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Manage your loans

Spelling is back in the spotlight these days because of the $400,000 loan she and McDermott took out in 2012. Spelling owes roughly half of that amount on her end — more than $200,000 — according to US Weekly’s investigation.

City National Bank has come after Spelling and McDermott several times to receive their payment and interest. But now, it’s also come to the media’s attention.

Granted, the average American doesn’t have their bank statements leaked to a magazine, but that doesn’t mean debts can’t wreak as much havoc on your life as it has on Spelling’s.

Not paying off your loans — especially for more than a decade — will badly impact your credit score. A low score may prevent you from taking out a mortgage or an auto loan. It could even affect your ability to rent an apartment, as many landlords require a credit check.

Many Americans are in the same position as Spelling. The Federal Reserve of New York’s most recent numbers stated that the total household debt rose to $17.69 trillion in the first quarter of 2024.

But there are ways to start paying off large amounts. Personal finance celebrity Dave Ramsey recommended using the “snowball method” to make it easier for yourself.

Essentially, you start with your smallest debt and pay it all off, while paying just the minimums on your other debts. Once you’re done with one debt, you move on to the next smallest debt, and so on, until you have everything paid off.

Kiss Your Credit Card Debt Goodbye

Millions of Americans are struggling to crawl out of debt in the face of record-high interest rates. A personal loan offers lower interest rates and fixed payments, making it a smart choice to consolidate high-interest credit card debt. It helps save money, simplifies payments, and accelerates debt payoff. Credible is a free online service that shows you the best lending options to pay off your credit card debt fast — and save a ton in interest.

Explore better rates

Invest your inheritance

Spelling grew up in a Bel Air mansion with a father worth around $600 million at the time of his death, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He gained his fortune from producing such classic TV shows as Beverly Hills 90210, Charlie’s Angels and Dynasty.

In the early 2000s, Spelling had gotten herself into deep credit card debt, according to a 2008 Good Morning America (GMA) article.

“Bad shopping habits die hard,” she told GMA. “I grew up a certain way. I never had to worry about money… that was my reality.”

Spelling added that, at the time, she would have rather gone “bankrupt” than take more money from her father. She didn’t want to be known as “the rich little girl.”

Spelling eventually gave in to her family money. However, she received a surprisingly modest $800,000 (after taxes) in inheritance after her father died, according to GMA.

Spelling never said what she did with the inheritance, but she did talk about getting out of debt. She started creating more wealth for herself, rather than living off the money from her father.

She created a jewelry line and starred in a reality show, Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, with her then-husband, McDermott, to bring in more income.

Most Americans likely aren’t getting a million dollar inheritance any time soon, but windfalls do happen: a tax refund or an insurance claim could come out of nowhere.

Instead of using it to buy yourself something nice, consider investing that money so that your future self can have more financial security.

For example, putting that money toward your 401(k) can help create a future where you’ve saved and invested enough to become a millionaire by the time you retire — just like Aaron Spelling.

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Sabina Wex is a writer and podcast producer in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Fast Company, CBC and more.

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