Tuesday, October 28, 2008

An Economic Victim--The American Marriage

When our daughter, aka "Bunny" was three years old, she was convinced she would marry her Papa when she grew up. He was and is her hero.

Well, Bunny's hero (Bob) and I went to see the movie about another hero who was a firefighter featured in "Fireproof" http://www.fireproofmymarriage.com/ . It was made for $1 million dollars and as of this morning had grossed $20 million, a certifiable and unexplainable "hit" by Hollywood standards. The New York Times reviewer said: "Fireproof may not be the most profound movie ever made, but it does have its commendable elements" and "But the cast of mostly amateurs (Mr. Cameron of “Growing Pains” being the exception) is surprisingly good."

During the movie, I laughed, I cried, I cringed (at some of the acting). But we left feeling that three couples we know, who are on the brink of divorce, should see it and maybe it would save their marriage.

Saving marriages is also a big part of my work, believe it or not. When the number one reason cited in divorce is "arguments over money" I wanted to see if this "marriage movie" dealt with economic issues. Money made its appearance, when the main character put his money where his mouth was and as a result, his wife returned to their marriage.

With an eye on the economy, we need to talk about keeping an eye on one of the main victims of difficult economic times--the American marriage. Believing that communication about money matters is the key, I developed the "Money Workout" which dedicates one hour to talking through your money issues with your mate. It has made a huge differences in marriages and if you want a copy of this workout, just email assistant@elliekay.com and put "Money Workout" in the subject line.

Don't let the economy make your relationship the next victim, fireproof your marriage.

Ellie Kay

"America's Family Financial Expert"


Monday, October 20, 2008

Ellie on The Today Show

Hey, isn't it great when you can be two places at once? I'm visiting my daughter in college in Washington and last night, while we were sitting in the theater, watching the touring Broadway version of "Phantom of the Opera" there was a story being prepped in NYC for The Today Show.

So this morning, while we ordered room service for breakfast, I was also on The Today Show in New York City! The piece is about the historical tendency for merchants to try and "sell" the consumer during difficult economic times. The reporter saw that during the current financial crisis, there is another trend--some merchants are actually trying to help their customer weather the storm. That's where I come in--as the financial expert who has partnered with Wal-Mart in order to help educate consumers in all the areas that matter most from budgeting to paying down debt to buying smarter.

To see the show, go to:

Today Show – 10/20/08http://www.criticalmention.com/ctv3-1/landing_email.php?type=email&video=true&random_string=7e2738249097a1ec8d1f5c1eabd8bda5

Now, back to visiting with my baby girl!

Ellie Kay

"America's Family Financial Expert" (R)


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Random House AudioBooks & The New York Times

I don't get sick often, but two days after I posted my last blog I got kicked into bed for FIVE DAYS! I had chills, fever, a migraine--it was so bad I couldn't take my kids to/from school. Bob, who was out of town flying, called my girlfriends, Lina and Audrey, who helped in the pinch. Once every couple of years, I get that sick. I even had to have Bob drive me down to Los Angeles on Sun night to be in place to record my audiobook on Monday morning. I was set to do the reading.

Miraculously, by 6:00 PM on Sun, I started feeling better. Even though I was as weak as a kitten, I managed to get through the first day's worth of taping. Jessica, my producer, was fabulous--she made me sound young and skinny! She also told me I was wearing "quiet clothes" when I arrived at the studio--knits that don't make sounds. She said she had one famous producer arrive in a Safari suit. Once he had taken off most of the suit, he announced, "I'm not taking anything else off!"

On the second day of taping, I went down to the Hilton gift shop and got a copy of the New York Times and who was featured in the Business day but yours truly? http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/14/business/14homeec.html?oref=login# There's been a flurry of major media since it hit and it's been busy for this weak kitten, just coming back.

One of the other fun things I learned at the audio book taping was when Jessica, a producer-and-attorney-and-single-mom, turned me on to http://www.fatwallet.com/ . This is a site like Craig's list, but more inclusive, and better monitored (to keep whack jobs out). When I got home, I played around on the site and found coupons for free Lattes at Barnes and Noble. I picked up the boys from school and we all had a free drink thanks to FatWallet.
Now I'm off on travels---again.

Ellie Kay

America's Family Financial Expert (R)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ellie on Fox News Network!

I came home from Fort Polk, LA to a message from The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet. They had a family they wanted to help recession proof their life. I packed my bags and left the next day for New York. My hotel was in Times Square, so I shielded my eyes from looking at the N-ked Cowboy (and instead saw the N-ked Cowdog) and made my way to the Stage Deli for some pickles and cheesecake.

Here's a link to the show we did with the Payne family. They were fantastic and when they showed up, the father did not have a job after much searching, they had their five beautiful kids in tow and their house was in foreclosure. Here's a link to their story.


And it's cool to report that this story has a happy progress report after only one week! Here's the note I got from Jefri and Tymika:

This is Jefri Payne from Indianapolis, IN. My wife (Tymika) and I were on the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet with you last Monday. I am writing to thank you for all the wisdom, advice, and most of all the encouragement you shared to help us improve our lives financially. Things have started to improve for us. I started a new job Wednesday as a substitute teacher in the local school district. I have signed on with Career Builder to improve my marketability. Tymika is clipping coupons like a madwoman. We took our children to Wal-mart with the gift card and treated them to some new clothes, shoes, and groceries. We have spoken to a certified mortgage loan officer about our mortgage situation. After reviewing our paperwork, she discovered that we have been overcharged. To top things off, the realator who got us in this house was put in jail for mortgage fraud. When everything is said and done, we will be paying 50% less per month and possibly credited all that we have paid thus far. I am looking forward to things turning around completely. --- Thank you, Jefri and Tymika Payne!

So take courage, Mr. & Mrs. America! Your "low point" may simply be your "turning point" toward a road to recovery!

Ellie Kay
America's Family Financial Expert (R)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wall Street Meets Main Street

The only thing worse than being associated with Wall street these days is being a Wall-Street-type going back to your college reunion. I've been remiss in posting the last couple of weeks because I've had back-to-back-to-back trips. The first leg was for my husband, Bob's, Air Force Acadmey reunion.

We saw generals, astronauts, corporate CEOs, airline pilots (lots of those) and even an occassional wayward fighter pilot or two. Bob clearly had the most enviable job--as a test pilot for the Sabreliner and F-4 fighter jet.

At this reunion, the week the Dow fell south of the equator, the least enviable job was that of a financial investor. Most of these Wall Street guys had a good attitude, but Bob and I spent a painful 20 minutes with one Financial Management guy who spent 1/2 the time talking about how rich he was (yeah, I believe THAT) and the other 1/2 about how smart he was to own the company. Bob tried to interject, "Well, Ellie works in the financial area as well--she's an author, speaker and media personality." He took one very condescending look at me, tightened his lips, raised his eyebrows and looked as if the idea of listening to me talk about my work would be as pleasant as the thought of having to stand in for the "Naked Cowboy" in the middle of Times Square. I spared him. Instead I said, "Bob, he probably needs to go and catch up with other class mates, if he wants to know more about me, he can go to my website."

The vast majority of Wall Street is so disconnected with Main Street. Their main interest is "my accumulated wealth, my ambition, and oh, yeah, ME." But then came the second leg of my back-to-back-to-back trips--Fort Polk, Louisiana or Main Street America. At this post, 85% of the soldiers are deployed NOW. They brought me out to speak at a spouse's conference that the leadership put together to help these (primarily) women deal with: 1) their finances and 2) the life and death aspect of their role as military wives. Just before I came to town,we got word that the post lost a soldier. So when I spoke, behind me on the platform, the stage was set up for a memorial service for the staff seargant who was killed in Iraq and left a wife and three kids. The memorial was to be held in the same building where we had our event. My message was practical and purposeful and one that gave hope in the midst of their real world life.

The next day I spoke again to another group on post. One of the women came up to me and said she had talked to her soldier the night before from Iraq. He said, "let me live vicariously through you, what did you do today?" She told him about the spouse's conference and some of the funny stories. He laughed. She also told him about other aspects of the presentation and said, "She made me laugh. She made me cry. She made me proud to be an Army wife."

He asked her to give me a message, knowing she would see me at the event that day. "My husband wanted me to tell you" she smiled shyly, "Thank you for making my spouse laugh. Thank you for making her cry. Thank you for making her proud to be my wife."

When it comes down to working on Wall Street or working with those on Main Street. I think you know where I choose to live. Later this week, I'll talk about the final leg of my back-to-back-to-back trips (hint, it involved Times Square and the good news was Bob's broker classmate wasn't there!)

Ellie Kay

America's Family Financial Expert (R)