The Lotus Cars Community banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,193 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
... and I need some help deciding how to deal with it.

This is one of my closest friends in life. Truly good person with a heart of gold, but he has a serious problem with money. He can't control his spending. Any time he has 2 dollars to put together, he spends it on something.

He makes decent money (nowhere near 6 figures, though), but he has nothing to show for it. He rents his house, has about $15k of credit card debt, a lease on a new Rav4 (with negative equity in it) that he makes $500 payments on (for his fiancee), and a new VW GTi.

The car situation is kind of a joke in itself. His GF had a used escort that she was happy with, and had payed off. He was driving a 1 year-old Scion XA that he had put about $4000 of extras into (remote start, GPS, and other garbage a $10k car doesn't need). He decided it was "too girly" for him, so went one weekend and traded it in on the Rav4 without doing any research or consulting any of his several "car guy" friends. Bottom line is he got ripped off and wound up with negative equity on a lease that he's way overpaying on.

Then, 6 months later, he decided he made a huge mistake on the Rav4, and talked his GF into taking it and letting him trade her car in on a new car for himself. He sat down and did the math to figure out exactly how much he could afford in payments. Oh, by the way, this was right after they found out she was pregnant... :rolleyes: So he figured out he could afford a corvette on his current salary. He had news that the company was downsizing and his job was in jeopardy, but he wasn't concerned. He wanted that Corvette... he NEEDED a Corvette. Why? No clue. To prove something to himself, I guess.... He said he was gonna come into about $600/mo extra of side work. I asked "Why not pay off your credit cards with it?" His response: "How about I do what I want with my life and you quit trying to make me miserable?" :shrug:

Well, bottom line was his fiancee wouldn't let him get the Vette - "hoochie car" - so another friend and I talked him into a GTi. 2+2 seater, quick, fun, affordable. He went for it, though he was leaning heavily toward the $32k R32. We tried to explain that the base model was the best $ value, and had a better transmission (manual vs crappy DSG), was $11k less, and almost as much fun to drive. Besides, the cloth seats on the stock GTi are fantastic, and who needs GPS et al? We had him convinced.... took him to the SFL GTG, and he was on board, and was gonna go with Chris at the end of the month to get his new GTi and let Chris bargain it for him below invoice (Chris buys multiple VWs per year - he knows what he can get). So what does my friend do? He decides it can't wait, and goes the next weekend - ALONE - and pays above invoice for a car with GPS, leather seats, et. al. and drives it off the lot for like $27k - then takes it home and puts $8k of mods into it, and now has a $35k GTi. :rolleyes:

Then, last week, he sold this server he had been holding for a non-paying side client for a while, and got $5k of pocket change. What does he do? Buys the world's best Digital SLR camera for $1500 (he doesn't even mess around with photography), and doesn't pay off any of his CC debt.

He has a $3500 road bike that he never uses, a $5000 computer with $2000 video card to play video games, a PS3 AND an XBox 360, 2 $500 cell phones, a $3000 mac book pro, and 2 1080p LCD TVs, and god knows what else.

He called me today to brag that his 401k is up to $2000. I asked how his credit card debt is. Apparently, I was only concerned with making him miserable, and he hung up on me.

The guy has a serious problem, and won't admit to it, and he won't take the advice of people who care about him. He has a child on the way - his girlfriend is on Medicaid because they wanted to put off marriage til after the baby is born and so she's not on his insurance... he doesn't seem to understand the financial responsibilities he's got. He doesn't seem to care that if he loses his job, he'll be a homeless man with a girlfriend on welfare a baby, a mac book pro and a $3500 bike. He has no fall back crutch, and he doesn't even have family in the area.

What do I do? He says I need to accept how he is. I say bull****. Healthy people aren't like that. He needs psychiatric help. Am I being controlling and trying to make him miserable like he says, or should I have an intervention with the 1/2 dozen other people who know him and feel like I do and make him seek help?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
122 Posts
Sounds like he won't listen to reasonable financial advice. But it is his life, after all. Wait until he declares bankruptcy and maybe he'll listen to you then. Or hit you up for a loan!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,193 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Oh, he's already declared bankruptcy once, and also has a divorce and other failed relationships under his belt due to financial stress. His spending is also stressing his current relationship.

I'm convinced that he's an addict (to something). He can't control his own habits, allows them to destroy other aspects of his life, and when people who love him try to tell him that he should stop, he puts up his defenses and immediately labels us as a-holes trying to make him miserable. He only surrounds himself with those who enable or ignore his problem.

I'm just sick of ignoring it. If he doesn't help himself, I can't be his friend. It's no different, imo, than someone with a drug addiction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,221 Posts
Wow. That is bad. I suppose you do all you can.


Have you tried explaining to him exactly what you posted here, that he has financial responsibilities and the thousands of dollars worth of junk he buys are not part of it? What will he do with his gf and baby if he loses his job?

It sounds like he buys things to take his mind off of being in extreme debt rather than approaching the problem.


Maybe just leave him a message explaining it in full detail, in a very NON-threatening way and let him know that you'll be available if he needs advice, help, etc. Use emotional examples to get his attention, like his GF/baby, losing his job, and then explain how you can help him liquidate some of his stuff and pay off a lot of his CC debt. Then he could work towards buying a house and having assets.






:( Sorry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,193 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
There's nothing non-threatening or non-confrontational about me. I guess that's part of the problem. I tell it like I see it, and I'm not gentle about it. It's not that I'm trying to hurt him... I know he's sensitive... but it's part of my defense mechanism. And in the end, he feels a "sibling rivalry" (known him since very young) and can't do what I "tell him" to do without feeling like he's submitting to my will. Whatever... I guess things were meant to go badly on this one. :(

I lost another really close friend to a crack addiction. Looks like I'm gonna lose this one to spending addiction. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,428 Posts
One thing you might not have considered is that there is a problem that goes well beyond the scope of just a spending addiction, and he is intentionally just spending his future away because there is an underlying problem that is just too big to grasp. And since that problem does exist, in his eyes, might as well just do whatever because nothing matters anyway. Ie live for the present because tomorrow is moot. He sounds depressed to me.

If you have an hour to devote to it, there are a bunch of 1hour episodes(in 6 parts) made by the bbc about human behavior. Here is a link to the first part of the first episode, if you wish to watch the rest, its up to you. I highly recommend everyone to watch it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Kp24ZeHtv4
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,193 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Mr Luky, very perceptive. I don't want to go into the depths of what I believe to be the cause, but I do recognize that the problem is certainly only the outward indicator of some underlying issue. My goal is to get him into therapy to deal with all of his issues. Question is: is that wrong of me? Is an intervention out of order? Is that me trying to be a control freak?

BTW - I've seen that BBC series... very good stuff!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,478 Posts
Geez Steve! Now you're making ME miserable!

It sounds like he realizes he has a problem, might as well go ahead with an intervention. I mean either you try and help the guy or you let him be and he drives you nuts anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,527 Posts
Steve- it sounds like this guy is trying to "fix" himself with "things". He may do this due to insecurity, boredom, or a variety of reasons -it is very common in America for some people to do this. He must make the decision to help himself. You cannnot force that decision on him- and if he is hanging up and getting angry he does not sound receptive to an intervention. I know it is hard to watch him make the mistakes he makes but unless he is hitting you up for money or something like that- ultimately it is his problem. You cannot fix him. At this point, you must decide if his good traits out weigh the bad and accept him as he is or try to distance yourself from his problems(while still remaining his friend, if you can) . You cannot fix him. He is the only person who can make the decision to help himself. You don't have control over this situation, unfortunately. Just let him know how concerned you are and try not to sound too confrontatioanl or judgemental- that will only make him defensive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
836 Posts
hmm. In translated swedish,,your friend is an idiot and cant be helped. Dont let him drag you down, he will continue to go down untill he realizes he is an idiot then he migth turn around.

You did what you could:shrug:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,591 Posts
I read the first 4 sentences of your post. I have a friend in similar straits.

Do yourself a favor before you anything for your friend: Give up and shut up until the sh*t hits the fan.

There's nothing you can do. I know. My friend (and she's one of my closest) is just going to run her life into the ground. I'll be there when the flames quit burning, and before she asks for help. But I don't worry about the inevitable any more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,432 Posts
^ Exactly... If you care for him, and want to mantain your friendship, back off. He needs to hit bottom, which he apparently hasn't yet. If any of this DIRECTLY affects you, like he asks you for money or lifts your credit card, then confont him. If his issue does not directly influence you, the only way he will "get better" is when he admits his own problem, and asks for help.

Just imagine if a friend told you you had a "problem" when in your own eyes you didn't. You would probably be offended. This is his reality. No one can "make" him get help... It will only drive him away.

Just be there for him when he hopefully asks for help, in his own time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,179 Posts
I read the first 4 sentences of your post. I have a friend in similar straits.

Do yourself a favor before you anything for your friend: Give up and shut up until the sh*t hits the fan.

There's nothing you can do. I know. My friend (and she's one of my closest) is just going to run her life into the ground. I'll be there when the flames quit burning, and before she asks for help. But I don't worry about the inevitable any more.
+1

You gave your advice, tried to help and hopefully have not gotten to the point where his ears are totally closed to you. Some people just need to hit rock bottom before they open up their eyes. Your next help might be in the way of groceries if things go bad for him, that is of course after you make him sell off some of the toys first. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,366 Posts
He called me today to brag that his 401k is up to $2000.
This part didn't make any sense. Is it really $2,000? or $20,000? or $200,000?

Bragging about having $2K in your 401K doesn't seem like much of a brag, unless your 18 or something.

I've got a friend who also isn't very good with his money, and my friends and I have slowly got him to curb some of his bad spending habits. He's got even more CC debt than your friend, but we've (a bunch of friends who have known each other since the 6th grade and we are all turning 40 this year!) got him to pay off his car and keep it, buy a house instead of renting, and have got him to work on paying down the CCs. It took a LONG time for him to get to where he is now.

One thing that you mentioned that can be kind of tough is the 'rivalry' stuff. Many folks today see 'keeping up with the Jones' as something that is REQUIRED. If your friend sees you driving that great TT of yours, then he just might feel that he NEEDS to have a 'cool' car too. I might try using the rivalry stuff with him and see if you can motivate him that way. Don't say anything about his bad habits, but instead talk about your good habits and when you see him do something good with his money, praise him on it.

Maybe you could even have a contest to see who can 'live the cheapest'. See who can have the lowest electric bill, food bill, gas bill, etc. It's amazing how easy it is to save money around the house and how it can quickly add up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,527 Posts
I read the first 4 sentences of your post. I have a friend in similar straits.

Do yourself a favor before you anything for your friend: Give up and shut up until the sh*t hits the fan.

There's nothing you can do. I know. My friend (and she's one of my closest) is just going to run her life into the ground. I'll be there when the flames quit burning, and before she asks for help. But I don't worry about the inevitable any more.
Chris - I can already see a difference in the situation here. You speak of "being there for her" when the flames quit burning and before she asks for help. I can't imagine Steve saying that same thing (exactly like that) about his friend. He sounds more disgusted and fed up! Are you sure this woman is just a really good friend or are you possibly in love (or lust) with her? You need to ask youself!!! I base this on the way you worded things! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,591 Posts
Chris - I can already see a difference in the situation here. You speak of "being there for her" when the flames quit burning and before she asks for help. I can't imagine Steve saying that same thing (exactly like that) about his friend. He sounds more disgusted and fed up! Are you sure this woman is just a really good friend or are you possibly in love (or lust) with her? You need to ask youself!!! I base this on the way you worded things! :)
No, I meant what I said. Phoebe is a good friend of mine (and my wife's, no funny business).

Sometimes, she's very vocal about her financial problems. We used to talk to her about it and listen patiently. She promises to get better, but then a few months later she gets a demand letter from the city, or someone else she's borrowed money from calls her. She has almost been evicted from her business, which is also her home. This has been going for 6 years now, and I think she piles on about $20k worth of debt each year (~ $120k total).

We still listen, and if she has questions, answer them. However, my wife and I are done worrying about it. We keep these conversations as short as possible and occasionally tell her that we're tired of the complaining and inaction. I think that she likes to whine and doesn't really take her situation seriously for more than a few days after getting a scare.

When she loses her business and home, we'll help pick up the pieces. I can offer her a job. Another friend has a garage apartment she can move into.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,527 Posts
No, I meant what I said. Phoebe is a good friend of mine (and my wife's, no funny business).

Sometimes, she's very vocal about her financial problems. We used to talk to her about it and listen patiently. She promises to get better, but then a few months later she gets a demand letter from the city, or someone else she's borrowed money from calls her. She has almost been evicted from her business, which is also her home. This has been going for 6 years now, and I think she piles on about $20k worth of debt each year (~ $120k total).

We still listen, and if she has questions, answer them. However, my wife and I are done worrying about it. We keep these conversations as short as possible and occasionally tell her that we're tired of the complaining and inaction. I think that she likes to whine and doesn't really take her situation seriously for more than a few days after getting a scare.

When she loses her business and home, we'll help pick up the pieces. I can offer her a job. Another friend has a garage apartment she can move into.
You and your wife sound like good people!!! Thanks for explaining the situation-it is great that you and your wife would be so kind and helpful(when the **** hits the fan) for a person and have no real other ulterior motive except friendship and wanting to see them get their life back together!! Hope she gets it together before it gets to that point though- for her sake(though you don't make that sound very likely)!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
622 Posts
Sounds to me like the OPs buddy is in a financial tailspin and won't accept any help. Until he admits to himself that he has a problem, nobody can help him. When he does, that's when the friends pull together to drag him out of the ditch. I've dragged a couple buddies out over the years, but not until they ask for help. I made the mistake once to try to help without them asking...not a good result. Haven't seen him since. Very expensive mistake on my part.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,221 Posts
Steve, I know you care for your friend, but some people are beyond help or simply don't want it. The fact that he's declared bankruptcy once before and is heading back down that path again is proof-positive.

He obviously has some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder and (as much as I hate to admit it - no offense Trainwreck ;)) Trainwreck also has a valid point. Some people have a 'void' in themselves that they try to fill with material things. Maybe they feel better for a bit; but soon thereafter, that emptiness comes back.

Personally, based on the fact that he's declared bankruptcy once before, I'm sure his credit card finance charges are outrageous. He'd be much better off trying pay that down as fast as possible - even at the expense of his 401K, as I'm sure that his ROI there is nowhere near what he's paying on his revolving debt. But, again, a person will only hear what they want to hear.

It's hard watching someone you care about engage in self-destructive behavior. I, myself, might say something once to that person and they can take it or leave it. But, IMO, they're a big kid and can make their own decisions and live with the consequences. As long as I can say that, in good conscience, I tried to help a friend, I can sleep well at night. That's really all you can do.
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top