Donald Trump may be famous for telling people they’re fired, but it’s he who should be getting the boot. It’s not just because of his unsubstantiated claims that President Obama was not born in the U.S., but because the man is a bad manager.

I confess. I watch NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.” I’m not a fan of Trump and all his bombastic boasting, which recently has faced increased scrutiny. But I’m intrigued by the working dynamics among the celebrity contestants who compete to raise money for their favorite charities. Anybody that has ever collaborated on a project with others knows how frustrating it can be when so many personalities are forced to interact.

This past Sunday’s episode featuring the smack down between NeNe Leakes, one of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” and Star Jones, former co-host of “The View,” that showed just how badly Trump manages.

In front of a client, Leakes acted like a thug. If this is your kind of thing, you have to read EW’s recap. Leakes invaded Jones space big time, looking as if she was going to punch Jones in the face. She was verbally abusive, saying, "You talked a good game, now bring your street game because that's what I'm bringing."

And what did Trump do while Leakes was using profanity while attacking a co-worker?


He didn’t admonish Leakes for threatening a teammate. He didn’t apologize to the client for his failure to control Leakes. He just stood there with his bad combover waiting for Leakes to stop. Whether in real life or a reality show, you never act out like that in front of a client.

Yes, yes, I know, it’s TV. Trump wants the fireworks to boost ratings. Still, Trump needed to shut down Leakes (or maybe he’s scared of her, too).

So let’s put this in a personal finance context. How many of you have worked with someone like Leakes? You know the type. They claim they just “tell it like it is,” say “I keep it real,” or give the disclaimer that “I’m just being honest.”

That’s a bald-faced lie. For many folks, what they consider “keeping it real” or “telling it like it is” translates to just being mean and nasty.

So here’s the Color of Money Question for the Week: Have you worked with a NeNe Leakes? If so, tell me how you handled the situation. Send you comments to In the subject line, put “Celebrity Apprentice.”

The Price of Prom

It’s costly to be cute for the prom.

A survey by Visa shows that the average family with a high school student attending the prom will spend between $542 and $1,073 on the prom, depending on their incomes and the areas in which they live.. This includes things such as attire, transportation and pictures.

“Prom inflation has run amok,” said Jason Alderman, Visa’s senior director of Global Financial Education. “Ever more extravagant proms create a cycle of teenagers continuously trying to outdo each other, making the evening more and more expensive.”

If you or your teen are still planning for the prom, here are some tips that could help cut down on expenses.

I’m just curious. What’s the most outrageous expenditure your teen or anyone you know is spending for the prom this year? Shoot me an e-mail at

Live Video and Text Chat Today

Join me today at 11:45am for my live video chat. Afterwards, at noon, I will begin my online text chat.

It’s just you and me so send your question in early or read the transcript later.

No Debt, Less Stress

More Americans are giving up their addiction to credit.

A TransUnion study found that 8 million Americans stopped using general purpose credit cards in the past year. In the study, TransUnion said the reduction in credit usage could be attributed to a few things. Some people couldn’t use their cards because they were cut off and charged off.

“The news remains good as consumers continue to show fiscal responsibility in paying down their credit card obligations,” said Ezra Becker, vice president of research and consulting in TransUnion's financial services business unit.

Fewer credit card payments mean more money in your pocket.

"Studies show that people who pay with cash save approximately 20 percent over those who pay with credit and don't feel deprived,” said Gail Cunningham, a spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, told Sheryl Nance-Nash of

And for those who think that credit cards are necessary when booking travel plans, here are some tips on how to get a hotel or car rental without using a credit card.

Looking For Debt Defeaters

Have you put away your credit card and paid off the debt? If so, you’re a Debt Defeater and I want to hear from you.

On my live video chat I feature these Debt Defeaters and their stories of tackling significant amounts of debts. You get a cool free t-shirt and a live online pat on the back.

So send your Debt Defeater stories to

Responses to “Walking Away”

A FICO survey found that more Americans are walking away from their mortgages even though they can afford the payments. They are called strategic defaulters.  I wanted to know what you thought of this practice. Here’s what you had to say in response to last week’s Color of Money Question:

 “Yes they are right in walking away,” says William Smith of Catasauqua, Pa.  “The banks are partly responsible for the housing crisis, and continue to charge high interest rates to credit card borrowers, while paying less than 1 percent on deposits and borrowing from the Feds for even less.  I am paying my mortgage, but am thinking of strategically defaulting on my credit cards.” 

Kathy Grimm of Omaha, Neb. says strategic defaulters are breaking a contract that they and their mortgage lender both made in good faith. 

“If they feel free to break their contracts, why do they get upset when someone takes advantage of them?” Grimm wrote. “It's the same thing. And, anyone who expects home prices to always rise was not being realistic. Your home is not an asset until it's paid off, and it should not be your biggest or only investment strategy. I hope their credit scores are so damaged that they can't get another home for years, and even have trouble renting.”

“When you consider the enormous up-front interest costs on top of a devalued home, it's easy to see why some owners may find it to be the proverbial money-pit, particularly if they're stretched to make those payments and are unable to save. I can't condone it, but I can understand it,” says Linda Ollis of Omaha, Neb.

 “The ability of someone to simply walk away from a mortgage they can pay, simply for their own financial convenience, is just another symptom of what’s wrong with America,” wrote Eric Nikolai of Troy, Ill. “People assume its okay to let someone else clean up after them, without a well-defined sense of what is right and wrong.”

Angela Loehr of Alexandria, Va. simply says, “A commitment is a commitment even if it is no longer preferred.”


 Tia Lewis contributed to this e-letter.

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