to live in their current home.

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