Money lessons learned from The People’s Court

by Kristina Tahnyak on March 20, 2014 · 5 comments

Good morning Dinks.  Last week I was really sick.  I was flat out in bed for five days and I couldn’t even roll over because it made me want to be sick.  I couldn’t do much except watch a lot of TV and a lot of Netflix.  I have a personal confession.  I am really addicted to judge shows.

You know I am a big fan of reality TV shows and judge shows are no different.  My two favorites are Judge Judy and The People’s Court.  I could watch Judge Marilyn Milian all day every day.  She’s feisty and she always tells it like it is.  You can’t hate on her because she gives her rulings in such a nice, pretty way you actually believe she’s being helpful.

Even though the cases are real and the people are real on The People’s Court there are a few reoccurring themes and the underlying lesson is usually the same.   A lot of the cases usually involve dogs, neighbors and cars.  The lessons learned on The People’s Court can also be applied to strengthening our money habits.

Financial advice from Judge Marilyn Milian on The People’s Court

1. Always have proof.  If you have been overcharged for a purchase and want a refund you need to have proof.  Just because the defendant is lying it doesn’t mean the plaintiff has a right to get their money back.  We always need to have proof if we want something.  I see people walk into The People’s Court with nothing; no documents, no folders, no text messages and no photos.  If you want money you need proof that you were at a loss.

2. Don’t lend money to family members.  So many cases on The People’s Court involve family members.  Cousins suing aunts, sisters suing brothers and parents suing their children.  Unfortunately I have learned the hard way that money and family don’t mix.  I lent money to my cousin and now seven years later I have not yet seen the money or my cousin since.  Money and family don’t mix and if you want to keep a happy family don’t lend money to your family members.

3. Keep your dog on a leash.  Last week I saw three cases where plaintiffs were suing their neighbors because they were bitten by their dog.  If you don’t have health insurance a simple dog bite can add up to over $1000 in medical bills.  Who knew?  My boyfriend Nick and I don’t have pets because he feels having a dog costs a lot of money.  And he’s right.  He was referring to the food, grooming and general maintenance of having a dog.  I’m sure he never considered the fact that we may be sued because we let our dog off the leash.

4. You are held responsible for your actions when you are drunk.  I can’t even count the number of times someone came in to The People’s Court and said they weren’t responsible for their actions because they were drunk.  If my stomach wasn’t so uneasy I would have been laughing.  Judge Marilyn Milian has zero tolerance for drunken nights.  We have to understand even if we are intoxicated we should still be accountable for our actions.

Photo by steakpinball

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brock @Cleverdude March 20, 2014 at 7:10 am

The biggest thing I learned from watching the People’s Court….er…I mean being in the same room s my wife when she watches it…is “Get it in writing.” Verbal agreements are a problem waiting to happen!

2 Daisy March 21, 2014 at 9:29 pm

This is an awesome post! Growing up, we didn’t have cable, but we used rabbit ears for a couple of channels and when I was a teenager, the only show on those channels when I got home was a similar show to People’s Court. SO many of the episodes were showing people who had leant money to family members (or their spouse’s family members, landlords, etc) and didn’t get it back. It is nuts!

3 Kristina March 22, 2014 at 5:51 pm

@Brock – I love it that you and your wife watch The People’s Court “together”. I know it’s a strange addiction but I like to record them on my PVR and watch the episodes when I get home from work. Judge Milian is the best.

4 Kristina March 22, 2014 at 5:54 pm

@Daisy Oh yes there is always some case on The People’s Court where family is lending money to their family or their in laws. For some reason people don’t feel they need to pay back their family. Why is that?

5 Stephen April 24, 2014 at 4:49 pm

@Kristina — Relationships fall into two general categories. Either a relationship is social or its business. When a relationship goes from social to business and then attempts to go back to social, really bad things happen. Lending money is one of the most fundamental business relationships in our society and family is one of the most fundamental social relationships in our civilization. Put simply, you cannot mix the two and be successful. Perhaps the most fruitful relationships are those that live on the outer edges of each category. Acquaintances you can trust just enough to do a lot of business with. It might be the reason for such promising platforms as micro-lending or crowd funding. The reason why people don’t feel it necessary to pay back their family members is because the borrower sees the relationship as social and the lending side sees the transaction as business with the belief that the relationship will return to being social afterwards.

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