Jean Chatzky
Jean talks with callers who have debt to pay about the best ways to get on top of their finances and start making and keeping their money.

I recently got married and now we have $20,000 in credit card debt from the wedding. How do we pay off the debt and continue building our savings and retirement fund?
Jean says the credit card debt and an emergency savings account should take top priority for this new couple, but they should not ignore their retirement fund altogether. "Pay enough into your 401(k) to grab every last one of the matching dollars your employers are giving you, then I would focus on the credit card debt," Jean says. "In these early years of your marriage, wipe out that credit card debt and come up with a plan to really fund your retirement."

My husband made some bad choices with our real estate investment business and also started gambling. He is now receiving treatment for gambling addiction and we are both employed, but we have $100,000 in credit card debt and have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. How can we financially recover from this situation?
Jean says that the fact that this woman's husband is receiving treatment and the couple is communicating about their situation is a step in the right direction. While filing for bankruptcy is always a last resort, Jean says it will allow the couple to slowly and steadily pay off some of their debt.

While the marriage equally binds both the wife and husband to the bankruptcy, Jean says establishing new individual credit is important. "Make sure you have some money in your own name so that no matter what happens to your marriage, you will be able to stand on your own two feet," Jean says.
The information provided here is general advice and you should always consult your own financial adviser before making major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio. The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.


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