Financial Situation of the Watts : ShannanWatts

Financial Situation of the Watts : ShannanWatts


The Watts were financially destitute, filed several bankruptcies, were 3 mortgage payments behind and had next to nothing in savings.

I’m trying to develop an understanding of their financial situation. Please provide information for me to add or corrections. From my understanding:


Chris earned 5400$ monthly at time of murders. Pretax.

Shanann likely was losing money, but it is unclear. She had approximately 80K in her downline, but that doesn’t really relate to her take home income. That indicates that Thrive generated 80K in revenue from Shannan’s downline. It does not consider how much she sold or how much revenue she generated for herself. She participated in at least 3 MLMs. She joined Thrive several years after it went into business. The vast majority of people in MLMs lose more money than they earn. Of the minority that do profit, most make less than 5000$ a year. There are reports of CW claiming his wife earned approximately 72K the previous year. I believe he was confusing how much revenue was in her downline vs. what her actual takehome salary was. Shanann made most / all major financial decisions after they determined Chris was not competent due to selling his 4 wheeler at a loss. People in MLMs tend to mislead people about how much they actually earn. Same way in which gamblers talk up their big wins and not mention how much they lost.


Shanann had Chris buy her a 15K wedding ring that was valued in the bankruptcy at 1K. It is unclear if the ring was actually purchased 15K and was reported as less in the bankruptcy or if the ring depreciated in value for an unknown reason.

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A mustang valued at approximately 7K, owned by CW and later sold.

The family dog was valued at 5$ in the bankruptcy filings.

The couple reported two savings accounts with a total of $9.51 and a joint checking account with $864.


In 2015 they had $1,547 debt to Macy’s, $3,038 to Nordstrom’s, and $18,968 to a credit union as of 2015. $11,245 in student loans; $740 to Choice Recovery in Columbus, Ohio, for health and chiropractic services; $1,301 to Kaiser Permanente for medical services; and $2,612 to Good Samaritan Medical Center.

The credit union debt likely stemmed from the wedding.

The student loans appear to stem from Shannan attending a Registered Nursing Assistant program. She did not complete the program and left to Colorado shortly after starting. It is likely she misappropriated the student loans to pay for unrelated expenses.

At the time of the murder they had a 400K housing loan. Chris’s name was on the loan, but both their names were on the deed. Chris was solely responsible for the loan while Shan’ann enjoyed half ownership of the house without the financial responsibility. Shanann was behind on mortgage payments on her house she had built when she was 25. She sold the property with all her personal items and furnishings at a loss after it sat on the market for 6 months. She was unable to qualify for a loan when they bought the Colorado house.

I read that Shanann had Chris buy her a 15K wedding ring that was valued in the bankruptcy at 1K.

2.5K monthly daycare services at Primrose. A private school for fancy children.

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Leased a SUV for 600$ a month. There are claims that her company “paid” for this vehicle. It’s part of the illusion the MLMs create. The MLM requires you to lease a fancy vehicle to achieve certain levels. They will pay some/all of the lease payment if you buy 12K of product every month. If you fail to do so, you’re on your own. It is possible she was consistently moving enough product to meet these goals, but incredibly unlikely.

Chris payed 73$ a paycheck to use his work truck for personal use. This was a benefit of his job.

Based on this information, it’s very likely that they were not far from another bankruptcy. Without a massive overhaul in their lifestyle, they wouldn’t be financially solvent. Chris had pulled money from his 401K at some point.


This dude did a deep dive. Check his video for full picture of their finances.


Car lease:

Daycare /education:

Checking account balance:,documents%20in%20the%20court%20record.&text=The%20year%20prior%20to%20the,at%20Anadarko%20Petroleum%2C%20records%20show.

Wedding debt:

Why were the Watts Family Finances in Ruins?

Additional source:

An Idiot’s Guide to the Watts Family Finances