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Old 07-15-2010, 04:00 PM   #361
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Past Time for BIL to take legal steps to protect his own finances, and do what he can for his kids. She is circling the drain; he needs to do what he can to make sure they don't all get sucked down with her. It's bad, and it's only going to get worse.
Heck, I would say she is deep in the drain and already past the trap... he is circling and maybe able to get out... but unless he buys that ticket... I think it probably is already to late for him...
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Old 07-15-2010, 04:53 PM   #362
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Heck, I would say she is deep in the drain and already past the trap... he is circling and maybe able to get out... but unless he buys that ticket... I think it probably is already to late for him...
I imagine they are roughly at zero on a balance sheet basis. Maybe slightly positive by $10-30k or so. Only valuable assets are highly leveraged house, and two trucks/SUVs (both unencumbered IIRC). Lots of CC debt - I estimate $25000 minimum, could be more. Plus all the gambling debt and ~$15k debt to SIL's mother.

But that is before selling the house, losing 6% to a realtor, possibly losing more due to needing a quick sale, and maybe even more because they are in the middle of a major renovation/expansion on the house and as a result there are significant parts of the house that are torn up and a "work in progress".

If gambling expenses went to zero magically I think they would be cash flow neutral if they watched their expenses (which I think they have started to do for the most part).

I think the SIL's DH's plan is to file BK if it comes to that. He may leave the marriage, he may not. I have advised him at the least to keep his finances separate for now so he can run his small construction biz, buy materials and equipment, pay subs, etc. I don't want to step out there and suggest divorce or drastic actions because then I put myself in the position of ending a marriage. I trust my BIL will bail if it gets bad enough. I imagine the marital distribution would just consist of splitting up debt at this point for the most part.

Any other specific financial advice that would be helpful to BIL?
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Old 07-15-2010, 04:59 PM   #363
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I imagine they are roughly at zero on a balance sheet basis. Maybe slightly positive by $10-30k or so. Only valuable assets are highly leveraged house, and two trucks/SUVs (both unencumbered IIRC). Lots of CC debt - I estimate $25000 minimum, could be more. Plus all the gambling debt and ~$15k debt to SIL's mother.

But that is before selling the house, losing 6% to a realtor, possibly losing more due to needing a quick sale, and maybe even more because they are in the middle of a major renovation/expansion on the house and as a result there are significant parts of the house that are torn up and a "work in progress".

If gambling expenses went to zero magically I think they would be cash flow neutral if they watched their expenses (which I think they have started to do for the most part).

I think the SIL's DH's plan is to file BK if it comes to that. He may leave the marriage, he may not. I have advised him at the least to keep his finances separate for now so he can run his small construction biz, buy materials and equipment, pay subs, etc. I don't want to step out there and suggest divorce or drastic actions because then I put myself in the position of ending a marriage. I trust my BIL will bail if it gets bad enough. I imagine the marital distribution would just consist of splitting up debt at this point for the most part.

Any other specific financial advice that would be helpful to BIL?
Legal separation to allow him to draw a line in the sand with their creditors?
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Old 07-15-2010, 06:23 PM   #364
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I'd say that BIL should immediately consult with a good divorce attorney who is especially knowledgeable concerning financial aspects of a separation. He's got to get a firewall in place between his finances and hers.
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Old 07-15-2010, 07:02 PM   #365
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I am actually very very surprised that your BIL is still married to her...

I knew this woman (I think she was in her late 30's at the time) years ago - she started gambling heavily. (She is Korean. This probably doesn't have anything to do nationalities but I mention her nationality because she had a fairly big circle of gambling friends of the same nationality - maybe it's a cultural thing or what; I don't know. Personally, within my circle of friends/acquaintances, I don't know of a single person who gambles except when they go to Las Vegas.) Once her husband (who is non-Korean) realized that she had started taking money out of their daughter's college fund, he started the divorce proceedings....
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Old 07-16-2010, 01:48 PM   #366
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Gambling SIL's son just posted a facebook update that, roughly translated to non-teenager adult speak, means "I'm sitting here watching this Gambler yell a lot and be overbearing and pushy to everyone around her. I'm mad."

Poor kids indeed. Hopefully this will be a good life lesson for the son.
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Old 07-16-2010, 02:33 PM   #367
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This entire thread is a lesson in inaction and wishful thinking. Fuego, I think your idea that he should separate his finances as much as possible so he can protect his business is also wishful thinking. This is America, what's his is hers, and sometimes vice versa. At the very least he needs legal separation and likely divorce. Like AL says, he needs good divorce lawyer, and fast.

She is very unlikely to turn down whatever relationship he may want after that, but then he is safely a boyfriend rather than a husband.
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Old 07-16-2010, 02:49 PM   #368
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I'm reluctant to tell my BIL "get divorced, it is the best thing to do". I don't want to be the guy that broke up this marriage later (when hindsight is 20/20). Even if immediate dissolution and financial separation of the marriage is what is best.

I am meeting with the BIL on an unrelated legal issue in a few minutes and hopefully getting that comparatively minor issue settled. Might be time to have a little "what if" conversation with him. See how he sees this whole thing playing out.
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:16 PM   #369
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I'm reluctant to tell my BIL "get divorced, it is the best thing to do". I don't want to be the guy that broke up this marriage later (when hindsight is 20/20). Even if immediate dissolution and financial separation of the marriage is what is best.

I am meeting with the BIL on an unrelated legal issue in a few minutes and hopefully getting that comparatively minor issue settled. Might be time to have a little "what if" conversation with him. See how he sees this whole thing playing out.

Uhhhh, how would you be breaking up the marriage... SHE IS... right now he seems like a deer caught in the headlights... your suggestion might be enough to wake him up to the black hole they are entering...

Sure, he says he knows what is going on.... and might even be telling the truth.... but his stress level has got to be very high... and he probably does not know what that is doing to his health... it could kill him...
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Old 07-16-2010, 05:01 PM   #370
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Unless he already has lots of friends, he might also benefit from having a male friend in the family who knows about the problem, who is on his side in all this, and who will listen without being judgmental.

Just listening while he vents and thinks out loud would be a huge benefit for him. Well, assuming that gambling SIL would allow it.
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Old 07-16-2010, 07:31 PM   #371
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As I have seen before, the destructive behavior of some people is just totally amazing. All you can do is to stand back, keep a distance, and not let yourself become collateral damage.

I feel sorry for the SIL's husband and the kids. The sooner he divorces her, the better. I am sure he will get help from her family, meaning SIL's parents and her siblings, to raise the kids.
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Old 07-16-2010, 08:55 PM   #372
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I am actually very very surprised that your BIL is still married to her...

I knew this woman (I think she was in her late 30's at the time) years ago - she started gambling heavily. (She is Korean. This probably doesn't have anything to do nationalities but I mention her nationality because she had a fairly big circle of gambling friends of the same nationality - maybe it's a cultural thing or what; I don't know. Personally, within my circle of friends/acquaintances, I don't know of a single person who gambles except when they go to Las Vegas.) Once her husband (who is non-Korean) realized that she had started taking money out of their daughter's college fund, he started the divorce proceedings....

You, obviously, don't know any Greeks do you? They (well, the men only) even gamble for pennies and nickles after holiday dinners. I guess that's to fool their wives into believing they don't really gamble constantly with the family funds...which they do. In abundance. Trust me. My grandfather was even a professional gambler full-time and raised 5 kids on his earnings.
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:03 PM   #373
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Unless he already has lots of friends, he might also benefit from having a male friend in the family who knows about the problem, who is on his side in all this, and who will listen without being judgmental.

Just listening while he vents and thinks out loud would be a huge benefit for him. Well, assuming that gambling SIL would allow it.
He was being sued in a business related matter and we successfully settled this afternoon so I invited him back to my house for a little celebration and debriefing. The gambling wife is a much bigger issue and stressor in his life than this lawsuit though.

W2R, what you described above, the listener, is basically the role I played today back at my house. And it is what I have done multiple times in the past for him. Just listened. Let him say what's on his mind and work through his thoughts.

After listening for quite a while, I offered him help with financial issues today (from a money management standpoint and a legal standpoint). Then suggested if he is interested in a divorce attorney I could get him a name. He's not ready to do that yet. We talked about finances a little and he doesn't really know how much debt the SIL has on credit cards. She has been using BIL's credit cards some too, and the balances are higher now. I think SIL takes care of the bills in his household, so he remains relatively uninformed. He has just taken all his credit cards back from her and keeps them away from her now.

BIL has been trying to sit down with his DW and get all the debts (CC, gambling, family debt to MIL, etc) all out in the open, write it all down and figure out what they have and what they owe. SIL has refused simply stating "You know how much debt we have". BIL clearly doesn't. At least not the full picture.

I asked BIL if he thought they would have anything left if they tried to pay off all their debts and he said no, probably not. He said he's at the point where even if he got out of the marriage now, there wouldn't really be anything to leave with besides debt. I guess he figures the worst case is eventually splitting up, filing bankruptcy and starting from scratch.

We also discussed the possibility that his DW may be manic depressive (he brought this concern up, though not using the clinical term "manic depressive"). He says it is definitely possible. She gets very excited Saturday when it is time to gamble and Monday when the gambling is over, she mopes around the house in a depressed state until Saturday. She's too stubborn to seek treatment, but at least I told BIL that all it may take is taking a pill to at least partially "fix" her.

I think BIL is informed as to his alternatives. He understands that he's probably going to end up with nothing financially regardless of whether he divorces now or later. He thinks his DW may hit bottom when she realizes there is no money to pay for the house, utilities, food etc and all the credit cards are maxed, and no one in her family trusts her (this latter event has already occurred). They aren't too far away it sounds like.

BIL did say that SIL is upset by losing the status as caretaker of her parents' finances. She now sees that her gambling and horrible financial management of her own money has caused other people to not trust her. But she still hasn't accepted that she is the one responsible for this.
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:07 PM   #374
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All you can do is to stand back, keep a distance, and not let yourself become collateral damage.
I'm really focusing on this. Not interject myself into the situation any more than necessary. Listen more than talk.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:15 PM   #375
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You're doing a great job, Fuego!
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Old 07-17-2010, 08:20 PM   #376
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You're doing a great job, Fuego!
I can't tell if that is sarcasm...
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:22 PM   #377
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I can't tell if that is sarcasm...
As someone with some exerience in that area, I can tell you that it is definitely not sarcasm...
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:20 AM   #378
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Fuego, you are doing all that you can in this sad mess and have been a real help to BIL. You are doing great.
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:03 AM   #379
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Yea, I'd agree. You are handling it much better than I would. I get pi$$ed when my parasitic relatives siphon off a few measly grand.
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:42 AM   #380
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Thanks for the moral support, guys.

DW has stepped up too. Last week when things blew up again, DW told her mother outright that if mother gives away all her money to her gambler daughter, then mother will be left broke and begging. And that mother would be showing up on our doorsteps asking for money since we are the only ones in the family that have anything. DW made it clear that while, yes, her mother's money is her mother's money to do as she pleases, don't come crying to FUEGO and Mrs. FUEGO when you are broke and can't pay your bills because you keep bailing out your gambling addicted daughter.

DW told her mother that we both work hard, make sacrifices, don't get to see our kids as much as we want, and can't do the things we want because we are working to earn money. She told her mother that if she wastes all her money away on SIL's gambling addiction, then ultimately she (the mother) will become a burden on us. And that isn't fair to us. So if you are going to be fair to one of your daughters, at least be fair to the one that has tried to stay on the straight and narrow.

This also serves as laying the groundwork for future ability to say "No" when hit up for money and we are FIREd at a young age. I have told DW that her family is probably the biggest risk to our FIRE plans.
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