Photo (cc) by Doug Kline
As Mother’s Day quickly approaches, we’re taking some time to honor the amazing television moms who’ve made their mark on pop culture.
Credit can be a very confusing topic for many Americans, and it’s often possible to learn from someone else’s mistakes. Since credit mistakes in the real world are a lot less funny than they appear on television, we wanted to outline some of the credit mistakes these TV moms have made so you can learn from them and get better at managing your own credit. (If you want to see where your credit currently stands, you can check two of your credit scores for free and make a plan to build credit on Credit.com.)
Here are seven TV moms we love to watch, despite their credit problems.
1. Skyler White on “Breaking Bad”
When the series begins, Skyler and Walter White are a normal middle-class couple trying to make ends meet. Every member of their household has major medical issues that can be pricey — Walt has cancer, Skyler is pregnant and their son, Walt Jr., has cerebral palsy.
Medical bills can wreak havoc on your credit if you’re not careful, especially since even just a small medical bill being sent to a debt collector can drop your scores significantly. Combine this risk factor with an all-cash drug empire, and Skyler’s credit is probably suffering.
2. Roseanne Conner on “Roseanne”
We recently wrote about the TV dads with bad credit, and Roseanne’s TV husband, Dan Conner, made the list. In the show, Dan opens a motorcycle shop that eventually goes out of business. A failed business can have a huge impact on Dan’s finances, but what about his wife’s?
Many couples decide to go into business together, taking on debt together in order to make their dream come true. Often, business credit cards are opened in a spouse’s name, or the family home is used as collateral for a business loan. When that’s the case, and the business fails, lenders can put a lien on that house or put the credit card debt in collections, damaging the wife’s score as well as the husband’s.
3. June Cleaver on “Leave It to Beaver”
Many stay-at-home moms like June Cleaver can attest to the fact that establishing a credit history can be tough. The Credit CARD Act mandated that consumers have their own income to qualify for credit accounts, which left many stay-at-home parents without the ability to build credit on their own, relying only on their spouse’s credit.
Luckily, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has worked to solve that issue.
Where does that leave June? Since the number and type of accounts on your credit report is one of the five major credit scoring factors, she may have a low credit score because of her limited credit history.
4. Nancy Botwin on “Weeds”
Running a marijuana empire leaves you little time to worry about your credit, especially when it seems you’re an episode away from death week in and week out. Since most of her transactions are cash-based, she’s rarely using credit, which may hurt her score.
But Nancy’s biggest credit problem is probably her prison sentence.
At the end of Season 6, Nancy is arrested and confesses to murder, which lands her in prison for three years. Inmates often have major credit problems, mostly because they have few tools for managing their finances while imprisoned. They also fall into the category of “credit ghosts” and have trouble getting access to credit after their sentence is over.
5. Niki Sanders on “Heroes”
When we first meet Niki Sanders, she’s being hounded by debt collectors — except they’re the violent, nonregulated type of collectors. If Niki has turned to loan sharks, she can’t get a loan elsewhere, which means her credit is also not doing so well.
Add to that Niki’s alter ego, Jessica, her split personality who violently protects Niki, and you have a recipe for bad credit. After all, anytime Niki reads a credit card statement or bill, she’ll spot charges made by Jessica and wonder if she’s an identity theft victim.
Mental illness can have serious financial implications, as well. We recently heard the story of a woman whose bipolar disorder wreaked havoc on her credit.
6. Lucille Bluth on “Arrested Development”
Although her husband ran a successful real estate business for years, being a part of the 1 percent doesn’t guarantee Lucille Bluth great credit. In fact, some of the wealthiest Americans have bad credit.
“There are a surprisingly large number of rich deadbeats,” Rod Griffin, Experian director of public education, told us recently. He said he’s been asked by consumers with a lot of money why their credit scores are terrible. “It’s because you’re not getting your credit card bill paid on time, or you’re not paying your utility bills on time, and you’re maxing out the credit cards that you have.”
7. Lori Grimes on “The Walking Dead”
The upside of a zombie apocalypse is that all those unpaid debts or student loans are wiped out with the rest of humanity. Lori, the matriarch of the Grimes family, doesn’t have to worry about any of these.
In her life before the apocalypse, Lori was a stay-at-home parent and may have struggled with the same credit issues as June Cleaver. Good thing the world collapsed and all credit and debt systems were thrown out the window. Otherwise she may have trouble getting a car loan on her own.
More on Credit.com:
- Does Checking My Credit Score Hurt My Credit?
- What’s a Good Credit Score?
- How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report