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It took an intervention from her neighbor Jana for Felice to realize how bad her situation really was. Jana was so worried about her friend that she wrote a letter to The Oprah Show. "I knew she was in debt up to her ears and she wasn't taking any steps to make it any better. It was only getting worse. But mainly I did it because of the kids. And I knew that they didn't have medical insurance, and if something happened to one of the kids, it would be devastating."

Felice was upset when she found out about the letter, but she says it made her add up how much she really owed. "And then I realized, okay, there's a problem," she says.

Felice says she feels ashamed that she kept her spending habits from her husband, but she feels more ashamed that her children have no medical or dental coverage, which she says would only cost $1,000 a month. "My children have had things happen. We almost lost a daughter a couple years ago to a ruptured appendix and also I've had health problems. And I have a daughter who has a neurological disease," she says. "It's total selfishness. My kids mean the world to me and I should be putting them first, but I put myself first. It's shameful."

Her behavior really hit home, Felice says, when her daughter graduated from preschool. "She said on tape that what she wanted to be when she grew up was a mom because they like to shop a lot," she says. "That's the message I'm sending my children."

Felice says she's ready to stop living outside of herself. "I wanted people to like me and I was the only child and I got anything I wanted," she says. "And I kind of have been living the same way with my kids."
FROM: Money Interventions: The Mom Who Shopped Her Family Broke
Published on January 01, 2006


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