MONEY: Stay at home spouse should think outside the box

OCT 22, 2012, 2:03 PM

Should Stay-at-Home Spouses Get Their Own Credit Cards?

By AnnaMaria Andriotis

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An effort to loosen credit-card standards for stay-at-home spouses would seem to benefit millions of consumers, but critics say the change could actually push some families deeper into debt and derail their finances.

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed loosening regulations to make it easier for the nation’s more than 16 million stay-at-home spouses to qualify for credit cards, largely undoing more stringent requirements put into place in October 2011. Prior to then, consumers could sign up for a credit card by stating their household income, even if all of that income came from their spouse. But the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act required the Federal Reserve to amend several lending provisions for credit card issuers, including a new rule that issuers had to ask for individual income on a credit card application, and could no longer rely on household income.

If enacted, the CFPB’s proposal would allow credit card issuers to ask card applicants 21 and over for income to which they have a “reasonable expectation of access,” which could include a spouse’s salary. The bureau says it’s aware of several issuers that have denied card applications from otherwise creditworthy individuals based on the applicant’s stated income.


Not everyone agrees that this problem would outweigh the benefits. Some say the old rules were more fair for consumers. “Stay-at-home parents shouldn’t be penalized because they don’t personally bring in income,” says Scott Bilker, founder of

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Having had a spouse pass, maybe I am a little sensitive to this issue.

I see this area fraught with issues over and above the very real and present danger that the couple may get into credit card debt.

The value of a two income family is that, if properly diversified by company (i.e., both spouses don’t work for the same big company) as well as by locale (i.e., dad works on Wall Street and mom works on Broad Street in a different sector), then that provides a lot of safety. As long as they “live” on one income, then they are relatively insulated when one of them loses their employment. (Notice I said “when”; not “if”!)

There is a HUGE danger when the two checks are not “independent”. Or, if they need both to “live”.

(Either of those cases are a much bigger problem than the risk being explored here!)

The stay at home spouse, for whatever reason, was deemed the “lesser of two evils”. Maybe, most likely, they earned less and the loss of income is substantively made up for by the lack of day care costs. Net of taxes, commuting, lunches, and “wear ‘n’ tear”, the couple decides to forgo some income, which when net of costs is considered, isn’t so bad.

From my pov, this has several risks to this approach.

Number One is that the stay at home spouse’s skills will “age” badly. For all intents and purposes, I’d guesstimate the spouse’s renetry rate at just the minimum burger flipper wage. “Everyone” can go to MickeyD’s?

Life insurance is a hidden expense in this equation. Having had a dependent spouse, much of my fiscal planning was around if I got hit with the proverbial Mack Truck, what does she do?

One, that I’ve seen but not experienced, is what happens if the stay at home spouse — male or female — gets divorced. The TV prototypical example is Doc X who gets married in med school; typically to a nurse. Becomes a big doc and has an affair with the sexy secretary. Stay at home spouse is <crude vernacular for the act of procreation>. The stay at home spouse is muchly at the mercy of the working spouse.

I’m not sure how you handle these things.

I’m sure the working spouse would be insulted at any suggestion that the stay at how spouse would be eft high and dry.


Sorry, but it has to be considered.

Stay at home spouse BEFORE they agree to become the “wife” (boy or girl):

(1) Need life insurance that names them as the beneficiary and lock it in stone;

(2) Need a legal document that outline any promises or expectations (written by a pre-divorce lawyer); and

(3) Funds on deposit in the “stay at home” person’s name that can’t be touched. (Think Titanic’s lifeboat).

Too many people — gay or straight — married or living together — traditional or non-traditional — don’t think outside the box.

I write this not for the adults, but for the children who always seem to get the short end of the straw.


RANT: COX TV — strike one; it’s out

Thank you for choosing Cox Communications. A representative will be with you shortly.
You are now chatting with ‘Louis’.

Louis: Welcome to Cox Live Chat Support. I will be assisting you throughout this Chat session.

ferdinand reinke: “temporarily off air”?

Louis: I understand you are experiencing inconveniences with your cable service. Am I correct?

ferdinand reinke: all tv is “off the air”?

Louis: I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Louis: To better assist you, I will need the following information:

Louis: 1. The 10-Digit Phone Number as it is listed on the account.

Louis: 2. Your full name as it is listed on the account.

Louis: 3. Your complete home address where the service is located.

Louis: 4. The last four digits of the Social Security Number, or the four-digit Cox PIN if you are a former or current Cox Digital Telephone subscriber.

ferdinand reinke: is it or is’t it?

ferdinand reinke: {Privacy Invoked}

Louis: Thank you for your information.

ferdinand reinke: Is all tbv KO-ed or is just me?

Louis: Just a moment, please.

Louis: I have verified with my resources:

Louis: Unfortunately, Cox is experiencing some inconveniences with our services in your area.

Louis: Cox technicians are aware of this issue, and are working towards a resolution. Although there is no official estimated time of repair at this time, we are hopeful this issue will soon be resolved, and normal operations restored.

Louis: I do apologize.

ferdinand reinke: FYI! It’s not an inconvenience. It’s an outage.

Louis: Thank you for your information.

Louis: Is there anything else I can help you with?

ferdinand reinke: nope!

Louis: Thank you for choosing Cox Communications as your friend in the Digital Age.

Thank you for chatting with us. Please click the “End Chat” button on the top right of the chat window to tell us about your experience today.

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“Keep the service operational. I’m expected to pay for what I don’t get?”

# – # – # – # – #  2012-Jun-10 @ 20:05  

RANT: Verizon Service

A Verizon Service Representative will be with you shortly. Thank you.20:54:29 Estimated wait time is 12 mins 33 secs. We apologize for the delay. You are 2 nd in the queue.

My DVR / TV listing says please wait since this afternoon. I’ve recycled it a few times and used the trouble shooter to reset it. Seems like “tv guide” is broken at your end.

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You have to be kidding me.

# – # – # – # – #  2012-Jan-29 @ 20:55

So I decided it might be nice to have the GUIDE working, so I tried again.

# – # – # – # – #  2012-Jan-30 @ 12:21

Live Chat Window
Click to Reload ChatA Verizon Service Representative will be with you shortly. Thank you.
Agent Sampat has joined. (11:48:37)Sampat : Chat ID for this session is 01301292823.

(11:48:37)Sampat(11:48:41): Thank you for using Verizon FIOS Technical Support. I Apologize for any delays in reaching us today. My name is Sampat. May I confirm the Telephone number as 7328219525?Ferdinand Reinke(11:49:19): Yes. Guide has said please wait since Sunday, despite two or three resets and unplugging everything and repluggin it in.Sampat(11:49:54): Thank you and I am sorry for the inconvenience caused to you.Sampat(11:50:36): I need to pull up your records. So please help me with the name on the account, complete address as well as a good can be reached telephone number for future reference.Ferdinand Reinke(11:51:16): ferdinand reinke, {Privacy Invoked}

Sampat(11:51:36): Thank you, please provide the ZIP code.Ferdinand Reinke(11:51:43): 08824Sampat(11:51:48): Thank you for the information. Is it okay to address you by your first name?Ferdinand Reinke(11:51:56): yesSampat(11:52:06): Thank you, Ferdinand.Sampat(11:52:17): Just to let you know, in case the chat gets disconnected due to any issue at either end, please re-initiate the chat through the same channel or call our FIOS phone support at 1-800-837-4966, whichever is convenient to you.Sampat(11:52:32): I will be sending you an email about self help tips on minor telephone, video and internet issues to your email address. May I know your preferred email ID?Ferdinand Reinke(11:52:43): {Privacy Invoked}

Sampat(11:52:48): Superb! I will update it right now.Ferdinand Reinke(11:53:09): Update it where?Sampat(11:53:24): I mean, I will update it in my database.Sampat(11:53:35): Ferdinand, I understand that one of the STB(set top box)is not showing time displayed. Am I correct?Ferdinand Reinke(11:54:44): No, it’s showing time. TC programming is working fine. The GUIDE is not populating with data and the DVR is recording with “Untitled Recording” for all shows preprogrammed to record.Sampat(11:54:54): Regret the inconvenience caused and I assure you that we at Verizon are always here to help you out with any issues in regards to your services. Please be rest assured we would fix this for you today.Ferdinand Reinke(11:54:55): TV not tcSampat(11:55:11): Not a problem.Sampat(11:55:16): Please post the STB serial number of the Set Top Box that is having a problem. It is located underneath the box towards the back and it begins with an “M”.Ferdinand Reinke(11:56:55): I don’t have that number handy and can’t crawl around and get it. I have a HD box in the Living Room and the automated system knows all about it because it reset it.Sampat(11:57:51): Ferdinand, I am sorry for the inconvenience caused to you. I see that there are two STB(set top boxes) installed in your house.Sampat(11:58:17): So, I need to know the exact box that has the issue, so that I will run one advanced test in the server and will try to fix the issue for you.Ferdinand Reinke(11:58:22): Yup, 1 labeled Living room hdSampat(11:58:33): Thank you so much.Ferdinand Reinke(11:58:38): the other non-HD in the bedroomSampat(11:58:43): So, the box is a DVR box. Correct?Sampat(11:59:03): I mean, the issue is with DVR box. Correct?Ferdinand Reinke(11:59:03): Livinng Room is an HD DVR set top box.Ferdinand Reinke(11:59:10): Yes.Sampat(11:59:26): Thank you for the confirmation.Sampat(11:59:36): I have initiated a line test from the server.Sampat(12:00:07): The line test will reset the box.Sampat(12:00:13): I am going to initialize the set-top box (STB). All recordings and schedules will remain intact, but STB’s Personal Settings will be reverted to their defaults (including the Favorite Channels List and Parental Controls). The STB will power itself off and the time will disappear within a minute. Once the time returns on the box, press the POWER button on front of the STB it back on. Let me know when you have it back on and what is displayed.Sampat(12:02:54): Ferdinand, do you find any changes in the box?Ferdinand Reinke(12:03:28): reboot complete says press menuFerdinand Reinke(12:04:06): press menu?Sampat(12:04:24): Sure, please go ahead.Ferdinand Reinke(12:04:36): “setting up”Ferdinand Reinke(12:04:49): “Starting up”Sampat(12:05:21): Great!Sampat(12:05:31): Fingers crossed here!Ferdinand Reinke(12:06:04): “Welcome to new mdia guide”Sampat(12:06:19): Its seems that all is good till now.Ferdinand Reinke(12:06:31): “Select TV type”Sampat(12:06:41): Now, I request you to check if the issue got fixed or not.Ferdinand Reinke(12:07:28): remote doesn’t do anything. It’s doing some yada yada introSampat(12:08:19): Ferdinand , lets wait for the DVR to set up completely.Ferdinand Reinke(12:08:56): Guide says “please wait” just like it did before.Sampat(12:09:01): Oh! I see.Sampat(12:09:07): Can you do a favor for me?Ferdinand Reinke(12:09:11): ?Ferdinand Reinke(12:09:24): What?Sampat(12:09:45): I request you to connect this box to another TV and check if it works with another TV or not.Sampat(12:09:57): Is this feasible for you?Ferdinand Reinke(12:10:52): Can’t do that. Don’t have another spare tv. The same condition exists on the non-HD TV and box. “Please wait” I just checked it while waiting for the reboot to complete.Sampat(12:11:26): Okay, not a problem.Ferdinand Reinke(12:11:27): Message “Full Guide — A guide error has occurred. Please try again.”Sampat(12:11:32): Here the issue seems to be with the hard ware issue with the DVR. So, I will ship you a new DVR to “3 tyne ct, kendall park, nj, 08824”.Sampat(12:11:37): Sounds good?Ferdinand Reinke(12:12:13): Argh!Sampat(12:13:09): So, shall I go ahead and put a request to the concerned team to ship a new DVR?Ferdinand Reinke(12:13:20): What else can I do?Sampat(12:14:31): I have a good news for you.Ferdinand Reinke(12:14:40): Yes?Sampat(12:15:01): I can send a technician to your house today between 3:00 PM to 7:00 Pm. Shall I confirm the slot for the same?Ferdinand Reinke(12:15:49): Sure. Have him call before he comes. I may have to run to the store during that four hours.Sampat(12:15:59): Perfect! Verizon wants to make sure that you got what you wanted.Sampat(12:16:15): In case if the technician finds any issue with the equipment within verizon , there will be no charge , if there is any trouble found with the equipment not provided by verizon then there will be a possible charge.Sampat(12:16:21): Please let me know information given below:1. Do you have any pets?2. Is your house an independent house or apartment?3. Do we require any access codes?4. Please let me know any two call back numbers that we can contact you on.Ferdinand Reinke(12:16:57): I just want the hardware to work. No pets. House. Ring bell. 9082093625Sampat(12:17:13): Sure.Sampat(12:17:29): Would you like to get messages on your cell phone about the technician arrival status ?Ferdinand Reinke(12:17:41): yes
Sampat(12:17:56): Wonderful! let me update it in my database.Sampat(12:18:07): Verizon wants ensure that you are completely delighted with our services.Sampat(12:18:17): I would like to inform you that some one above 18 yrs should be present at the house when the technician arrives. Sampat(12:18:28): Are the other Verizon services working fine?Ferdinand Reinke(12:18:45): yesSampat(12:18:51): We, at Verizon, strive to ensure and deliver exceptional service to all of our customers.Sampat(12:18:51): Thank you for giving me an opportunity to help you today. Is there anything else I could help you further?Ferdinand Reinke(12:18:56): noSampat(12:19:01): I really wish all my customers are like you. I can grade you 10/10 for being so nice and patience . I love my job the most when I get to talk to customers like you.Sampat(12:19:01): I really wish all my customers are like you. I can grade you 10/10 for being so nice and patience . I love my job the most when I get to talk to customers like you.Sampat(12:19:20): Our goal is for you to be completely satisfied with the service you have received and that you recommend us to your friends and colleagues. Additional help on all 3 FIOS services is available on our website You can also make use of the Verizon In Home Agent for your Windows and Mac computers which is available for download on .Please navigate to this website and click on the link Get In-Home Agent to download and install it. This software would help you in troubleshooting basic issues that you face with your FIOS services before you contact us. Thank you for choosing Verizon and have a nice day.Sampat(12:19:30): We wish you and your family a blessed future ahead!Sampat(12:19:30): Bye and take care of yourself!

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So, it’s a hardware problem?


Why am I not happy?

I just don’t want to be bothered. Stuff should just work.


And, I don’t believe it’s a hardware problem with the DVR!

I bet their “TV GUIDE” app is screwed up.

We’ll see.

# – # – # – # – #  2012-Jan-30 @ 12:23