5 financial life lessons from reality TV

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I, myself, have been surprised, when confessing my secret predilection for a certain reality television franchise, at the number of intellectual types who cop to the same viewing habits, from litigators to literati — even including a surgeon!

But the genre that provides so many of us with seemingly harmless, mindless entertainment — wherein we scoff at the lifestyle follies and social dramas of the "Real Housewives of (you name it)," among other shows — took a serious and seriously tragic turn last week when one cast member’s husband, Russell Armstrong, took his own life, leaving three children behind and exposing his troubled personal and financial affairs to public scrutiny.

I’ve written here before on the foreclosure curse that seems to have affected "Real Housewives" franchise cast members across the country; at latest count, 12 of the ladies’ homes have been in some stage of foreclosure, and most of those properties were eventually repossessed by the bank.

But as I turned a much more concerned eye to some reality television programming this weekend, in the wake of this tragedy, it became crystal clear to me that there are a number of financial cautionary tales we can take away from the franchise.

I won’t name names, as anyone who watches the shows will instantly know the references, but the events of last week and the multiple divorces and other strained relationships displayed on the shows could be seen as suggesting that these financial dramas either evidence or create deeper emotional or life management crises.